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New Hamster Not Drinking, Losing Appetite And Shivering

Hamsters need to adjust to a new home, but not eating or drinking could be signs of illness and require a vet visit.

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: November 12, 2015, 8:40 p.m. EST

hamster eating
Via Carolyn Coles/Flickr
Happy, healthy hamsters have no problem with eating, especially a favorite veggie treat.

Q: I got a hamster on Tuesday for my birthday. He has not been drinking any water and he is losing his appetite for his food. Today is Friday. I think his ill. He is always shivering and my house is not too warm or cold. I'm extremely worried about him. 

A: I agree that you have good reason to be concerned. Hamsters, like many of our small mammal pets, have a very high metabolism. They cannot go more than a day or so without eating or drinking before becoming very sick. 

Hamsters are known to become stressed by changes. Entering into a new home is a big change. If hamsters become so stressed from change that they do not eat or drink, they will make themselves even sicker. Shivering is usually a sign of illness in a hamster and this goes along with not drinking or eating. 

See more hamster health questions and answers 

You can attempt to offer the most appetizing food to your hamster, possibly treats that you can find at the pet store, but what you describe sounds more serious than something that will get better with some offerings of treats.

My best suggestion is for you to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible with your new hamster. It may be that all your new hamster needs is some supportive care from your veterinarian. This might include subcutaneous fluids and assist feedings with a high-calorie supplement.

Posted: November 12, 2015, 8:40 p.m. EST

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