Eye infections are quite common with hamsters. The signs include cloudy, sticky or runny eyes. The causes for these conditions can range from a piece of dust in the eye to old age. There are a few simple remedies to try before whisking your furry friend off to the vet for an expensive office visit. Human eye lubricant or a solution of boric powder and water could do the trick. However, if the ailment does not improve within a few days, it is time to get your hamster professional care.
Boil water to distil it. Mix half a teaspoon of boric acid powder into half a cup of the sterile water. Be sure the water has cooled to room temperature before using it on your hamster.
Fill an eyedropper with the solution. Wet a lukewarm, clean towel and place it on the infected eye. Hold it there for a few moments to soften up any sticky residue.
Gently open your hamster's eye, using your forefinger and thumb. If the eye still will not stay open, dampen the towel and hold it over the eye again. Apply the eye drops. Three or four will suffice for now. Press the warm towel to his eye to help the drops seep into the eye and surrounding fur. Repeat these steps if necessary.
Bathe the eye two or three time a day using the dropper. Watch for any changes in his behaviour. If your hamster is not eating or drinking it may be an indication of a more serious condition and time to get him to the vet.
Hamsters can develop cataracts. The symptoms are cloudy eyes. The cataract is not treatable but it mimics the symptoms for other eye infections that could be treatable. A hamsters' eyesight is notoriously bad and losing an eye does not have the same devastating effect that it has on a human. He will adapt to the vision loss. Check to see if your hamster's cage is in a draft. This can also contribute to eye infection. Cigarette smoke, perfumes and furniture polish have been known to bring on eye infections in hamsters. They can also become allergic to their bedding, particularly cedar shavings. Separate the hamster with the eye infection from any other hamsters you have in the cage. They have been known to treat injured hamsters differently.
Boric acid is toxic if taken internally or absorbed into the body. It is very important to use in a very weak dilute form on the eye. Under no circumstances should you allow your hamster to ingest this product. Consult with your vet before using boric acid.