You cannot use Polysporin on hamsters because it can cause glaucoma, primarily when used in the eye. It also contains sulfa drugs that harm their metabolism and may cause nausea. Polysporin is an ointment used to treat skin infections and wounds; however, Polysporin should not be a choice when killing infections in hamsters.
If your hamster is now showing symptoms of an infection after exposure to polysporin, then this article will help explain how it happens and what steps you can take to fix the problem.
What Can You Put on A Hamster Wound?
Clean cotton cloths
They absorb excess fluid or blood from wounds or cover injuries and keep them clean.
Sterile dressings or bandages
There are two types of hamster wound bandages that you can buy: surgical and non-surgical. You can purchase both products from your local pet store or veterinary hospital.
To buy surgical hamster wound bandages, follow the steps below:
- Take your hamsters to a technician and ask for surgical hamster wound dressings.
- Gently clean the damage until it is dry.
- Apply a small amount of ointment to the injury and wrap it with an adhesive tape dressing.
- Wipe away any excess on a clean cloth.
- Do this twice or thrice daily until your hamster can heal itself naturally.
- Do this every day until the hamster fully recovers.
Before using non-surgical hamster wound bandages, ensure that your hamster has completely healed from the surgical dressings.
I also recommend putting Neosporin or any other antibiotic ointment that is safe for children. You can also put something like a band-aid over it to prevent getting dirty and ensure it doesn’t get infected.
Ensure to wash your hands after you wipe the wound clean and keep it clean. Do not use any lotion or cream for humans on hamsters.
You can put some baby powder or corn starch over the injury as a band-aid.
The only thing that I would not recommend putting on a wound is petroleum-based products like petroleum jelly (like Elmer’s glue).
What Antibiotics Can You Use on Your Hamster?
You can prescribe the following ten groups of antibiotics for hamsters: penicillins, cephalosporins, quinolones and fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, and other bacteriostatic compounds (e.g., erythromycin), macrolides, lincosamides, clindamycin, streptogramins, and polypeptides.
Most veterinarians do not prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics for hamster treatments favoring “hamster-specific” drugs. In other words, vets prefer using antibiotics that affect hamsters’ bodies in specific ways.
Thus, cephalosporin and penicillin are considered the most popular options for treating bacterial infections in pet hamsters.
One of the most common treatments for hamsters is amoxicillin. This drug appears as a white oval pill with a score on one side. It’s intended for oral administration, but you can also administer it subcutaneously or intramuscularly.
Amoxicillin treats bacterial infections caused by E. coli, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Enterococci, and Mycoplasma.
Cefa-drops are also very popular among hamster owners, this is the pill form of amoxicillin, but it comes in a gel formulated for use in the ear canal. This drug intends to treat ear infections caused by bacteria, but it can also reduce inflammation and control an ear mite infestation.
Pentamidine is a potent antibiotic belonging to the triazine family. It treats against infections caused by susceptible bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus (one of which carries MRSA).
The Active Ingredients In Polysporin That Are Harmful To Hamsters
May include ethanol, chlorhexidine, povidone-iodine, parabens, and aloe vera. All are found in many products and can kill hamsters if given enough exposure.
These ingredients are individual to each product.
Many medications contain alcohol which is toxic to hamsters. Alcohol may be found in small amounts in many medicines and can cause the same effects as a poison.
Alcohol is hazardous when large amounts of it are consumed, combined with other agents, or if the pet has a pre-existing condition (such as diabetes) that the use of alcohol has worsened. Alcohol poisoning can cause coma, seizures, and death.
Symptoms begin about 12 hours after taking and include vomiting and diarrhea.
Antibiotics are in many common over-the-counter and prescription medications and several pet foods. Their use has allowed many animals to live longer and healthier lives, but they can also cause poisoning when they are misused.
Because hamsters are immune suppressed, the side effects of antibiotics may be more prevalent. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, and diarrhea, which could lead to dehydration.
Hamster Healing FAQs
Can I help my hamster heal?
You can help a hamster heal by:
Designing a recovery plan
A recovery plan is a series of actions to make your hamster feel better and help him heal. A proper recovery plan involves four essential components: personal protection measures, wound care, medication support, environment modification, healing activities, breathing exercises, and visualization of a happy place.
Giving the hamster appropriate nutrition
Appropriate nutrition heals hamsters by regulating their blood sugar levels. The first step in healing a hamster is to make sure the hamster is eating enough proper food.
Hamsters are omnivores; a good ratio for a hamster’s diet is 50% plant products, 25% animal products, and 25% fruit or vegetables. Mixing foods ensures that a hamster gets all the necessary nutrients, helping heal.
Creating an environment that promotes healing and safety for the hamster.
The environment plays a significant role in how fast a hamster heals. As we know, hamsters are very territorial.
When one hamster is injured, the other will stay nearby to ensure the other is safe. The environment and social factors are essential in how quickly they recover from their injuries and return to normal behavior.
Being around their kind makes them more comfortable and relaxed, promoting better healing; they live in large family groups in the wild, consisting of several generations of hamsters. The hamster’s natural habitat likely impacts the animal’s ability to recover from injuries or disease.
How to treat a hamster’s skin infection?
You can treat hamsters’ skin infections by following the steps below:
- Clean the affected area with a damp cloth.
- Apply an acid-based product like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to the affected area.
- You can also dab a tablespoon of baking soda onto the skin and let it sit for 15 minutes before washing off.
- If you are treating an infection, use antibacterial cleansers to prevent further disease.
- If the condition is severe and the hamster is sick, take your hamster to a vet.
Polysporin is not safe for hamsters, there are over a thousand different species of hamsters, but most of them will die from ingestion of polysporin. I recommend that hamsters not contact any of the products mentioned above.
If your hamster does reach them, it should be washed and allowed to air dry outside of their cage, keeping them from ingesting it and getting sick. It is unclear which hamster species can encounter this substance besides causing illness in just one.
I also recommend hamster owners wash the product off their hands and paws before handling any medicines.
You can also use something like a little bit of vitamin E, which is better for their skin. Hopefully, this article has helped you. Consider the tips given above to promote better healing in hamsters.