Hamsters and gerbils are common pets in the UK. These small rodents have continuously growing teeth and an average lifespan of 2 and 4 years respectively, although this varies between individual species and breeds, and many individuals have outlived this. Their inquisitive characterful nature makes them a popular choice of pet for many people. When it comes to healthcare for these small rodent species, many owners are surprised to find out there are a number of options available to them, and many conditions these animals can suffer with are in fact treatable. 

Are there vets that specifically treat hamsters and gerbils? 

Yes! Many vets specialise in treating exotic pets including hamsters and gerbils. In addition, some further specialise in treating small pet mammals and become specialists in this field. As the veterinary profession has advanced over the years there are now more treatment options than ever making veterinary care for these pets much more accessible. It is important to note that not all veterinary surgeons will be comfortable treating these pets as they do have specific needs. But you can search for a local vet practice with an interest in these species. You can also use the RCVS find a vet website to find a local vet in your area with additional qualifications in these animals and other exotic pets. 

Many conditions in hamsters and gerbils are treatable 

As mentioned above, many conditions in these pets are in fact treatable. Some conditions are also preventable, which is much better than treatable! It is important to discuss with your veterinarian your specific pets needs, any conditions they may be at risk of and any preventative measures that can be taken to minimise the risk of them developing. Factors such as feeding a nutritionally balanced species specific diet, providing the appropriate environment and cleaning regimes are all really important for this. 

Can you get pet insurance for hamsters and gerbils? 

The short answer is yes you can. You can get your pet hamster or gerbil insured; just as you can a guinea pig, rabbit, cat or dog and many other species. A quick google search will reveal a number of options for insuring these pets. However, it is very important to make sure you do your due diligence and research before signing up to any policy. Ensure that you understand what your pet is and isn’t covered for; including the total costs that will and won’t be covered.

If you have any doubts you can discuss this with your veterinary surgeon before taking out the policy. Though they won’t be able to give you any specific advice on which insurers to use, they will be able to give you an indication on the costs of treatment for some more common conditions. This may help guide you when picking an appropriate policy. 

No pet is disposable 

It is a horrible thing to write, but sadly, due to the low cost of these pets, some people do not see the value in getting their pet treated when they can purchase another animal for a lower cost than the vet fees. Much like if you were to rescue an animal for a nominal fee, the purchase cost of the pet is irrelevant. When taking on a pet you are responsible for their health and welfare; which includes providing them with veterinary care when they are sick. All of these costs need to be factored in before deciding to purchase an animal. If you have any questions over the potential cost of veterinary care for your pet, speak to your local veterinary surgeon who can discuss this in more detail with you. 

Summary:

  • pet insurance is available for hamsters and gerbils 
  • there are vets in the UK who specialise in treating exotic pets and small mammals such as hamsters and gerbils 
  • many conditions are treatable in these species and all sick pets should receive veterinary attention 
  • no animal is disposable, all pets should receive veterinary care and appropriate treatment 

Further reading: