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Can My Hamster Catch COVID?

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Should You Be Concerned about COVID And Your Pet Hamster

can hamsters catch covid

Covid-19, a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease caused by a novel coronavirus, has affected human populations worldwide since late 2019. While primarily impacting humans, the virus can infect certain animals, including hamsters. This article addresses whether hamsters can contract and die from Covid-19, examining the risks associated with transmission to humans and other animals.

Can Hamsters Catch Covid-19?

Hamsters are indeed susceptible to Covid-19. They belong to the subfamily Cricetinae, which encompasses about 19 hamster species. These small rodents are widely kept as pets and used in laboratory research. Hamsters can contract Covid-19 because they possess ACE2 receptors on their cells, which the virus uses to enter and infect host cells. These receptors are similar to the human ACE2 receptors, which serve as the primary entry point for the coronavirus in humans.

Hamsters can catch Covid-19 from infected humans or other hamsters. The virus can spread through respiratory droplets, aerosols, or contact with contaminated surfaces and objects. Additionally, hamsters can contract Covid-19 from other animals that carry the virus, such as minks or bats.

Can Hamsters Die from Covid-19?

Please be aware that the following case is extremely rare. Majoirty of these cases are compared to hamster contract common illnesses and such. Hamsters can also catch a cold from their owners.

Yes, hamsters can die from Covid-19, though the outcome may vary depending on factors like species, genetics, immune response, and overall health. A 2020 study published in Nature Communications found that Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) and Roborovski dwarf hamsters (Phodopus roborovskii) can both contract Covid-19. Symptoms may include weight loss, sneezing, nasal discharge, and lung damage. However, Syrian hamsters generally recover within two weeks, while Roborovski dwarf hamsters can die within four days of infection.

The reason behind these different outcomes between hamster species is not fully understood. It could be related to genetic diversity, immune responses, or viral load. More research is needed to comprehend how Covid-19 affects various hamster species and other animals.

Can Hamsters Transmit Covid-19 to Humans or Other Animals?

Yes, hamsters can transmit Covid-19 to humans or other animals. However, the risk of transmission is generally low and depends on factors like the type and duration of contact and preventive measures taken.

Instances of hamsters transmitting Covid-19 to humans or other animals have been reported globally. For example:

  • In Hong Kong, a pet shop worker and a customer were infected with Covid-19 after coming into contact with Syrian hamsters imported from the Netherlands. These hamsters tested positive for the virus, leading to the culling of over 2,200 hamsters.
  • In Canada, a veterinary student contracted Covid-19 after handling a Syrian hamster brought to a veterinary clinic with respiratory symptoms.
  • In Germany, a zookeeper was infected with Covid-19 after contact with golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) kept in a zoo.

While these cases are rare, they do not indicate that hamsters are a significant source of transmission or reservoirs for Covid-19. Most human Covid-19 cases result from human-to-human transmission through respiratory droplets or aerosols. Reducing the risk of transmission from hamsters to humans or other animals involves proper hygiene practices such as wearing masks, washing hands, wearing gloves, disinfecting surfaces, and isolating sick animals.

How to Protect Your Hamster from Covid-19?

To safeguard your hamster from Covid-19 exposure and infection, follow these tips:

  • Avoid contact between your hamster and individuals or animals displaying Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Keep your hamster’s cage clean, well-ventilated, and not overcrowded. Maintain fresh water and food, and ensure you remove leftovers or spoiled food.
  • Provide a balanced and nutritious diet to support your hamster’s immune system.
  • Monitor your hamster’s health daily and look for signs of illness or distress.
Can My Hamster Catch COVID

Conclusion

While hamsters can contract and potentially die from Covid-19, there is a low risk of transmission from hamsters to humans or other animals. Proper hygiene practices and diligence in monitoring your hamster’s health can help protect them from Covid-19 exposure and infection. If you suspect your hamster has contracted the virus or is showing signs of illness, seek immediate veterinary care.

Notice:

Here at Can My Hamster we help people learn all about their fury little friends. What foods they can eat, what things they can do and how to look after them. Please note though, we are not trained Vets we have just looked after Hamsters for many years. So if your hamster is showing any health concerns ensure you get them to a vet as soon as you can.

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