Choosing a veterinarian for your hamster should ideally be done even before you bring your new pet home. However, that is not always an option. You should at least choose a vet for your new hamster before it gets sick.
A Regular Veterinarian Will Not Do
Hamsters do not require vaccinations and annual checkups like dogs, cats, and some other pets do. That is one benefit of owning a hamster. Unfortunately, hamsters can die very quickly from an illness. That is why it is so important that you know which vet you will take your hamster to before it gets ill. If you wait until the hamster is ill, you will be wasting precious time trying to find a vet.
If you already have a veterinarian for your dog or your cat you will still to need to make sure that they can treat your hamster. Not all vets are qualified to treat small mammals, and some will actually refuse to take care of your hamster. Just ask you current vet to make sure they can care for your hamster.
To you, your hamster may not seem like and “exotic pet”, but you will need to find a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals. Most vets consider anything other than a dog or cat, to be an exotic pet. Small mammals, such as a hamster, require specialized training and equipment. So it may not be wise for your regular dog or cat veterinarian to treat you hamster anyway.
Finding a Veterinarian For Your Hamster
You can find a veterinarian for your hamster in several ways.
- the local phone book
- the Internet
- word of mouth
One way is to look in your local phone book for vets who specialize in exotic animals. Call a couple of them and see if you like what they tell you. If they are not too far away you may want to stop in and check out the vet’s office.
Another option is to do a search on the Internet. Again, call a couple and ask them questions, or just stop by and see for yourself.
Probably the best option is word of mouth. Ask people you know, ask at the local pet shop, find out from breeders or local hamster clubs, and see who they take their hamsters to. If a particular vet is recommended by more than one source then that is a good sign.
Question to Ask the Vet
Once you have decided on a few veterinarians you may want to ask them a couple question before you make a final decision. Here a just a couple of questions you may want to ask…
- How long have they been treating hamsters?
- Do they recommend annual checkups for small animals?
- How much do they charge?
- How do they handle emergency situations?
A couple other things you may want to find out…
- office hours
- on call procedures
- how payment is handled for emergencies
- how payment is handled for non emergencies
- how many vets do they have on staff
If you have to choose between a vet’s office with one vet versus one with several, choose the one with several vets on staff. If there is only one vet you may not be able to see him or her in an emergency. After all, no one can work 24/7.
If you are going to make a visit to the vets office to help in your decision, look for veterinarian with clean facilities and a warm, friendly staff.