Runny nose and sneezing in a hamster may be caused by a cold. Just like humans, hamsters can catch colds. Common symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and wheezing; watery sticky eyes, respiratory clicking noises and loss of appetite. It can sometimes be accompanied by 'pink eye'. Affected hamster will probably be curled up in a corner, and feel cool when touched. Due to the many different types of viruses it is not possible to gain a complete immunity to the common cold. The virus is air borne and generated by humans coughing and sneezing, and sometimes by hand. The primary method to prevent infection is to wash your hand prior to any physical interaction to minimize people to animal transmission of the virus. Keep the handling and contact between you and your hamsters to a minimum until your condition improved.
Similarly to humans there is no treatment available for colds in hamsters. Provide it with some warm milk adding in little honey, keeping it in a warm room preferably near a radiator. Visit your veterinarian if there is no improvement in your hamster's health after a day or two.
Hamsters suffering a cold can quickly develop pneumonia. It is a lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses and fungus. Poor ventilation and high humidity increases the risks of Pneumonia.
The saying that vitamin C supplements can help ward off colds is a myth. The usage of it is thought to have no effect on the common cold. However, the immune system relies on a wide variety of mechanisms to help protect the body from infection, and vitamin C is especially vital in the function of these immune components. It also supports a variety of the body's structures. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and is an essential vitamin found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Large amount of it may result in diarrhoea. All fruit and vegetables contain a certain amount of vitamin C and a good source of it can be found in vegetables, preferably raw ones such as cauliflower, broccoli; fruits like strawberries and food such as eggs.
A runny nose, sneezing and sticky eyes could also be an indication of an allergy. Some hamsters may be irritated by the dust found it the wood shavings.
Original article from http://www.hammysworld.com/index.php?p=cold
[Image taken from http://curiousanimals.net]