Can Hamsters Have Down Syndrome?

You see, your hamster has symptoms similar to Down syndrome, including facial bones and dental abnormalities. But does that mean you should start counting your hamster's days with you? No, because before you assume these symptoms as Down syndrome, you need to know in detail about hamsters' Down syndrome. Here you'll find everything on this topic.
Can Hamsters Have Down Syndrome

Can hamsters have Down syndrome – Luckily, no, hamsters can’t have Down syndrome like humans. If your hamster has a different facial shape, it’s due to a Craniofacial abnormality, a common condition in hamsters. The symptoms of this condition are similar to that of Down syndrome, which can confuse many pet parents.

If you find your hamster has these symptoms, you can’t ignore them. Before starting any medical treatment, read this post until the end to get more information about this Down syndrome-like condition in hamsters.

A Brief Overview of Down Syndrome in Pet Animals

Down syndrome in pet animals can serve as a good example that you shouldn’t believe everything you find online. Just because Google says so doesn’t mean it’s true. If you see that your hamster or any other pet has abnormal facial features, then those can’t be due to Down syndrome only.

The truth is pet animals can’t have Down syndrome. The misconception of pets having Down syndrome occurred due to similar symptoms that humans suffer from during this disease. Also, Down syndrome patients don’t have a long lifespan. So, pets with abnormal facial features and a shorter lifespan are often considered the victims of Down syndrome.

For example, Otto, the kitten, was thought to have Down syndrome because it lived for a short time. Another example is Kenny, the tiger who was believed to have Down syndrome due to facial abnormalities.

These cases and all other cases of pet growth and facial abnormalities have nothing to do with Down syndrome. The reason for these abnormalities is poor breeding by unprofessional breeders.

Like cats, dogs, tigers, and other animals, hamsters can’t have Down syndrome. Poor breeding can trigger these symptoms in your hamster too.

If Not Down Syndrome, Then What Does Hamster’s Facial Deformities Mean?

Craniofacial abnormality is the reason for your hamster’s facial deformities. Unlike Down syndrome, this condition is not present at birth. Craniofacial abnormality is characterized by the absence of teeth in the hamster’s mouth.

It’s a serious condition because a hamster’s teeth have a critical role in a hamster’s life.

If you see your hamster have abnormal facial features, you need to start the treatment for your hamster as soon as possible. Typically, in this condition, hamsters don’t have much survival time if they don’t get proper care and treatment on time.

How Are Human’s Down Syndrome and Hamster’s Craniofacial Abnormality Different?

Although stunned growth, facial and dental abnormalities in Down syndrome, and Craniofacial abnormality make them look similar, they are different. Hence, if you’re a good observer, you can differentiate between down syndrome and craniofacial abnormality by looking at the following differences:

  • Down syndrome is present at birth, while Craniofacial abnormality can develop anytime.
  • The primary reason for Down syndrome development is a mutation in the normal number of chromosomes. In contrast, Craniofacial abnormality occurs due to the virus and poor breeding.

So, look at these factors before making your hamster a patient with Down syndrome.

How To Treat Craniofacial Abnormality in Hamsters?

You know that Down syndrome doesn’t affect hamsters, but you have to be careful regarding your hamster’s facial and other deformities. As most of these are due to Craniofacial abnormality, treating this condition on time is crucial.

Without the right on-time treatment, craniofacial abnormalities can become a reason for your hamster’s death.

You can treat this condition in two ways:

Protect Your Hamster From Viral Infection

Studies show that a virus-induced disease can lead to Down syndrome-like symptoms in hamsters. So, you have to ensure that your hamster is safe from any kind of viral infection.

To do this, keep your hamster’s cage as clean as possible. If you have more than one hamster, and anyone one of these has a viral infection, make sure to keep it away from others.

Viral infections can quickly spread, and similar symptoms will appear in your other hamsters’ too.

Feed Your Hamster An Appropriate Diet

During Craniofacial abnormality, your hamster suffers tooth loss. He can’t chew anything hard, so you can’t give him the food that hamsters normally eat. Instead, feed your hamster soft and mushy food that is easy to chew. It will not hurt them and provide them with the required energy.

Your hamster is solely dependent on you for care and treatment if he has craniofacial abnormalities. So, you have to make sure that you left no stone unturned in pampering your hamster to help him get rid of this condition soon.


Following FAQs and their answers will help you take care of a hamster with craniofacial abnormalities in a better way:

How Long Can a Hamster Live With a Down Syndrome Like Condition?

The lifespan of a hamster suffering from Craniofacial abnormality is directly associated with the severity of the condition. There is no specified period that how long your hamster can survive with this condition. If the treatment starts late or isn’t done, it can also considerably reduce your hamster’s lifespan. Feeding a good diet and caring for your hamster can make your hamster live longer.

What Are the Causes of Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality in which the number of chromosomes is not normal. It occurs due to a genetic mutation when the cells are dividing. Humans normally have 23 chromosomes, but in this condition, the number is reduced to 21.

Which Hamster Breeds Have a High Risk of Craniofacial Abnormality?

Although any breed can have this condition, Syrian hamsters are often the most affected. As a result of Craniofacial abnormality, the height of the Syrian hamsters isn’t normal. The stunned growth of Syrian hamsters can affect all the normal body functions and make you believe it’s Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome In Hamsters Unpacked

Now, as you understand, your hamster can’t have Down syndrome, but it can suffer Craniofacial abnormality. So, as soon as you see the symptoms of this condition, talk to a vet to discuss a good diet and the right treatment for your little hamster. Proper treatment and time can prolong or even save your hamster’s life!

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a little about me
Hi, im Sofia
Hi, im Sofia

I'm a mother of 2, hamster enthusiast, animal lover, and blogger. I have had five hamsters in my life, each with their own personality!

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