Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscles weaken and cannot pump blood efficiently throughout the body. This causes blood to collect in the veins and subsequent edema.
Congestive heart failure is found to occur more frequently in older female hamsters and is often connected with amyloidosis. And though there is no effective treatment for congestive heart failure, your veterinarian might suggest some ways of managing the heart condition, even if it is temporary. But be prepared, the general outcome for hamsters with congestive failure is poor.
In the early stages of congestive heart failure the hamsters have respiratory distress and move about erratically. The heart rate and pulse rate escalate to dangerous levels. Eventually, the skin may begin to take on a blue tint, a sign of cyanosis. Edema and accumulation of fluid in the abdomen may also be evident in some hamsters with congestive heart failure.
Congestive heart failure in hamsters can occur due to various reasons, but the most common among them is diseases of the heart muscles, which prevent the heart from pumping blood normally. Amyloidosis -- in which a waxy translucent substance deposits in a hamster's organs and tissues -- is another cause for congestive heart failure.
Your veterinarian may suspect congestive heart failure by observing the clinical signs exhibited by the hamster. Then, depending on your decision, he or she may conduct various tests to confirm the diagnosis.