Hamsters can suffer from strokes and these most often occur overnight when the hamster is active. The hamster may appear uncoordinated with semi-paralysis on one side of the body resulting in a head tilt and inability to walk straight. The hamster may also fall over repeatedly or be unable to sit up.

Many hamsters do recover well from strokes but it is essential in the early days following a stroke that the hamster continues to eat and drink and depending on the severity of the stroke it may be necessary to hand feed the hamster and take it to the water bottle to enable it to drink, or place the hamster in the nest with some food and move the water bottle close to the nest.

Hamsters that have suffered strokes usually show some improvement within a couple of days and will continue to improve over the next few weeks, regaining their mobility and co-ordination. However, some head tilt may remain.

Another cause of head tilt and loss of balance may be an ear infection and therefore if the hamster shows no improvement within a day or two veterinary advice should be sought as it may be a curable ear infection.