Mucus in hamsters stools
Occasionally a hamster may produce what looks like abnormal stools covered in a mucus membrane. Stools normally contain a small amount of mucus but passing stools with visible amounts of mucus can be from a variety of causes. However, not all mucus is bad, as healthy mucus is a clear / white or yellow substance with a consistency of jelly, and is produced by the mucous membrane in the large intestine. It is a slippery lubricating secretion used to protect the mucus membranes in many parts of body; this includes the digestive system, respiratory, urinary and reproductive tracts. In the intestines, mucus protects the inner lining and helps to ease the passage of stools. An excess of mucus may be secreted to stop irritants and pollutants that are created by any putrefying and undigested food residues. Sometimes this undigested food residue contains significant quantities of vitamins and protein that have not been fully digested as a result of passing through the system to quickly. Hamsters' and other rodents produce stools that may be covered in a mucus membrane, these are normally re-ingested by the animal to recover the nutrients. See coprophagy.
The most common reasons behind the presence of mucus in the stools / feces may be food allergies, or food sensitivities and bacterial overgrowth. If the problem is associated with bacterial overgrowth the situation may become worse with the intake of sugar or substances containing lactos such as milk, pasta, yeast in bread and other yeast products, also dairy products such yogurt etc. Other causes can include stress and certain medications such as the use of antibiotics.
What Causes Bacterial Overgrowth?
Decreased motility in the small intestine can be caused by excess dietary sugar, stress, and health related conditions such as diabetes, or structural abnormalities in the small intestine. The small intestine contains relatively small numbers of bacteria, however, certain factors can cause the growth of excess bacteria; the unwanted bacteria then may cause fat Malabsorption. It also blocks carbohydrates from being absorbed and instead they're left to ferment in the intestines this can result in bloating, pain, mucus in stools and loose stools or diarrhea. Sweet and starchy foods cause the worst symptoms. Certain foods such as milk and bread can cause an increase of mucus secretions as these foods have large protein molecules (casein and gluten) which become difficult to digest and therefore are more prone to putrefaction. No specific treatment is required for this condition other than decreasing or removing the offending food, the situation should resolve on its own accord, and should be monitored closely. If the situation doesn't improve then it may be a bacterial infection and may need treatment with the help of antibiotics.
Certain amounts of natural bacteria and yeasts are present in the intestine as this helps to facilitate the digestion process. But introduction of foreign bodies may cause an imbalance, bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, are the main culprits of a bacterial infection. The hamster may show signs of distress and pain if this condition should arise. This pathological condition may also cause, diarrhea wet tail with abdominal cramps and with increased mucus in the stools.
Bowel obstruction is another cause of the commonly found reasons behind the presence of mucus in stools. It is associated with abdominal cramps and abdominal distension. Signs of pain, and or discomfort in a hamster may be seen by the animal adopting the hunched position with reluctance to move.
Constipation can be the result of various other reasons such as a low water intake.