|Heart Worm in Hamsters|
This is a common disease in hamsters and even though not contagious among humans, it resembles the heart parasites found among mankind. The disease does not necessarily manifest itself even when a hamster has been proven zero positive for the parasite. As in humans they can go their entire lives without ever becoming ill even though this is rather seldom.
Treatment with new medications seems to keep the symptoms of a sick animal at bay, an even if and when symptoms of illness show, the hamster can remain health with very few discomforts.
There is no vaccination known today, but it seems like sterilized hamsters have a lower chance of contracting the disease since they might be roaming less around at night.
Initial symptoms of contraction of the parasite are that the mouth of the hamster as well as the larynx swell up as it becomes sore and red.
Infected hamsters should be treated at once to avoid cross contamination with other individuals as male hamsters fight and pass on the disease in such a manner.
If you suspect your hamster to have the parasite a simple blood test will show if it has it or not.
There are some links and resources:
PET on the NET - Hamster page
Hamster Books (Page 1)