Hamsters are important in many research areas, including cancer, reproduction, virology, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Hamsters and humans metabolize fats and sugars in similar ways, leading to susceptibility to atherosclerosis and diabetes. When fed high fat diets, hamsters’ LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) will elevate, as in humans, and lead to atherogenesis, a type of hardening of the arteries which can cause coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysms. The physiological similarities of hamsters and humans in both the cardiovascular disease and response to therapies make hamsters a valuable model in these types of studies.

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Handling Hamsters

Hamsters involved in research are gently handled by animal caretakers on a regular basis so they can grow accustomed to human interaction. This reduces stress for the animals. In addition, the hamsters are provided with enrichment items to ensure that they can carry out their normal behaviors. These items include…

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Golden syrian hamster in a tube

Golden Syrian hamsters are susceptible to a virus called SV40 which is related to human-associated viruses in a family called polyomaviruses.  SV40 is a virus that causes cancer in hamsters making them a valuable model for studying how these types of viruses may cause cancer in humans in hopes to…

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