How to Treat Skin Disease in Hamsters

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Take your hamster to your vet.,
Isolate your hamster.,
Treat your hamster as prescribed.,
Repeat treatment, if necessary.,
Clean your hamster’s cage.

Mites are one of the most common skin diseases in hamsters. Your vet will diagnose mites by taking a skin scrape (thin scrape of skin using a scalpel blade) and analyzing it with a microscope.Your vet may also brush your hamster while holding a white piece of paper to catch the mites. Your vet would then look at the mites with a magnifying glass.Two species of mites can affect hamsters. One of the species, Demodex criceti, is fairly easy to see and will look short and squat when viewed with a microscope.;
, If you have multiple hamsters, isolate the one with mites until after treatment is complete.Mites are contagious, so you would not want your healthy hamsters developing a mite problem. If multiple hamsters are affected, treat them all at the same time.

, Several treatments are available for treating mites. One treatment is medicated shampoo. However, hamsters don’t like baths very much, so your hamster may resist getting bathed with the medicated shampoo.Another treatment is a medicated ointment that you would apply to the affected skin areas.Oral ivermectin, which kills parasites, is a treatment option.You would place the prescribed number of ivermectin drops into your hamster’s mouth.
Anti-mite sprays are available as an over-the-counter treatment.Talk with your vet before using an over-the-counter medication on your hamster.
A whole body dip is recommended for severe mite infestations. This dip would be with a medicated bath product containing ivermectin.Your vet would explain how to perform this dip at home.

, Old hamsters and those with a weak immune system may need to be treated for mites more than once.Talk with your vet before repeating treatment.

, Hamsters can get mites from their cage bedding. Therefore, cleaning and disinfecting your hamster’s cage is essential to treating mites. First, remove everything from the cage and throw away all of the bedding. Wash the entire inside of the cage with hot, soapy water and a sponge or scrub brush.

Wash all of cage accessories (food bowl, water bottle, plastic toys) with hot, soapy water as well.Use a hamster-safe cage disinfectant, which is available at your local pet store. Disinfect the cage and the cage accessories according to product label instructions.
Allow everything to dry before placing the items back in the cage. Use clean, fresh bedding.

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