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Salmonellosis in the hamster.

Salmonellosis is not common in the hamster but should be considered as a differential diagnosis in cases of diarrhoea.

Cases of salmonellosis in the hamster seem to be rare. Associated with S. interitidus, this disease spreads rapidly among groups of animals and has a high mortality rate. It is zoonotic (it can affect humans) so great care with hygiene must be taken if you suspect your hamster may be affected. Diarrhoea is not always seen in cases of salmonellosis; it may just cause sudden death in animals with no preceding illness noticed by owners.

If salmonellosis is confirmed by your vet then try to identify the source of the infection which will often come from the food or the bedding. Always consult your veterinary surgeon if you suspect this disease may be affecting your hamsters, ensure that all people who handle the affected animals or their food and bedding etc always wash their hands afterwards. Prevent children from handling the animals at all.

Due to the zoonotic potential of this disease and the high mortality rate of infected hamsters your vet may suggest euthanasia as an option in these cases. Although this is always upsetting I would consider it, especially where children may come into contact with the affected pets.

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