vets information from Samantha Coe
vets and pets info from vets-info-vetbase
pets small animal vets info vetbase
vets and pets healthcare informationHome | About | Privacy and Terms | Email

Skin Diseases in Hamsters

There are many skin diseases seen in hamsters. The most commonly seen problems in practice are caused by parasites.

Probably the most common cause of skin disease seen in the hamster is caused by the Demodex mite. The two species of mite implicated in this disease are D. aurati and D. criceti. Both of these mites may be found on healthy hamsters but they cause a problem if the hamster's immune system is compromised in some way. This is often due to stress, perhaps due to problems with the housing or diet of the hamster or associated with some other problem. Signs of this disease are loss of hair usually on the back and the flanks, with mild scaling of the skin. The hamster is not usually itchy or uncomfortable.
Diagnosis is made by visualizing the mites or their eggs under the microscope after taking a skin scrape from the affected area. Treatment with a mange wash e.g. Derasect is usually effective and fairly safe. This should be done weekly until no further live mites or eggs can be found on the skin scrapes.

A much more serious disease called mycosis fungoides looks like infestation with demodex so if no mites can be found on the skin scrapes it may be necessary to take a skin biopsy. If mycosis fungoides is confirmed the prognosis is unfortunately very poor.

Sarcoptic mange may rarely be seen in hamsters it is usually a result of poor hygiene. Hamsters with this condition are severely itchy and may cause themselves considerable injury through excessive itching. If severely affected it may be kindest to consider euthanasia, however this disease can often be treated with an appropriate wash.

Ringworm can affect hamsters. It is actually a fungal disease not a worm! This tends to be contracted from contaminated bedding, other pets or even humans! Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum spp are the causes of ringworm. Signs of ringworm are bald patches with some brittle hair, dry skin with some scaling especially around the ears. Isolate infected animals and thoroughly clean the cage, change the bedding and take care to always wash your hands following handling these pets since you can catch ringworm too! Treatment with griseofulvin is often recommended sometimes together with a wash called malaseb. If possible it may be a good idea to shave affected areas but this should be done by your vet since it is easy to cause severe injury to thin hamster skin with scissors and clippers. Treatment often has to last 3 weeks or longer before the hamster is clear.

Hamsters may suffer from bacterial skin diseases often due to bite wounds from fighting. Hamsters may also traumatize their own skin if they have an underlying painful condition. A generalized skin disease can be caused by infection with Streptococcus.

Hamsters may suffer from skin cancer but it is rare. Sometimes people get worried when they see the dark greasy spots on their hamster's back; these are normal glands used for marking the male hamster's territory!

vets and pets info from
Sam's Blog
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
Food Animals
vets and pets info
Cage paralysis
Dental problems
Impacted cheeks
Internal parasites
Kidney disease
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis
Rare endocrinopathies
Skin diseases
Tyzzer's Disease
Wet tail
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
Recommended Books
vets and pets info
Complementary Therapies
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
vets and pets info
Interesting Videos
vets and pets info
Pet Behaviour
vets and pets info
Basics of Pet Nutrition
vets and pets info
What should I feed my cat?
What should I feed my dog?
What should I feed my rabbit?
How should I bath my pet?
Why is my dog scratching so much?
Is it fair to keep a dog outside?
What diseases should my dog be vaccinated against?
Should I brush my pet's teeth?
To what age can I expect my pet to live?
How often should I worm my puppy or kitten?

© Samantha J. Coe 2005-2021 | Terms and Conditions |
All Rights Reserved | Content is provided for information only. All content on is protected by copyright and therefore may not be copied without specific written permission from the author. Disclaimer: The content of this website is based upon the opinions of Samantha Coe, unless otherwise stated. Individual articles, extracts, and any links to external sites are based upon the opinions of the respective author(s), who may retain copyright. The information on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a qualified veterinary professional and is not intended as medical advice. The purpose of this site is the sharing of knowledge and information - Samantha Coe encourages you to make informed healthcare decisions for animals in your care based upon your research and in consultation with your vet.