Hamsters are small rodents with dense fur, a short tail, and large cheek pouches. They are crepuscular, which means they generally are active during twilight hours. One of the most common conditions that can affect hamsters is mange, which is a skin disorder. Hamster mange primarily happens to adult hamsters and can result in loss of hair and skin redness.
Hamster mange results from parasites (mites) that burrow under the hamster's skin and feed and live off the animal's tissue. Hamster mange is very infectious and can easily be passed from one hamster to another.
The main symptoms of hamster mange include excessive itchiness (especially around the ears), flakiness and dryness of the skin and noticeable loss of fur (notably on the back). One less common but possible sign of hamster mange is the development of scabs on the hamster's body, especially surrounding the hamster's ears or on its genitals or nose.
Stopping the Spread of Infection
When a hamster is suffering from mange, he or she must get medical attention and be separated from all other hamsters. Cages must be deeply disinfected using a disinfectant that was produced specifically for small animal cages. Any hay that is inside the cage should be replaced with bedding (paper).
At the veterinarian, the hamster will undergo a skin scraping test to verify that it is suffering from hamster mange. Veterinarians often treat mange-infected hamsters with an injection of the medication Ivermectin, which is generally administered once a week for up to one month. In some cases, topical medicines might also be used.
There are also various natural and easy treatment options for getting rid of hamster mange. One way is by cautiously applying diluted oils (such as olive oil) onto the affected areas of the hamster's body. Other oils that could help eliminate mange include tea tree, lavender, rosemary and garlic.
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