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Ask Karen Purcell DVM Your Own Question
Karen Purcell DVM
Karen Purcell DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 945
Experience:  1992 graduate of Cornell University Veterinary School, small mammal interest
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hair..acting completely normal..drinking fine

Resolved Question:

Our hamster has been losing some hair little by little over his left flank and now it has started a little on his right flank. She is acting completely normal otherwise and is eating and drinking fine. This loss has been going on now for about 3 months. What is it?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Karen Purcell DVM replied 8 years ago.
HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

-Is your Pet male or female? You are using both gender pronouns and it does make a difference.

-How old is your Pet?

-What breed is your Pet?

-What have you already tried?


Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Our pet is female, 1 year old, a syrian hamster, we have a varied diet for her, and have just begun putting vitamin supplements in her water(1 week)
Expert:  Karen Purcell DVM replied 8 years ago.
What you are describing can be very normal in hamsters, but it does indicate metabolic disease. Symetrical hairloss is usually an indication that the thyroid is not working sufficiently or that your hamster has ovarian cysts that are over-producing estrogen and making her hair fall out. As long as she is comfortable and eating well, these are problems that she can live with, without treatment, in general. Sometimes they can get painful from the ovarian cysts, which may appear as swellings on one side or both below her ribs.
The other possibility is easier - if you have another hamster sometimes they overgroom each other. In that case, I usually use something that tastes bad (like Bitter Apple) to discourage the overgrooming.

I hope this gives you some guidance,
Dr. Karen
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Is there any medication we can get to help her?
Expert:  Karen Purcell DVM replied 8 years ago.
If it is thyroid disease, which can be proven by a blood test, you can put them on synthroid, though it is a very tiny dose. Usually if it is cystic ovaries, your vet will be able to feel them. The only treatment for those is to spay her, but if she is painful there are medications the vet can provide to make her more comfortable.

Dr. Karen
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