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My Hamster has really dry skin like Ezema and is constantly…

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My Hamster has really...

My Hamster has really dry skin like Ezema and is constantly itching, what can i do if I don’t have a vet for such a small pet?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. What is the hamster's name and age?

The Hamster is about 2 years Old, his name is*****: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Humphrey?

No , he’s been very healthy and we give him a balanced diet of teeny amounts of Fresh fruit and veg too in addition to his assortment of organic pet foods.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Veterinary
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Answered in 33 minutes by:
11/25/2017
Veterinarian: Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,221
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Poor Humphrey! Now when we see severe itchiness/irritation with skin crusting in our hamsters, this does raise some concerns. Specifically, we can see this with bacterial infection, fungal infections, parasites, nutritional issues, allergies, and even related to hormonal disease and organ failure.

Now I would first just note that size doesn't matter with regards ***** ***** Humphrey seen. Many vets do see pocket pets and would be able to help narrow down our infectious causes and dispense treatment as needed. If you did wish to find one to see him, you can find one near you at http://aemv.org/index.php/members/vet-locator, http://www.guinealynx.info/vetlist.html or @ http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/

Otherwise, we can start trying to narrow down some of these concerns to see if we can help get him settled. To start, the first concern would be the bedding you are using as hamsters can develop allergies to some of the standard chips/shavings/etc. Furthermore, we can actually see mite infestations reach solitary hamsters via contaminated bedding. Therefore, especially if you are using a new type or batch, you might want to try him on paper based bedding or even shredded newspaper for the short term to make sure the skin irritation isn’t secondary to allergic disease.

Next, you want to review your diet that you are feeding. Its good he is on a balanced one, but do double check the nutritional values on the back of the diet just to make sure that he is getting adequate protein. Hamsters who have a protein deficiency (<16% of the diet) can have changes to skin quality (drying/scaling) with itchiness. And we can too much grain and cereals (ie corn) causing the same. This is easily remedied by offering more fruits and vegetables in the diet or by feeding half the dry grain/seed mix with boiled rice or puffed rice cereal. And even if you do check and confirm your diet is balanced, do try and monitor what he actually chooses to eat from it since we can see selective grazing (due to preference for the unhealthy bits or dental disease) thwart even the best quality diets.

If his diet and what he chooses to eat is fine, then we can put that lower on our list of concerns and turn to the very common reason for itchiness/skin disease of the hamster, parasites/mites. Now in this category there are a range to consider. We have super pruritic mange inducing mites that can make hamsters rip themselves raw. We see Cheyletiella. (aka ‘walking dandruff'’) cause itching and dander. Furthermore, we can also see mites called demodex that these animals are born with but then cause disease when the hamster is suffering from an underlying issue that are weakening the immune system. In all cases, to diagnose each mite’s presence, a vet can check a sample of scale/crust/scraping under the microscope. If present or suspected, these mites tends to respond to treatment with injectable or topical mite medication (ie ivermectin based, Xeno, etc). There are also some OTC ivermectin or Pyrethrin based powder preparations for hamsters that could be used.

Finally, systemic disease (metabolic, cancerous, organ based) can also cause manifestations of skin disease. In these cases, we often will have other hints (ie appetite decline, weight loss, etc) but not always. And typically if we cannot rule out the above, then we have to consider these agents. Often a good physical exam by him vet +/- a check of bloods or urine can tell us if any of these are an issue and the underlying cause for his signs.

Overall, it is quite worrying to hear that Humphrey is so uncomfortable with his skin. Therefore, we'd want to start narrow down causes in a step-by step fashion. So, double check the diet you are feeding and what he is actually eating (Try to make sure he is getting >16% protein ad possibly up his fruit/veggies). Then you want to cover him with an anti-parasitic spot on (with ivermectin like Xeno) or a Pyrethrin based powder to help you treat and rule out mites/etc. But if we cannot get him settled, then do check those above links for a local vet that can help us rule out +/- address those infectious concerns for him.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

******************************************************************************

I aim to provide best care for you just as I do for my own clients & their pets. If you have any other questions, please ask – I’m happy to help but please rate me with the **STARS** (or leave a written rating of 1-5; 5 being great) as this is the only way I am credited for my work by the site & this allows me to continue to help here. This is included in your question fee. Once you rate, your question will not close & you can still ask follow-up questions. Thank you. : )**

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