220px Trombidium holosericeum aka Hamster has mites: what you need to do now

Hamster has mites: what you need to do now

In this guide, you’ll learn how to recognize a mite infestation in your hamster and what to do about it.

Since mites, among other things, weaken the immune system of hamsters, they can be devastating to the health of the rodent.

It is therefore important that you quickly initiate the right treatment and not just treat your pet.

In this article you will learn what an infestation with mites in a hamster can look like, what measures are important for treatment and how you can prevent a future infestation. All these points are important to avoid serious health consequences.

How does a mite infestation manifest itself in hamsters?

Mites themselves can rarely be seen with the naked eye. The parasites are tiny and therefore often only appear as spots in the fur at the beginning.

You can, however, detect an infestation by other signs. These include:

Hair loss
Reddening of the skin

For sure, you are now wondering why both apathy and restlessness are on the list. After all, these are contradictions.

However, every hamster reacts differently to the stress caused by itching. Some are exhausted and thus calm. Others, however, become aggressive or frantic.

In any case, intense scratching is a clear sign of an infestation. This will cause bald spots or your hamster may even scratch its skin.
Dangers of a hamster mite infestation

Mites are not only annoying for your hamster. They can also weaken his immune system.

This happens in several ways. Firstly, the animal is stressed by the parasites and the itching. This permanent stress weakens the body’s defenses.

Secondly, the scratching can cause wounds that become infected. Severe festering, pain and even death can be the consequences.

In addition, bald spots can lead to rapid chilling. This also makes the hamster more susceptible to diseases.

What do you have to do in case of mite infestation?

The first step is to go to the vet. Because here it can be determined which type of mite it is.

This allows a targeted treatment with the appropriate agent.

The most common type of mites in hamsters are mange mites. However, the parasites can also belong to other species.

Basically, a distinction is made between hair or fur mites and burrowing mites.

In addition to different forms of therapy, further measures are not the same for each type of mite.
Diagnosis at the vet

For the determination of mites, the veterinarian must make a so-called skin scraping. Here, some skin cells are scraped off and then examined.

The combing out of the fur is added. Especially with dwarf hamsters these measures can be difficult. However, they are absolutely necessary.

Because only by this the following measures can be adapted accordingly.

You also need a veterinarian if you already know or suspect what kind of mite it is.

Only a vet can administer the necessary medication and treat any secondary symptoms that may have already developed.

Although you can also find over-the-counter solutions and powders for application, these are often not effective enough.

This is at least true if the infestation is already advanced. Unfortunately, this is more often the case with hamsters.
Treatment by the vet

The first measure is the application of a suitable agent against the mites. This can be a liquid that is applied to the fur and skin.

Also possible is an injection.

During the therapy it may also be necessary to strengthen the immune system, to treat wounds or even to improve the fluid balance.

However, you yourself must also take action when it comes to hair mites or fur mites. We will show you how this works in the next sections.

Additional measures against mite infestation

In the case of burrowing mites, no additional measures are necessary other than treating your hamster.

The situation is different with fur mites or hair mites.

These do not burrow into the skin, but unfortunately require your intervention in the hamster’s environment.

Bedding, bowls, sleeping house and all other elements of the facility must be replaced or thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise, the mites will spread directly again.
Treatment support

Important factors in treating mites and feeding your hamster during or after an infestation are:

good nutrition

Keep stress away from your hamster and spoil him with healthy food. Also, check to see if his condition is improving.

Already decreasing itching and therefore less scratching is an indication of healing. In case of worsening, you should immediately visit the vet again.

This is important in order to use further medication if necessary and thus avoid more serious consequences.

Can mites be prevented?

Unfortunately, you have few options to prevent mites, hair lice or other parasites. However, you can take some steps to reduce the risk of a severe infestation.

These include:

Cleanliness: changing bedding frequently and cleaning the entire cage and furnishings regularly will reduce the overall exposure to germs and parasites. This also lowers the risk for infestation or disease.
Avoid stress: Stress is not beneficial to the health of humans or animals. It can have a negative effect on the nervous system and overall condition. So avoid disturbing your hamster during its sleeping phases and allow the animal to live as species-appropriate a life as possible, with an adapted diet and plenty of exercise.
Safe sources: Only use bedding, especially hay and straw, that comes from safe sources. This is because mites are often introduced through these materials. High quality products are therefore the better choice.

The more species-appropriate you make your hamster’s life and the more space he has available, the better his defense against parasites and pathogens will be.

In addition, you should of course carry out a daily check. The sooner you notice problems, the easier and faster they can be treated.

It is therefore best to examine the coat once a day and observe the animal.

If you notice light or bald spots, crumbs between the individual hairs, itching or a sudden change in behavior – consult a veterinarian immediately.

Since a mite infestation in your hamster can not always be prevented, you should pay close attention and act early. However, with an appropriate remedy and cleaning of the environment, the infestation can usually be eliminated easily and your animal can recover.

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