Hamster mites – Demodex
The hair follicles of mammals, including hamsters, are home to tiny parasites called mites (.3 to .4mm in length). The mite’s scaly body allows it to firmly cling to the skin of its host hamster. Demodex mites will attach themselves to the skin of any healthy hamster given the opportunity. A persistent infestation can cause some hamster ailments, like skin conditions.
Signs and symptoms
Redness around the ears, eyes, and nose is one of the few apparent symptoms, and you may also see the hamster rubbing itself continually against the wire bars or other items in its cage. There may be little to no other indications that your hamsters are being infested, but a mite infestation can result in skin disorders like mange or acariasis.
Both sarcoptic and demodex mites can cause mange. You can comb the hamster’s hair and use a magnifying glass to look at the comb to determine if mites might be to blame for the skin issue. The infected hamster can also be brushed while being held over a piece of white paper, and you can check the paper with a magnifying glass. If no visible mites are present, a hamster fungal infection may be the cause of the skin condition.
Causes of this
Your hamsters may contract demodex mites if they come into contact with people or animals that are already infected.
By putting bedding with these parasites in it into a hamster’s cage, mites can also be introduced. Because of this, it is a good idea to check the bedding before adding it and to avoid using bedding that is improperly packaged or that you pick up from the outside.
The most vulnerable hamsters to mites are older males and young hamsters, as well as those that are under a lot of stress or underweight.
Related skin issues in hamsters:
Treatment for hamster mites
As soon as you determine that your hamster has a mite infestation, you should separate the sick hamster from any other healthy hamsters. Next, thoroughly clean the hamsters’ cage. All of the cage’s surfaces should be cleaned and the bedding changed. Replace anything in the cage that could serve as a mite’s habitat ideally. Spray an anti-mite spray on the cage once it has been cleaned. The pet store down the road should start carrying these sprays.
Next, you can either try treating the sick animals yourself by buying an anti-mite spray, or you can take them to the veterinarian for medical attention. Ivermectin drops and Amitraz are two medications that are used to treat mites. You must first keep the ill, diseased hamsters apart from any other healthy pets and members of your family. It’s crucial to protect the hamster’s eyes when spraying it, and to ensure that the spray reaches your skin.
Using a spray
As long as there are still evidence of mites, an anti-mite spray needs to be used once per week. Be sure to read the directions on the drug packaging beforehand. The closest thing they have to a bath is a hamster sand bath. Your sick hamster won’t get better by just spraying the outside coat.
With the exception of the sarcoptic form, most hamster mites cannot survive on humans. Whatever the case, use cautious when handling any infected pet with mites by washing your hands and taking into consideration wearing medical gloves.
Sarcoptic mange in hamsters
Sarcoptic mange, often known as canine scabies, is a very contagious epidermal disease caused by the Sarcoptic scabeii mite. Mange is a skin ailment brought on by parasitic mites. If you’re not careful, these mites will burrow and implant themselves into the skin of your pet hamsters, any other animals you own, and even you (scabies in humans). Finding the mites on the skin of an affected hamster makes it difficult to diagnose this hamster disease. You must examine a scraping under a microscope to find these microscopic parasites.
Signs and symptoms
The skin of a hamster will become extremely irritating as a result of this mite’s burrowing behavior (pruritic). After that, it immediately turns crusty or scabby and infected. Visible hair loss symptoms, primarily on the face but sometimes on the body, will start to emerge. The Acarasis skin disorder, which is brought on by the Demodex mite and has milder symptoms, is a similar ailment of the skin. However, demodex mites are not spread by contact.
Given how contagious sarcoptic mange is, how do you care for a hamster with it? Since hamsters are not used to bathing and are likely to grow anxious rapidly, amitraz, a bath-based drug, is a less desirable option than is ivermectin. Use Ivermectin drops orally every seven to ten days after that. Ivermectin is also available as an injectable, but only medical professionals should administer this treatment. Since these mites can survive in the bedding for a few days, you should thoroughly clean the cage and replace all of the bedding while you are caring for your ill hamster.
Skin condition known as hamster acariasis
It is a condition of the skin brought on by mites. To find these microscopic parasites, you can use a magnifying glass and brush the ill hamsters’ coats over a piece of white paper. A veterinarian can assist you in accurately identifying any ailments your hamster may be suffering from.
Signs and symptoms
Your hamster’s coat could look unruly, spotty, or loose. It is common for the skin on the head and neck to become unusually dry, scaly, or discolored.
Causes of it
It is caused by demodex mites which are hard to notice with the naked eye. They penetrate the skin and hair follicles and might occasionally trigger an allergic reaction. This response causes areas of hair loss. Older, pregnant, or immune-compromised hamsters are more prone to allergic responses.
There are a few treatments that can treat this skin problem, the first being Ivermectin drops which is a treatment for sarcoptic Mange. Another approach entails taking a weekly bath in a medication called Amritraz. Hamsters, however, become anxious when bathed. Generally speaking, good hamster care advises against using it as a first choice.
Are you looking for more insights into hamster care? Add a comment below to let us know!
Waiting for our next post here.