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Old 07-16-2019, 03:25 AM   #1
astrid
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Default Mites infestation

Hello everyone, I haven't posted in so long. I'm not entirely sure if I am putting this into the right section. Sorry, if not. Long post ahead, sorry about that too.

I've got two Syrian hamsters. Both are over 1.5 years old now. One of them (Timmy) lives in the barney cage, while the more energetic one of the two (Pippin) is in the hamster homes wooden cage with a perspex front (size 120 x 60 cm).

Recently, Timmy has had an abscess operation (thankfully, he is fully recovered from that now). Then, it was followed by the fur loss. The vet has suspected mites, and Timmy seemed to recover after 3 doses of treatment (that was spread out over the 6 weeks). Of course, after the diagnosis, I've thoroughly cleaned and disinfected everything in Timmy's cage. I've thrown away and replaced all the wooden and natural hideaways and tunnels. During this time, Pippin kept on looking and acting healthy. Both cages are in the opposite ends of the same room (as I live in a shared house and can only keep them in my bedroom). My hamsters don't share any toys. I always wash my hands between handling them.

Now, some time has passed and Pippin has also lost some fur. The vet once again suspected mites and put the treatment on him for that. Now, I've cleaned Pippin's cage but am still concerned, as it is wooden and seems more difficult to properly disinfect.

To add to it all, after looking like he has recovered for more than a week (all the lost fur has grown back, Timmy seemed happy and relaxed), I've noticed that Timmy yesterday had a bit of a 'bed head' look on him, so, it is possible that it's mites again/ still. I'll have a better look at him tonight, and most likely will have to book another vet appointment. But even with the spot-on treatment on my boys, how do I ensure that that they don't keep reinfecting one another (even though they are kept separately at all times currently). And what do I do about their environments? Should I throw away all wooden and similar toys/ houses again? What I should do about Pippin's wooden cage to ensure it's throughly disinfected?
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Old 07-16-2019, 05:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mites infestation

Did your vet do a skin scraping to determine the diagnosis of mites? Some vets don't know much about hamsters and they shouldn't prescribe for mites without testing first as it could be unnecessary treatment and all medications can create some toxicity within hamsters. So important to know it is really needed.

Fur loss can be caused by a number of things, and particularly as hamsters age, or in warm weather like now, as they can moult a bit/shed their coat. Our Syrian looked very mangy this time last year, but his fur all grew back!

If your vet didn't test, then I'd suggest googling for exotic vets in your area - they know a lot more about hamsters and some even specialise in "small furries".

So suggest getting a skin scrape to determine if it actually is mites, before any further disinfecting, and as you say that could be tricky (but not impossible!) with a wood cage. I would think wiping the wood down with pet disinfectant would do the trick if necessary but could be an idea to use a fairly odourless one like this one (recommended to me by Cypher ). As the wood could absorb any scents for some time.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Safe-4-pe...0AAOSwIhxZayY5
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mites infestation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Did your vet do a skin scraping to determine the diagnosis of mites? Some vets don't know much about hamsters and they shouldn't prescribe for mites without testing first as it could be unnecessary treatment and all medications can create some toxicity within hamsters. So important to know it is really needed.

Fur loss can be caused by a number of things, and particularly as hamsters age, or in warm weather like now, as they can moult a bit/shed their coat. Our Syrian looked very mangy this time last year, but his fur all grew back!

If your vet didn't test, then I'd suggest googling for exotic vets in your area - they know a lot more about hamsters and some even specialise in "small furries".

So suggest getting a skin scrape to determine if it actually is mites, before any further disinfecting, and as you say that could be tricky (but not impossible!) with a wood cage. I would think wiping the wood down with pet disinfectant would do the trick if necessary but could be an idea to use a fairly odourless one like this one (recommended to me by Cypher ). As the wood could absorb any scents for some time.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Safe-4-pe...0AAOSwIhxZayY5
Thank you so much for your reply. It definitely gives me some food for thought. The vets haven't done the skin scrape tests, I think they were going for the elimination method, as Timmy has suffered so much already, due to his operation. And, initially, Timmy did seem to respond to mites treatment.

The practice has been great with my hamsters before though. A while ago, they have saved Timmy's eye, when it has prolapsed. And more recently, they've saved his life with abscess removal/ castration operation.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mites infestation

If you like the vets, then maybe ask them to do a skin scraping, saying you want to be sure before giving any more treatment.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Mites infestation

Just to add. Mites live on hamsters normally. It is only when the hamster becomes run down/low immune system, that they can proliferate and cause issues. You would usually see scratching to the point they make themselves sore, rather than just fur loss.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:04 AM   #6
astrid
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Default Re: Mites infestation

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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Just to add. Mites live on hamsters normally. It is only when the hamster becomes run down/low immune system, that they can proliferate and cause issues. You would usually see scratching to the point they make themselves sore, rather than just fur loss.
Thank you so much for all the replies! I do like the vets that we are going to but I will ask for the test next time. As the fur loss (Pippin's especially) did seem very sudden and unexpected. I haven't seen him scratching or grooming himself excessively.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Mites infestation

It doesn't sound like mites to me really. Whereabouts is the fur loss on the second hamster (Pippin?). Some fur loss can be part of normal ageing. If it's large patches or symmetrical that could be another cause.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:26 AM   #8
astrid
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Default Re: Mites infestation

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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
It doesn't sound like mites to me really. Whereabouts is the fur loss on the second hamster (Pippin?). Some fur loss can be part of normal ageing. If it's large patches or symmetrical that could be another cause.
What kind of other cause? Pippin's fur loss is mainly on his face (below the ear is quite a big patch and a bit on his cheek, below one of his eyes), and a few spots on his back.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: Mites infestation

So many causes of fur loss Do you have a photo?
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:45 AM   #10
astrid
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Default Re: Mites infestation

That's not the best picture, but he is currently asleep.
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File Type: jpg Pippin's fur.jpg (57.4 KB, 17 views)
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