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Old 03-16-2019, 01:17 PM   #1
mangoandmimi
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Exclamation Balding on one side

Chocho has been scratching more on one side over the last couple weeks, initially we didn't really notice but now she's losing hair there and a bit on the leg she's scratching with. Looked today and it's got worse. I don't actually see her scratching recently, but she must be in the nest or somewhere.
She is acting as usual, she comes out for shorter bursts now and does't go on the wheel much, but looking at her she seems content and alert as usual. She is 2 years old now.

The only things that have changed in her cage are:
1. Half the cage is now Argos playsand, that went in a bit before the scratching occured. It's her first time on this sand too. I wouldn't have thought playsand would cause an issue though but I could remove it for now.

2. Her food mix - changed now to just the Rodipet hybrid mix which she loves, to try and help her lose a bit of weight. Also went on this mix about the same time the scratching started. She went from 31g over a week ago to 29g today, so not sure whether it's from the diet or because she's ill. Haven't done any cleanouts or anything these few weeks.

I've found a new & hopefully good vet so will get her booked in on Monday but trying to think of the possibilities. I can't see any lumps or anything, and not sure if a mite flareup would cause scratching in primarily one area. Does anyone know what it could be? This video kind of shows the hair loss near the foot.

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Old 03-16-2019, 04:24 PM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Balding on one side

Hmm - you could try process of elimination. I think the sand sounds like a big change and the balding is in an area where they sit to scratch - maybe it's on one side because she sits on that side more and scratches with the leg on the opposite side?

I can't see the food would be an issue. It's the hybrid one isn't it? So plenty of protein.

Doesn't look like allergy - but there are hamsters who've had problems with sand. Maybe take it out and just put substrate down and see if it improves. It doesn't look a particularly large patch on the video.
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:35 PM   #3
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: Balding on one side

Thanks serendipity yes it could be the sand. But she was fine on large amounts of chinchilla sand before, then switched to playsand and then the scratching started. I’ll try to see about removing it but she won’t be happy. Yes it’s the hybrid rodipet mix so I wouldn’t have thought there would be an issue with that either to be honest.

Here is a pic as the video is so unclear. It’s more like a couple of balding patches now and from a normal distance away it just looks like that side is losing hair in general. She was just out and on the wheel, other than this she is acting happy & healthy.

2C123A99-48CE-4A58-8925-0BBE2DA054E9.jpeg
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Balding on one side

It is a bit baffling, I agree the food is unlikely to be a problem, mites seem highly unlikely too, so many people seem to use that sand I wouldn't have thought that would be a problem either but you never know really.
What food was she on before, just wondering how big a change it's been although I do doubt that's the issue.
As it's a small isolated patch allergy seems unlikely too.
A bit of a random guess but iis it possible she may have had a small cut from something & been scratching at it as it heals?
It might be worth just giving her some extra linseeds & some EPO while you try to figure it out, it may help & certainly won't do any harm.
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Balding on one side

It could be the play sand. My Syrian ham Bram has a sensitivity to sand. If I put it in his cage he starts to scratch himself alot, after l remove the sand the scratching stops within a few days. I don't put sand in anymore for this reason.
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Balding on one side

You could try switching back to the Chinchilla sand. OR replacing the sand area with substrate and just giving her a sand bath with the chinchilla sand - as long as she still has some sand she shouldn't make too much of a fuss. And see if it improves.

I also think some hamsters can be sensitive to sand and a different sand just may not suit her.

I know Racing Hamster had a number of issues with dwarf hamsters having sand reactions and actually stopped using it.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Balding on one side

Thanks guys. I did look for cuts but there hasn't been any I'm pretty sure. The food she was on before was a bit of a mix but primarily the Bunny food, the old rodipet dwarf food and also some of the rodipet hybrid food. The playsand is removed now. She still has some chinchilla sand in there.

Took her to an exotics vets today, vet said potentially mites since she's older and her immune system has probably gone down. So she's had some mite treatment and will see how she does in 7-10 days. Can't say I know much at all about these mites but vet said even if it starts on one side it'll spread soon. If the mite treatment works he reckons she should stay on it or it'll return.

Cage was also deep cleaned, an absolute nightmare with all the wooden stuff and cork etc. Chocho is really unhappy. And the sand has gone too but I've kept the setup the same otherwise, hopefully she'll settle down. Anyway I'm not sure what to think right now, I guess there's nothing more to do than wait and see if she improves next week.
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Balding on one side

That's a shame - hope she settles soon - I suppose you had to bake the wood items etc?
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Balding on one side

It can be a bit of a guessing game regarding mites but I hope the treatment & change in sand does the trick & she's better soon.
Hope she gets over the upheaval & settles down again soon too.
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Balding on one side

Yes fingers crossed it does the trick. Poor thing is so stressed, I knew she’d take the vet badly (even though she was very good) but a huge cage clean is about the last thing she needed right now. The shoebox that was her second nest also had to be replaced of course so that won’t be helping either!

Serendipity we had to bake the lot - the oven is smelling strange now but can’t be helped!
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scratching, shes, mix, bit, changed, time, playsand, cage, usual, weeks, today, side, hair, video, 31g, kind, week, 29g, started, ago, shows, foot, alacg3-ezh0, loves, lose

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