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Old 10-03-2020, 11:17 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 3
Question Mites only seen with biopsy - cleaning?

Hi all,

I adopted my dwarf Winston at the end of July from a little rescue and I immediately saw that he was scratching like crazy. The first vet didn't look at him and just gave a spot treatment for mites. Changed vets and he was diagnosed with an infected scent gland and put on antibiotics. The infection got worse and he got put on a new antibiotic. He got a bit better but started losing hair on his neck above the gland and still scratching.

Eventually we decided it was best that he was looked at under anaesthesia and the skin scraping showed no sign of mites so the vet did a biopsy and the results showed mites under the skin and the vet (exotics specialist) said it is the most difficult case of mites they had ever seen. Winston is now on a third antibiotic, a painkiller and is getting an injection every week for 4-6 weeks in the hopes that this helps him before I was told we might have to try a medicated shampoo...

Now... I cleaned out his cage entirely, first soap, then vinegar and water solution and lastly store bought animal cage disinfectant. I threw out his wooden toys to be safe (our oven is kind of broken and can't be trusted) and i temporarily only put toilet paper (a lot) in his cage.

I am replacing his usual bedding (putting it in freezer for around 50 hours), replaced all his food with fresh packs, disinfected everything (which I will do fully every week when he has his injections), replacing all wooden items, etc.

I don't actually know how often I should clean everything from now on, especially since the mites are under the skin.

Has anyone had a similar experience? What's the best things to do to ensure the best possible outcome for the treatment? Will freezing new bedding for 50 hours be enough? He already had this issue before I adopted him so I don't think anything here caused it but I still want to make sure.

(Also if anyone knows a way for me to clean his belly without scruffing him that would be hugely appreciated. He had seizure like reactions and screamed to the insecticide/germicide wound spray from the vets which terrified me and he won't let me near him without being terrified, biting, running away, etc. It is impossible to pick him up now because of it but I still want to clean his infection and surgical wounds. Does anyone know whether another way of doing this is possible at all?)

Thank you for any advice in advance!

Last edited by Kensa; 10-03-2020 at 11:24 AM. Reason: Forgot to add something
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Old 10-03-2020, 12:20 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wales UK
Posts: 24,802
Default Re: Mites only seen with biopsy - cleaning?

All hamsters have mites under their skin, that’s natural so it may not even be mites that are causing the problem but if these mites do get out of control it’s not so much a matter of cleaning as boosting his immune system as it’s usually when their immune system isn’t as good as it could be that this happens.
It could be partially a result of the antibiotics & may also be diet related. I would start giving him some probiotics straight away which will help with that.
To help with skin condition & healing from scratching giving a pinch of flax seeds every day along with a drop of evening primrose oil on food can help a lot.
What food is he having now?
If you’ve used disinfectant in the cage or on any items make sure to rinse really well so there’s no residue of scent that could cause a problem too.
A. medicated shampoo does sound drastic washing hams at al is risky & best avoided.
If he’s been really scared or if the treatment on his wounds was painful then it is going to be difficult to pick him up, I know a lot of people don’t like scruffing but if done properly it is probably the only way to do it. Not sure what else to suggest for that really.
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