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Old 05-07-2021, 05:02 PM   #1
Littlemonster21
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Question Allergies?

Hello, so I wanted to inquire about the symptoms of allergies and what to look for if you think your hamster has allergies. I am not a hamster health expert in any area but I believe one of the symptoms is irritated skin. My hamster Marnie seems to be scratching herself (itching) a lot. I am pretty sure that I can discern the difference between itching and grooming but if anybody has any further advice that that would be helpful. But anyways the only skin that is clearly exposed is behind the hears and it looks slightly pink.....well I guess that it is normal but it looks more red and irritated. Is this a symptom? I'm really not sure if she is becoming excessively bald or itchy because I don't have any photo's to compare to but I haven't noticed any huge changes in her appearance or behavior. What are other symptoms of allergies?

The only thing that I can think of that would be causing allergies would be the aspen that I use. I am using a mixture of aspen and paper bedding for the substrate so removing the aspen would be the simplest solution....if she even has allergies.

I am really uncertain though and I was just wondering how I should move on with this. Thank you!
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Allergies?

Aspen allergies definitely aren't unheard of so trying to get rid of the aspen is certainly worth a shot!
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:22 PM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Allergies?

Hello. How old is your hamster? They start losing fur behind the ears as they get older. Hamsters can be allergic to any type of wood whether it is safe hardwood, or softwood. First thing to try would be paper bedding and no aspen. I always found aspen a bit dusty too.

Keep an eye on it. It could possibly be mites but I think she'd have a lot more areas of sore skin and scratching if it is. The only way to know that is take her to a vet and ask for a skin scraping to diagnose. Don't buy mite treatment yourself - it can be quite toxic to hamsters and should only be prescribed by a vet. Even then some vets just assume it's mites and prescribe without doing a skin scraping (which islooked at under a microscope to check for mites).

So first I would change the bedding and see if it settles down. If it doesn't settle down then take her to a vet and ask for a skin scraping. You need an exotic vet - most vets don't know much about hamsters at all and don't always diagnose correctly.
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Old 05-08-2021, 02:52 PM   #4
Littlemonster21
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Default Re: Allergies?

She is around five months old. I will remove the aspen and see if anything changes. Thank you!
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Allergies?

Meant to add - scented things can cause issues too. So no strong disinfectants for cage cleaning, no scented granules or bedding etc. For nesting, plain white toilet paper torn into strips is safest. For cleaning - you don't need disinfectant unless there has been illness or disease and then it needs to be a small animal pet safe disinfectant, well rinsed and aired to remove any scent afterwards. I just use warm water with a bit of washing up liquid in for the cage base and then rinse well. likewise for the wheel or any ceramic or plastic items. Anything else can just have a wipe down with a damp cloth - toys don't usually need cleanign that often or much,

Also best to not clean everything at the same time as that stresses them and stress can cause all sorts. So partial cleans are better. Eg do half the substrate if it is absolutely necessary but keep the clean half back and mix it in so it smells familiar. And do the wheel a different week and any toys etc a different week again. Our human instinct is to clean everything all at the same time but not good for the hamster.

Using a litter tray keeps the substrate clean and dry and you just empty the litter tray.

Hopefully changing the aspen for paper bedding will help. Let us know how it goes.
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