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Old 03-14-2023, 08:10 AM   #1
Cathers97
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 3
Default Rapid fur loss - any ideas?

Hi all

My hamster is Sooty and he is nearly 2 1/2 years old. Until recently, Sooty was extremely healthy, never showed any signs of old age or health problems. Over the past month, this has changed and I am at a loss. He is of course under vet care but there are no exotics in my area so I am looking to you - hamster experts - to advise if there is anything you know that we may be missing.

Around 1 month ago, Sooty started making constant squeaking sounds. We took him straight to the vet thinking something was wrong. The vet couldn't find anything obvious wrong but perscribed Loxicom just in case Sooty was feeling any pain. The only other changes were that he rarely now runs on his wheel, but other than that he seems normal including activity levels (he runs around his cage and play area a lot, climbs, plays in tunnels etc).

Around 1 - 1.5 weeks ago, Sooty had completely stopped making the squeaking noise and I was under the impression he had fully recovered from whatever had been bothering him.

Unfortunately, over the last few days we have noticed some rapid fur loss. He has gone completely bald on his underside / stomach. It's hard to inspect too closely as he doesn't like being handled, but it doesn't look bright red or inflamed, just a gentle pink colour.

He is now also losing hair on his back - mainly around his scent glands and a little around his head. It started on his left scent gland however now seems to have spread. Then skin that is showing is what is mainly concerning me. It's very dark and looks extremely dry / crusty.

I have scoured the internet desperately trying to work out what may be causing this.

First thought was mites or another parasite however Sooty is not scratching anymore than normal (we have a camera that films him at night and I watch it religiously) and doesn't appear to even be aware of the fur loss (shows no concern if it touch it etc, so I don't think it's sore?)

Then I read a lot about Cushings disease, however all the pictures I've found on various forums / Facebook of hamsters with Cushings seems to have pink skin rather than this scary dark skin that Sooty has.

Then I wondered if extended time of Loxicom could have somehow caused this issue however the vet has confirmed this should be safe long term.

Best case scenario I guess is that this is just old age - however again with the darkness of the skin and the speed of these developments, I just don't think this is the case

I am scared and anxious - I haven't slept for days worrying and trying to figure out what's happening. Has anyone experienced this before and have any ideas what may be happening?

Really appreciate you reading this and taking the time to respond.

Thank you!
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File Type: jpg Belly.jpg (3.59 MB, 5 views)
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Old 03-14-2023, 12:08 PM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: Rapid fur loss - any ideas?

I'm sorry your little one isn't doing so well. It could be Cushing's still and there are quite a few articles on the forum showing this. The dark pigment over the scent glands is normal and it can look raised and a but bumpy. It does darken with age. The other possibility is that he has some type of skin cancer.
They do lose fur as they age but not normally as badly as this but we have had males who became very tatty in their old age and quite scrawny.
Make sure he has very soft bedding and nothing he can break the skin on. I find supplementing some porridge with wheatgerm added (from health food stores) often helps fur growth as does feeding some dark greens like brocolli, kale or spinach.
You may want to seek out a second opinion from another vet.
I hope he improves but 2 and a half is a very elderly hamster and things will happen health wise which could be non treatable. As long as he is comfortable and not in any pain try the supplements and see how he does.
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