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Hamster mites are usually free of parasites, but occasionally they can be exposed to and become carriers of mites. Mites are tiny, black parasites that can cause much discomfort for your pets.
They live in the hair follicles in your pet's fur. If left untreated, mites can spread to and infect other hamsters and can also lead to mange. (Mange is a skin condition that is characterized by redness, intense itching, skin irritation and hair loss).
Hamsters can get mites from several sources. The most common is when they are in contact with an infested hamster. They can also get it when bedding is used that contains mites. Hay (which is used for food) can also be infested. A good practice is to inspect any new package of bedding or food before using it.
When the hamster is very weak or old or when the mite infection is too advanced, the infestation can turn into mange, a widespread infection of the skin with excessive fur loss, redness and scaliness. In this case you will have to see a vet immediately, as treatment with antibiotics and stronger medication than the over-the-counter ones may be necessary. Mange is very contagious, so isolate the hamster immediately
Symptoms: Mites are generally hard to see with the naked eye, especially the Demodex species that commonly affects hamsters. The hamster's skin may appear irritated, inflamed, or reddened, especially around the ears, face, feet, and tail. Due to its intense urge to scratch at the affected areas, it may attempt to rubbing itself on cage wire. Other common signs of mite infestation including Rough, dry, and scaly skin, Hair loss, especially on back and rump.
get rid of hamster mites:The best way to rid your hamster of the mites is to go to the pet store and find a mite spray. Also make sure you clean the cage out well or the hamster will become reinfected as soon as it is reintroduced to the cage. All items that were in the hamsters cage should be thoroughly disinfected and the wood chips should be changed completely. You may also wish to throw out any hay or wood chips that you had when the hamster first became infected with mites in case that was the source of the parasites.
If the mites are allowed to infect your hamster over a period of time a condition called mange can occur which can leave lasting effets on your hamster. Be sure to be proactive when it comes to mites and other parasitic infections in your hamster.
Treatment: Isolate the hamster and clean out the cage. After sterilizing the cage and providing fresh bedding, spray the entire cage with anti-mite spray designed for caged birds or small animals. The one I have used include those from Beaphar. The small dosage of the pipettes remedies usually does not cut it for me, so I tend to stick with the sprays.
Spray the hamster with the anti-mite spray while shielding its eyes and head. For effective treatment the anti-mite fluid should come in contact with the skin, otherwise the mites cannot be killed effectively.
Hamster Mites Attacked
The treatment is repeated once a week untill all signs of mites and itching are gone. Often no more than 2 treatments are necessary to cure a mild mite infestation. If there is no improvement after 2 weeks or the condition seems to get worse rapidly, consult a vet. Discomfort by dry and scaly skin can be relieved somewhat by rubbing in some olive oil, which is harmless when ingested by the hamster.
Before and after handling your hamster, wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap to prevent spreading the infection. Hamster mites can bite humans, causing small welts, but they cannot live in human skin. So rodent mites will not cause scabies in humans.There is an exception and that is the Sarcoptes scabei mite, which causes sarcoptic mange.
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