Hamsters are often considered as good first pets due to their easy maintenance and smaller price tag. However, sometimes hamsters can get mites, this article is to tell you how to best deal with hamster mites.
What are Hamster Mites?
What are hamster mites? Mites are small bugs that you will not be able to see with the naked eye, they are similar to nits, but smaller in size. If your hamster starts to scratch more and begins to lose hair then it is possible that they have mites and should be taken to the vet to deal with them efficiently. They are parasites that feed on the oil and the hair of hamsters.
Different types of Hamster Mites
There are a range of different types of mites, the most common are Notoedres and Demodex mites. The type of mites determines the type of treatment that your hamster will receive, but do not fear, your vet will be the one to determine the type of mites that your hamster has. Because of your hamster’s increased scratching when they have mites, they may also end up with red skin, or even a skin infection due to this scratching. They may also develop dry and flaky skin due to the parasites taking away the oil from your hamster’s fur and skin.
How can Hamsters catch Mites?
Mites can come from a number of places such as being in contact with another mite infested hamster or small animal, they can catch them from their bedding such as hay, if it contains mites.
Are Mites Common in Hamsters?
Mites are not uncommon, in fact it is suggested that all hamsters have mites living in their fur and that it is when an overpopulation of mites occurs that problems start to arise. This overpopulation of mites often arises due to your hamster being stressed, but it can also be caused by an underlying health issue.
Mites or Fleas?
If you can see bug-like creatures on your hamster’s fur, then it is unlikely to be mites and more likely to be fleas. Your vet will of course be able to tell the difference and so if you suspect that your hamster has mites, you should take them to your vet where they will examine your hamster under a microscope.
What to do if your Hamster has Mites
If your hamster has mites, the vet will then decipher the type of mites that your hamster has (e.g. Notoedres or Demodex etc.) so that they can provide the most effective treatment. Most of the time, this will result in your hamster being treated with mite spray in which you will have to spray your hamster with it. Although, sometimes it comes in the form of shampoos or ointments. Always be careful to follow the right dosage of treatment that your vet tells you to use on your hamster. You should also schedule a follow up appointment with your vet to make sure that the treatment has been effective.
This product can be put on your hamster regularly in order to repel mites and fleas, giving 4 weeks of protection. So if you are looking to keep your hamster protected forever, you can apply this product every 4 weeks in order to prevent an overpopulation of mites from happening.
If you have multiple small animals living in your home such as guinea pigs or gerbils, then you will also need to get them checked for mites as mites can spread fairly quickly amongst small animals, even if they do not live in the same cage.
You should also make sure to clean your hamster’s whole cage and all of the accessories within, being sure to replace bedding etc. too. Wash the cage and accessories with hot water and soap, and then apply an insecticide, that your vet can recommend to you, to all of the surfaces. If you have any doubt of the mites origins, you should also make sure to bin the bedding you used for the hamster’s prior bedding and open a fresh packet for them.
Remember that you should never use products that are intended for other animals such as dogs on hamsters as it can be too harsh and cause your hamster harm.