Is my hamster sick?
August 14, 2012 7:29 PM   Subscribe

My dwarf hamster has dirty back and bottom, I immediately thought it was a case of wet tail having heard of the disease before but she shows no other signs of this or any other illness. Should I be worried?

My dwarf hamster has dirty back and bottom, I immediately thought it was a case of wet tail having heard of the disease before but she shows no other signs of this or any other illness. The only thing wrong is she has dried dirty stain on her back, from about where her waist would be to her bottom that looks like she sat in a dirty puddle that has now dried and her fur looks a little messed up like she hasn't groomed herself in a day or so.

I cleaned her cage this morning as I was worried that maybe she had just sat in something dirty or peed in her bed as rodents are want to do but the mark is still there.

She is running around her cage fine, eating heartily and drinking as normal and comes running up to take treats from me, her poops look normal like tiny small black pellets like a mouses poop. She has been moved to a new larger cage with a different type of bedding within the last 7 days but she seemed to settle in with no problems.

Everything I've read about wet tail says that the animals act sick and lethargic and have pale mucousy poops, but I've never kept hamsters before and would be so sad to loose this one and am very worried. Do I just have a lazy hamster who is too busy building nests and running in her wheel to clean herself or should I be taking her to the vets in the morning. She makes me laugh and is so very friendly I would be very sad if something happens to her

Any suggestions of what it might be and what to do appreciated.
posted by wwax to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
 
I'd definitely be concerned about the wet tail, but overall it sounds like she is doing ok. I'd wonder if it was an environmental factor, particularly since she has new bedding this week. What kind of bedding is it? Could it be that some of the new kind of bedding you're using is still moist coming from the manufacturer?

Also, it is 'wont' not 'want'. This is all.
posted by arnicae at 7:45 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first thing I would do is call an emergency vet and tell them exactly what you told us here. Ask them if they think this needs attention, and if so, how immediately. They will not tell you it's an emergency if it isn't one, but they might err on the side of caution.

Feel free to ask for price estimates up front, and treatment options throughout, if you end up going. Ask them to explain things in more detail if you don't understand. Sometimes it also helps to tell them what you've read online and ask how much of it applies (or is accurate).
posted by juliplease at 7:49 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


She is running around her cage fine, eating heartily and drinking as normal and comes running up to take treats from me, her poops look normal like tiny small black pellets like a mouses poop.

It sound like she is currently in decent health. There are some wonderful hamster vets out there and it's worth it might be worht it for you to make an appoint with vet who does pocket pets (if you haven't already).

Keep an eye on her. If she starts to deviate from normal behavior (like shes starts walking funny, or is lethargic, has loose or her stools changes color, or she gets suddenly cranky with you and starts rejecting treats) you'll know that something is not right.

I think a good tool in monitoring your hamsters health might also be to weigh her (in grams) regualrly. Any sudden fluctuation in weight would probably also be a sign that she might be in poor health.

Good luck!
posted by 3T at 8:14 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


We're gonna need pictures. Cute cute pictures
posted by barnacles at 8:52 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I keep Syrians, not dwarves, but they're all still hamsters, right?

Long as she's eating, excreting, and behaving normally then I wouldn't be too worried - if her eyes are bright, fur is neat, skin isn't pinchy or sagging unexpectedly, that's all good. If the cage is getting dirtier or stinkier than usual, something's up with her output. Sick hamsters look sort of tousled and hunched, with ears close to their heads, and bodies curled in on themselves a bit.

Dwarfs are more susceptible to diabetes, which means increased urination. Put a mark on her water bottle with a dry-erase marker and see how much she goes through in a day to get a feel for her intake.

This one's just a shot in the dark - I only keep male hams to avoid Surprise Litters - but could it be that she's in heat, and, er, oozy?

Another longshot: is there anything new (treats, toys) that she could have cached in her hideout which may have stained her fur?
posted by cmyk at 10:54 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


How old is your hamster companion?

Mine, when I was 7 or so was acting fine except for a lesion near the base of her tail for two days or so, then it started scabbing over and overnight, she never woke up. She was definitely pushing 3 years, if not older.

I have no idea if it was an infection or rodent organ failure.

posted by porpoise at 11:00 PM on August 14, 2012


Thanks everyone for you suggestions. I have taken to monitoring her weight and tracking how much water she drinks. She still has the messy butt but it's no longer wet so I'm not sure what happened, but I will keep an eye on her and whip her off to the vet if it comes back again. She is still chipper and eating well, I am going to go back to her old bedding just in case.
posted by wwax at 8:17 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


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