Hamster Mites

Hamsters 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.

Symptoms include scratching/itching, sore spots, loss of fur.  Mites can be nearly impossible to see, but it is sometimes helpful to check for them by using a flashlight in a darkened room.  Rubbing a white paper towel on your pet can also produce results.  Look for tiny black specks that move when  you disturb the fur with your finger or a paper towel.  (Fleas are another parasite that can have the same symptoms, but fleas are larger and much easier to spot than mites.)  If you simply cannot be certain, contact your veterinarian and have him examine your pet for confirmation.

Treatment consists of an anti-mite spray that is designed for birds and small animals.  This is an over-the-counter compound and can be purchased at most pet stores.  Make sure that you cover and protect your hamster’s eyes while you are using the spray to treat him.  You must also remove all bedding from your hamster’s cage and wash the cage well.  Spray the cage well with the anti-mite spray according to the directions on the packaging.

At the first sign of mites, quarantine the affected hamster in order to keep the mites from spreading.  Keep him in a separate cage and also a separate room.  Do not reintroduce him back into the general population until after you are completely sure the hamster is free of mites.  (If the hamster is away from the other hamsters long enough, you may have to take care and slowly reintroduce him back into the general population.)

It is important to find the source of the contamination.  Check any unused bedding for mites, and if in doubt, dispose of it and purchase a new bag of bedding material.  Check food sources and other hamsters.  If you have recently purchased your hamster, notify the store where you purchased him.  If you find that you have bedding or hay that has been contaminated, contact the retailer where you purchased it and let them know about it.  This will help them control the outbreak.

Finally, do not be concerned about “catching” mites from your hamster.  Mites do not care for humans – they much prefer animals with fur – but basic precautions, such as hand washing, are always a good idea.

14 Comments on "Hamster Mites"

  1. Roseline | 18/02/2012 at 6:25 pm |

    Hi there,
    my hamster has bold legs just on the front.I’m wondering if he has mites but I can not see any bugs or spiders or anything.I do a health check every day.I do not wake him up all the time,at all really.

  2. My hamster fur had gone a yellowish colour and are in large clumps in a certain area in her fur I’m not sure how she could of got them but l do you wood shavings should I change a different bedding such as care freash ? Will this help in anyway ? Please reply I really do care and love my Syrian hamster and would be really grateful to have a answer to this problem it may not be mites but I would wish it not be but if so I guess I have to deal with this situation ….

  3. Hi. My darwf hamster is very red on his back and loss of furr. He has been itching what should I do to treat this. With out going to the vet?

  4. Hi our hamsters have red bugs,crawling and now their making us itchy

  5. My hamster has also been losing fur. I am just brushing her over with a wet brush every day.

  6. Do hamster mites affect cats as I’ve just got a cat 🙂
    And do mites live on household furniture?
    Many thanks.

  7. HI! My hammy is loosing fur just around his head/neck and then it regrows….. but then he looses it again! I am really frustrated and worried, as I am really hoping it is not mange!? But i have not seen any bugs….. Please reply if you know what it is. Thanks!

  8. Last week I noticed two like scars on my hamster and it has now got bigger covering his tummy,on his back and near his eye it really smells as well

  9. One of our hamsters had a black looking thing on her back, now it is off and looks like a open sore. She is very active and is eating. What is this and what do I do about it without taking it to a vet?

  10. I’m thinking of getting a hamster and I am really scared if getting sick and throwing up to then point were I go to therapy for it!! If I was to get a hamster would it make me sick ?

  11. hello, my dwarf hamster is being treated for mites, I bought the mite spray that is for birds and have been spraying him and disinfected his cage. how fast will we see improvement if we indeed have gotten rid of them? he appears to have lost more hair so I don’t think we have gotten rid of them. He hates it when we spray him and tries to get the spray off. feel bad for the little guy.

  12. I have seen red bugs on my hamster is it mites and how do I get rid of them they also get on me and make me itch

  13. My hamster is being treated for mites by an exotic vet. Hamsters need Veterinary care to cure mites. Over the counter fixes don’t kill the mites.

    My Churro had a shot at the vet (needs a follow-up 14 days after) and drops that I give him twice a day for 10 days.

    Mites are no joke. The full treatment is $150. Yep almost 10Xs what I paid foe him. He’s officially our fur baby so I didn’t see any other option 🙁

  14. Our two hamsters got into a fight one is older than the other one. But the older one bite the younger one ear almost off . They are now in there own cages . What do y’all think i should do to help the little baby’s ear .

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