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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20548
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I think my hamster has "wet tail" and he seems to have

Customer Question

Hello I think my hamster has "wet tail" and he seems to have lost weight as well
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian & I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Now if you suspect Henry has wet tail, we need to tread with care. These wee ones just do not have much in the way of body reserves, which makes him a high risk for dehydration and why we are seeing weight loss already.

Now with wet tail, it is a bacterial infection and therefore we often need them on hamster safe antibiotics to clear this as quickly as possible. So, it is ideal to have Henry to his vet at this stage.

Further to antibiotics, we do want to start supportive care for him. In regards ***** ***** we usually try to increase the fiber in their diet as this can bulk up feces. There are OTC probiotic/fiber products for pocket pets at most vets and pet stores or you can try adding a bit of canned pumpkin or weetabix to his food to get more fiber into him. As well, we need to keep a close eye on that appetite in general. If it is waning at all, then I would suggest using a calorically dense diet like Oxbow’s Critical Care feed for anorexic pocket pets or Supreme Recovery diet.These are highly nutritious herbivore feeds that can be easily made into a slurry for syringe feeding. Or as a temporary food, you could also crush his pellets into veggie baby food to also feed.

Furthermore, one of the biggest problems with wet tail is secondary dehydration from the diarrhoea. Therefore, we need to make sure he keeps drinking well.As well, you can encourage him to drink by offering fresh water or a paediatric electrolyte solution (low sugar fruit flavours work best) or diluted Gatorade (50% diluted with water). These will help replenish electrolytes and get some glucose into his system. You can also give these via dropper of syringe if he isn't drinking well. A typical dose for animals is 4.8mls per 100 grams of body weight per day (obviously divided over all day drinking). This is just an average but will give you an idea of how much fluid he should be taking in over the course of a 24 hour period and give you a point to work from. We'd ideally want to offer that plus an amount to match the fluid loss in his diarrhoea.

Finally, we need to help keep wee Henry warm, to spare his body from needing to use energy to do so. Consider covering 3 sides of his cage to keep the warmth in. As well, as long as he is mobile, you can put a heating pad under half of his cage to give him a warm area if he wishes. You could also even put a warmer around his cage. Just to note, you can make a safe warmer by filling a clean sock 2/3rds full with uncooked white rice. Tie it closed and microwave (approx 1-1.5 min). Make sure to shake to allow the heat to distribute before use. (If it cools, you can re-warm as required).

Overall, wet tail can be a very serious issue for our wee hamsters. And if Henry is already losing weight, then we need to tread with care. So, we'd want to use the above supportive care but also consider having him seen to confirm his situation and get treatment to clear this for him.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thankyou for your advice, only money being a bit tight, I am unable to pay consultation fees and medication fees our local vets charge. Is there something I can buy from a reputable pets medicine site that will be cheaper?
Linda
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Linda,

I am afraid that in our country there are no over the counter antibiotic options that we can use. As well, legally antibiotics can only be dispensed by a vet that has physically examined Henry. So, if that is the case, we need to start that supportive care now and potentially pick up a Protexin fiber supplement from the vet or pet store (it is over the counter, so there should be no issue there). Otherwise, I can only suggest that RSPCA can aid situations where there are financial concerns (PDSA as well, but they do require that you are on benefits). In regards ***** ***** RSPCA, you can find your local RSPCA hospital or branch (who may be able to subsidize care) via http://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/yourlocal

Please take care,
Dr. B.

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