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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 24208
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My Russian dwarf hamsters is 2 years old has lost all his hair

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My Russian dwarf hamsters is 2 years old has lost all his hair round his rear end and is his hair is thinning up to halfway up his back. He is still eating and drinking but let's me handle him which is unusual. I cannot see any mites on his body. What could be wrong with him? Thank you.

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

How long has your lad had these signs?

Does he live on his own?

What do you feed him?

Any changes to his skin (ie ulcers, scabs, crustiness, scaly skin, lumps, pimples, sores, redness, etc)?

Are you seeing him grooming, itching or scratching at all?

Does the balding areas's fur feel rough (like straw) when you rub the fur backwards?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Had hair loss about 2 weeks. Feed him on hamster food and occasional treats, like choc drops or biscuit type fruit pieces.He lives . On his ow, I clean his cage once a week. There has been no change in his bedding. Cannot feel rough parts and cannot see any ulcers or sores.

Thank you,

One more wee question, since you haven't answered above :

Are you seeing him grooming, itching or scratching at all?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry, he seems to be grooming as normal, can't really say if he US scratching more than normal.

Thank you again,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, we can see hair loss in the hamster for a range of reasons. This is why your lad's additional history is so important because it allows you and I to tease out further information and rule out potential causes. Now the reason why his grooming/itching habits are key is because the most common issues for hair loss will involve itching. This includes our bacterial infections, parasites (like mites), a number of nutritional issues, and allergies (which are less likely if he hasn't had a change in bedding). So, if he isn't itching any more then normal and there are no changes to the skin, then these would be lower on our list of concerns for your wee one.

Instead, we would have to consider causes for non-pruritic (non-itchy) hair loss. And your notation of his hair not feeling rough at the edges of this are, do further fit with the skin diseases in this group (since we get rough, broken hairs with itchy hamsters + hairs falling out with other diseases). With this all in mind, we would have to consider causes like ringworm (which often causes crusting but not always), and more sinister internal health issues with secondary hair involvement like hormonal disease and organ failure. Specifically, we'd need to be concerned about tumors in the adrenal glands, a thyroid gland imbalance, and problems with the kidneys. And as I am sure you can appreciate, if this little one will let you handle him, then this suggests a serious issue is getting him down and would make us most concerned about those internal issues.

Now in regards ***** ***** narrowing of our list of concerns, we will be limited with what you at home for these. You can potentially collect a urine sample (by putting him in a bedding-free cage until he gives you a sample) to have tested for kidney issues. Otherwise, we'd have to consider whether we'd want his vet evaluate him to see if they can palpate any hints of masses in his abdomen, check for ringworm, +/- check a blood sample to rule out these other hormonal concerns. That said, even if we do have these checked, hamsters are not often successfully treated for these conditions.

Overall, in regards ***** ***** question, hair loss of the hamster can be triggered by a range of issues. That said, in your wee one's non-itchy hair loss situation, we wouldn't be worried about mites but instead would be concerned about other internal issues or an atypical ringworm infection. Therefore,in this case, you could consider having a urine or blood sample checked by his vet. But if he is otherwise eating, drinking, and active; then you may consider just letting him continue as he is as long as he is comfortable.

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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