Gerbils & Hamsters/Dwarf hamster
Hi Sheila I have asked you questions in the past and have another one that you may have some idea on. I have just rescued a dwarf hamster. Unfortunately I have no idea of the critters past or age etc. She's very active and bites like she means it! I don't think she's ever been handled or if she has it wasn't in a positive way. I noticed that she over grooms her lower abdomen and there is no longer fur around her lower 4 nipples or anus. She has also chewed some of the fur off her upper back legs. I have had hamsters with mites in the past and I don't think that's what it is. The skin looks irritated but there are no pustules. The rest of the hamster has nice fur and she is not losing fur. She isn't particularly itchy. I also noticed a dark brown waxy substance on her scent gland on her belly. I didn't know if may be that could be blocked??? I'm hoping that the change in pine bedding to a nice carefresh (paper unscented) bedding might make a difference. She's difficult to handle, even with the fleece gloves, quite a little spitfire. I didn't want to poke at her too much and stress her out. I've just had her a week. Hoping she's not pregnant, but don't think so, I think she may be older but that's just a guess. I did have another hamster with similar issues a couple of years ago and she ended up getting tumors in that region; hoping it's not that. Any thoughts?? Thanks for your time.
It's good to hear from you - apologies for the long delay in responding.
Dwarf hamsters can be nippy - I've had some that I've never been able to handle properly.
Regarding her fur - I would suggest very gently squeezing her scent gland to see if any muck comes out of it. They can get blocked, and I've known some to infect and cause irritation. This area is prone to tumors, as you have found in the past, but hopefully it is nothing like this.
Dwarf hamsters are hard to treat for mites due to their tiny size and lack of medication available. Have you tried any natural ointments on her skin/fur? You could try teatree cream or aloe vera to see if this calms it down a bit and stops her scratching.
You are right about changing pine bedding as this can cause skin irritation due to the volatile oil it contains.
Hope this helps.