Gerbils & Hamsters/Disaster


Hi Sheila, me again! I rescued a hamster one week ago. It's a Russian Dwarf. There was something wrong with it's skin, it had been separated out from others at a pet store. I took it to the vet before bringing it home and have kept him in a separate room from the others etc. Basically in quarantine. I've been using a lab coat and gloves when I've handled him. I just got the lab results back and it's trichophytin (ringworm)! Holy cow I'm freaking out. The vet has mixed a topical solution I am to apply to him once a day every 4 days. I obviously can't dip him in it for fear of getting it in his eyes or ears or him ingesting too much. The vet suggested applying it with a saturated cotton ball, which sounds reasonable. Have you ever been in this situation???? Looking for any tips and a little hand holding :( Thanks for your time.


In all the years I've had hamsters I've never had one with ringworm, fortunately!

You are definitely doing all the right things with quarantining him, and wearing special clothes. I had to do this when I had an outbreak of wet tail with a new group of babies who arrived - you can't afford to pass it to any other hamster.

I think your vet's suggestion of using a saturated cotton ball is a good idea as I'm not sure how else you would apply this - I suspect you might need a second pair of hands to help hold him as hamsters (especially if they don't know you) don't like sitting still.

When holding hamsters I don't know I always tend to pick them up with my thumb towards their rear, so that their head is near the edge of my little finger - this way I avoid getting bitten - if you hold them the other way round your thumb and index finger are close to their head which is a recipe for disaster.  It might a good idea to try and hold him this way round (sitting him on your leg) so that you are also protecting his head from any of the solution getting into his eyes or up his nose. I'm not sure if this helps at all.

Good luck with this - you are doing a great job!


Gerbils & Hamsters

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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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