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Gerbils & Hamsters/Winter white loss of fur infection


QUESTION: Hi Shelia,

My one-year-old Winter White developed a sticky lump in her ear and a small bald patch below. I took her to the vet who prescribed a 10-day course of oral and topical antibiotics. She seems to be improving slowly, and shows no sign of distress, and is eating and playing happily. Her fur, however, around the infection looks a little greasy, and I am wondering if this will improve and if I can do anything for this? Any suggestions would be most helpful. Thanks.



Thanks for your question.

I'm pleased to hear that your hamster is showing signs of improvement having taken the antibiotics.  Until the infection has cleared up I would be tempted not to do anything about the greasy skin especially as you are applying antibiotics to it.  Once the infection is cleared and there is no sign of soreness/open skin etc. then if her fur looks greasy you could let her have a dust bath.  If you get a low level dish and buy some of the chinchilla dust from pet shops she might like to roll around in this, but until it is safe to do this I would avoid it as you don't want anything getting into an open wound.

I hope this helps you.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Many thanks for your advice. Another question I meant to ask was whether I could possibly add some Beaphar or similar liquid vitamins to the water bottle, as someone else mentioned, as a daily supplement. Any use?

Best wishes and thanks again.


Hi Tim

Giving a daily supplement in the water bottle won't do any harm as it may help to boost the immune system.  

What foods are you feeding her?  It might be a good idea to give a little baby food for a while - I use the powdered creamy porridge oat variety and mix this with a little water for any of mine who are unwell or elderly.  It is full of nutrients and easy to digest.  It is important to give her the usual dry mix too so that she has something to grind her teeth on.  You could also give a seed mix of linseed, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin - these are really good for them as they help them regulate sugar and are full of omega oils.  It won't harm to add this to her daily diet for a while too.


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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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