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Gerbils & Hamsters/Hamster skin infection


Hi, I was wondering if anyone could help me giving me some info about what kind of treatment I should give my hamster, I live in a country where there are no vets that could give a correct opinion on my hamsters problem since they only treat cats, dogs, etc, no exotic animals... So the thing is my hamster Ziggy has a skin problem, which I believe is an infection, tho I don't know what caused it :c he lost fur on his belly and neck, and has some sort of scabs, the skin is a little swollen on his belly where the 'scabs' are (I don't know how to properly call it), I have no idea of what to do in this case, how should I clean his skin? which antibiotic should I give him? it's getting worse with time and seriously there are no special vets that could help him in my area :C I don't think it's mange or mites because I haven't seen him scratching, I don't know what to do please help me I'm desperate, thanks in advance!!!

Hi Alex

Thanks for your question.

I've had a look at the photos and these look like bites. Firstly I'm assuming that he lives on his own - if not I would suspect another hamster is biting him. I'm also assuming that he is a Syrian??

It is difficult to know what is going on.  Mites would be my first suspicion . Syrians can be treated easily with a drug that is applied external to the back of the neck. You can get hold of it online. The drug you would need is ivermec. Beaphar make anti parasite treatment that contains this but it is only suitable for Syrians and not dwarf hamsters. Read the instructions carefully.

In terms of the wounds you could apply a little salted water which should help prevent infection or you might be able to get teatree cream - available from chemists and pet shops - it is a natural antiseptic.

I would be tempted to review his bedding in case he's got some sort of allergy to that as some bedding/wood chip has oils added to them to make them smell better and these can cause skin irritation. For a week or two I would be inclined to just put in paper bedding although you will need to change it daily.

I hope this helps.


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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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