Gerbils & Hamsters/Pet hampster


My pet hampster has started scratching herself all the time & I don't know why. Any idea's please?

Hi Moira

Thanks for your question.

Hamsters can get mites - this is easy to treat in Syrians but difficult in dwarf hamsters. If your hamster is a Syrian then it is worth treating with an antiparisite medication. There are different brands but it must contain a drug called Ivermectin. It is a spot on drug that is usually applied on the back of the neck. If your hamster is a dwarf then this drug is too strong and you would need to get veterinary advice.

Another thing that can make hamsters scratch is if they are allergic to their wood chip so it might be worth trying different beddings.

I hope this helps you.


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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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