Gerbils & Hamsters/hamster


What's wrong with my hamster? I'm not sure what type of hamster he is but he is about 1 year old. His neck is completely bare of fur like its been scratched out and his eyes are watery and barely able to open. He seems very fragile and weak but he is still able to move around a little bit.

Hi Sharon

Thanks for your email. I'm sorry to hear about your hamster. He does sound very ill.

The bald neck and scratching could be due to mites. However the fact that he seems fragile and weak concerns me.

If he is a Syrian then treating mites  is relatively easy with a drug called ivermectin which is applied on the back of the neck. However if your hamster is a dwarf then it is much is harder to treat mites as the dosage is difficult to calculate.

I would suggest getting a vet to examine him as mites shouldn't make the hamster frail. All hamsters have mites but they get overrun with them if their immune system is compromised so it sounds as though there is something else going on and without seeing him it is impossible to know what is wrong.

I hope you get on ok.


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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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