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Hair Loss in Hamsters

Alopecia in Hamsters

 

Much like in humans, hamsters suffer from alopecia, which causes the animal to have partial or complete hair loss. There are many causes for hair loss in hamsters, but it typically occurs on the face or around the tail and hindquarters.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Alopecia is extremely noticeable and is characterized as a varied or symmetrical hair loss. Patches with little or no hair may be seen, especially in the face and other parts of the body like the tail.

 

If the hair loss is due to ectoparasitic infestation (ticks, mites, etc.), the hamster may have severe itching and/or red skin. If it is due to nutritional reasons, the hamster may appear malnourished or have a dull coat. Difficulties urinating and hair loss, meanwhile, may be a good indicator of kidney problems.

 

Causes

 

The are many things that can lead to hair loss in hamster, including:

 

  • Rubbing on metal cage feeders or excessive burrowing (hair loss around the face)
  • Cage overcrowding, wounds from fighting, hair chewing by cage mates (hair loss around the tail and hindquarters)
  • Vitamin, mineral, or protein deficiency (general hair loss)
  • Ticks, mites, and other ectoparasites (hair loss due to excessive itching and rubbing)
  • T-cell lymphoma
  • Thyroid gland hormone imbalance and inflammation of kidneys (rare)

 

Diagnosis

 

The pattern and severity of alopecia is essential for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Your veterinarian may also recommend blood tests and a skin scraping examination to rule out other potential causes.

 

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