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Sendai Virus Infection in Hamsters

Parainfluenza Infection in Hamsters

 

An infection with the highly contagious Sendai (SeV) virus results in pneumonia-like symptoms and even death in the case of some hamsters. However, there are also some hamsters that have the contagion but do not display any ill effects; these are called carriers.

 

Also known also as the parainfluenza virus, treating this type of viral infection can be very costly and impractical. In addition, bacterial infection can occur concurrently with the SeV infection. Therefore, your veterinarian might administer antibiotics as well as initiate fluid therapy to help the hamster recover.

 

Symptoms

 

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sudden death (in some instances)

 

Causes

 

This infection is caused by the Sendai (parainfluenza type 1) virus; it is spread from one hamster to another by sneezing or coughing. Although some hamsters may only be carriers of the virus and show no ill effects, stress and/or the administration of anesthesia may initiate adverse reactions. This occurs more often in young hamsters or those with weak immune systems.

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian might suspect a SeV infection by observing the symptoms exhibited by the infected hamster. To confirm the diagnosis, however, a veterinarian must conduct several laboratory tests on the hamster, including blood analysis.

 

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