Hamsters are small and delicate animals that can easily get diseases and infections. One of the dangers to the health of hamsters is the appearance of mites.
Mites are parasites that commonly occur in all animals including hamsters.
These parasites feed on the blood of the hamsters, the oils from the sebaceous glands,, and the dead cells of their skin.
Mites cause inflammation and redness of the skin itself and irritation.
Are mites dangerous for your hamster?
Most of the time, mites are not dangerous for your hamster because they can be destroyed by using dust sprays. It can only be dangerous for older and sick hamsters who are in poor health and can have side effects and fatal consequences for their health and life.
Yes, mites are dangerous for hamsters if they are not treated in time because their increase consumes the blood of the hamsters and can cause anemia and bacterial infection.
In today’s article, you will find out why mites appear, whether they are dangerous for hamsters, and how they are treated.
What exactly are mites in hamsters?
Mites are tiny parasites that attack hamsters and suck their blood, and settle on the skin and fur itself. Mites are common in hamsters whether your pet is healthy or sick.
As for their appearance, they are of different sizes, but they all have some things in common such as a long body, and eight short legs and they look like a small black or white dot.
There are several types of mites that hamsters can get:
- Notoedres muris
- Demodex criceti
- Demodex aurati
How do hamsters get mites?
Hamsters usually get mites when they are stressed or have some health problems. Hamsters actually have mites on their skin all the time, but with grooming, they clean and remove them.
The problem arises if the presence of mites on the skin of the hamsters increases because then they will not be able to clean them all and then it is already a problem that must be solved.
Hamsters can get mites if they are in direct contact with other animals that already have mites, this mostly happens when they are in a larger group in the stores where they are sold.
When one hamster has mites, it transmits them to another hamster through the following ways:
However, hamsters usually live alone in their cages, so the most common reason for them to catch mites is through:
- toys and other items
They can also catch mites if other animals approach their cage, such as infected cats. It is most dangerous when older hamsters catch mites because they already have a weaker immune system.
Older hamsters can easily get bacterial infections through mites, which can then be serious to their health and life.
How to recognize mites in hamsters?
Because the mites are very small, you will not be able to see them with the eye, they can only be seen under a microscope.
However, there are certain symptoms by which you will know that your hamster has mites.
Here are some of the symptoms of mites in hamsters:
- hair loss on the back and rear of the body
- more frequent itching with the body on the cage itself or from other objects
- skin inflammation
- the appearance of redness on the nose, tail, ears, and eyes
- the skin becomes red, and dry and peels easily
When hamsters have mites, they also change their mood, they start to be aggressive and get stressed because the mites start to cause them pain and a feeling of discomfort.
Can you see the mites on the hamsters?
It is a little more difficult to see the mites in hamsters with the naked eye because they are very small.
To try to spot mites on the skin of hamsters you need to wear a rubber glove to prevent them from being transferred to you, and then run your hand through the hamster’s fur itself and you will see small black dots.
Or take a clean piece of cloth and run it over the hamster’s skin and then check for black spots on the surface of the cloth.
If there are mites, they will move on the cloth, then put it somewhere safe, and then show them to a veterinarian so he can see them and determine which mites they are.
What damage do mites do to hamsters?
When the mites get to the hamsters they will cause hair loss on certain parts of their body.
In addition to hair loss, mites can also occur, which is an infectious condition that appears on the back and ears of hamsters.
Then the hamsters will be nervous and start scratching, which can cause damage to their nerves and greater consequences for their health.
Can mites kill hamsters?
Yes, mites can kill hamsters but that happens if the situation becomes too serious, in most cases hamsters successfully recover from mites.
Mites can be the most problematic for older and sick hamsters because they are not strong enough to fight off the health problems that mites can cause.
Another problem is that mites are very small and difficult to notice, and can worsen the condition and cause serious consequences for your pet.
How are mites treated in hamsters?
The sooner the mites are noticed, the easier it will be to cure the hamsters and continue to live without stress and discomfort.
Mites will not go away by themselves, they must be treated, because otherwise, they will multiply by laying eggs.
Especially if you have multiple hamsters then you will have to put them in separate cages and if one hamster has mites you will have to treat them all just in case.
Here are some steps you should take to get rid of mites in hamsters.
Consult a veterinarian
Whenever hamsters have mites, the most important thing is to consult a veterinarian first. The vet will examine the hamster and tell what drugs should be used to treat the mites.
With the examination, the veterinarian can see if it might be mites, or maybe it’s about some other problem with your pet.
Most often, veterinarians recommend using sprays and dust that are applied directly to the hamster’s skin.
In more severe cases of mites, an injected anti-mite treatment solution may also need to be used.
Using an anti-mite spray or dust
One of the best solutions for destroying mites in hamsters is pyrethrin, it is a spray that is toxic to mites, but not dangerous to hamsters.
Sprays and dust are great against mites, just shake it up and apply it to the area where the mites are on the hamster’s skin.
These anti-mite sprays are available at pet stores and can be purchased, but it is still best to consult a veterinarian first.
Clean up the environment around the hamsters
When hamsters have mites you have to clean the whole environment around the hamsters to get rid of them, it is not enough to treat the hamster against mites.
You should clean the entire cage with a disinfectant, as well as all objects and toys.
Although the hamsters will not like the cleaning because the smell they leave will be lost, this is still necessary to be able to destroy the mites.
Apart from the cage, you will also need to clean the furniture around the hamster cage, it is best if you do it with steam because it will destroy all the mite eggs.
To know if you still have mites in the environment of your room, leave a piece of dried fruit in a dark corner of the room, if there are still mites, they will appear as dots crawling over the food.
How to prevent the appearance of mites in hamsters?
Mites are a common occurrence in hamsters and it is a little more difficult to prevent them, but if you pay attention to some important things, it can be prevented.
Here are some steps to help reduce the chances of your pet getting mites.
Buy hamsters from reputable breeders
If you buy a hamster from a reputable breeder then there is less chance that the hamster will have mites.
Mites are most likely to appear when you buy them from local pet stores because they are kept there in inadequate conditions and poor nutrition.
Pet stores often have no record of the origin of the hamsters they sell, and it is impossible to know where they came from.
The cage should always be clean
The cage of the hamsters should be cleaned regularly to prevent the appearance of mites, although the hamsters do not want you to clean their cage because the smell they leave is removed.
Once a week you should clean the cage, change the bedding and wipe all objects and toys inside.
For cleaning, you can use a solution of white vinegar and water mixed in a ratio of 50-50, which will make an excellent disinfection of all objects.
Check your hamster regularly
Every time you play with your pet, check its skin to see if everything is okay.
Take care of the skin, and if you notice dry and flaky skin, it can be a sign of mites, because mites are hard to spot.
Other signs by which you will know that the hamster has mites are the following:
- shortness of breath
- fur without shine
- runny eyes and nose
If you notice these symptoms, it could mean that they have mites, so take him to the vet immediately for an examination.
Can mites live in hamster bedding?
Yes, mites can live in hamster bedding. Mites can also settle in the bedding, as well as in other objects in the hamster’s cage.
Since mites need animal skin, they cannot last more than 2-3 days in the hamster’s bedding.
If you notice mites in the hamster’s bedding, you should immediately change it, after disinfecting the place where the bedding itself stands.
Hamsters often get mites, it is a common phenomenon that is usually treated successfully without consequences for the hamsters.
Mites can be dangerous for older and sick hamsters who are in poor health and can face severe health consequences and sometimes be fatal.
Destroy the mites with sprays, and dust is mostly used and they are successfully destroyed.
The most important thing is to maintain the hygiene of the hamster’s cage and regularly check its skin for the appearance of tiny black dots that are actually mites.
If your hamster has mites, it is best to take your pet to the vet to have him examined to see if it really is mites.