Wet Tail in Hamsters: What Does It Mean

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Feeding and caring for our pet is our responsibility as a pet owner. It is our duty to ensure that your hamster is 100% healthy all the time. But there are times that we can’t avoid that our cute little hamsters will get sick. One of the health condition that we must be very aware and be careful of is the Wet Tail.

First of all, what is wet tail and why should we be careful of this? This health condition is a very serious and deadly condition which is very common in young Syrian hamsters that is under 12 weeks old. Other hamster species and ages can also get wet tail but it is most common to young Syrian hamsters. Wet tail is a fatal illness that can cause a foul smelling watery diarrhea, extreme dehydration, discomfort and death.

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What Are the Causes of Wet Tail?

It is very important to know what the causes of wet tail is in order to prevent future outbreaks. Be aware that wet tail is a contagious disease to other hamsters. There are also some rare cases for humans and other animals having an upset stomach after handling hamsters with wet tail. Therefore, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your sick hamster and also quarantine them in rodent cages to provide protection from other animals if you have multiple pets in your house.

  • Stress. It is the most common cause of wet tail. It is either the time when the young hamster parted with their mother or the time you got the new hamster and brought it to their new home. It may also the time where your hamster suffered a trauma from your other pets at home or even living in a noisy environment can cause stress to the little hamster. Mishandling a hamster will cause stress.
  • Bacteria in their stomach. Bacterial overgrowth in the hamster’s stomach is another cause of wet tail. Either the food that they ate are dirty or rotten or just not good enough for a hamster to eat. These bacteria in their stomach causes unpleasant symptoms and a very foul odor.
  • Dirty living environment. A hamster living in a place that is like a dumpster will surely get sick. That is why it is important that the hamster’s cage is clean in order to avoid wet tail. The bacteria buildup in the dirty environment together with dirty food will get the hamster sick.
  • Medicinal issues. If your hamster got sick before and requires antibiotics, that medicine may lead to wet tail at some cases as it causes an upset stomach to them.
  • Acquired from another hamster. If there is another hamster in which you are not aware of that has wet tail and your other hamster have acquired the illness because as it was mentioned before, wet tail is a contagious disease.
  • Other health problems. It is also a possibility that other health problems have led to wet tail.

Symptoms of Wet Tail

One of the important things to do is to familiarize the symptoms of wet tail so that in case your hamster shows early signs of wet tail you can get them treated as soon as possible in order to avoid getting things worst for your hamster. It is a must and also your responsibility to get your hamster to the veterinarian immediately and get treated before it is too late.

  • Watery diarrhea that may have spread throughout the cage. Check the cage corners or where your hamster usually do their potty.
  • A very dirty bottom or having their tail wait, thus getting the name of the disease. Their bottom may be very brown or black and sticky and also very smelly.
  • A very foul odor. This disease smells really bad. If ever your hamster smells so worst than it usually is then the best thing to do is to get immediate medical help.
  • Loss of thirst and appetite. A hamster that is not well hydrated will lead to dehydration which causes death to the hamster.
  • Hamster sleeps a lot and less physical activities or looks really weak. The hamster usually is unable to walk properly.
  • Dirty coat. Healthy hamsters spend a lot of time cleaning their coat. If its coat is dirty or ruffled or unmaintained, seek medical help as soon as possible.
  • Infections. There might be some discharge on the hamster’s ears or genitals.

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Wet Tail Treatment

There is only one way to treat wet tail since it is a fatal disease and it is by getting the prescribed antibiotics for the hamster by the veterinarian. There is no natural remedies for wet tail. A hamster left waiting to be cured by natural remedies will surely die of wet tail. Not even proper food diet can cure wet tail. Not even rest. A hamster is not like us humans in which sometimes we just rest and we get cured.

It is very important to quarantine your hamster after having it treated with antibiotics so that other pets won’t get sick. It is also important to wear gloves when handling and feeding the sick hamster. The hamster while getting treated should be kept in a silent, warm room that is not in direct contact with sunlight so that it can rest stress free. Make sure to keep the hamster hydrated either by using a syringe or a dropper to force feed your hamster.

Monitor your hamster all the time and make sure to not miss a dose of antibiotics.

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