Hamsters – Ten Steps to Combating Wet Tail

If, based on the signs and symptoms listed below, you think that your hamster may have wet tail, then you must take your pet to vet within 24 hours of the disease onset, or it is likely that your hamster will die.

Look at your hamster. Observe its behaviour. Do you notice any of the following?

• My hamster has stopped washing and grooming. It’s hair is stringy and greasy-looking

• My hamster’s eyes are sunken in, and they are no longer shiny

• My hamster is not sitting up normally. It looks hunched over.

• My hamster is not its usual spunky self

• My hamster has wet poop all over his rear end

If you notice these signs – especially that last one – then the first thing you need to do is to contact your vet right away. Once you have an appointment set up, then you can provide some first aid to your hamster.

The second step, then, is to remove all fresh food from your hamster’s cage. Don’t provide him with any more until after you meet with the vet.

Third, prepare an area to work. It is best if you cover the work area with old newspapers or other material that is easy to discard. You should also put on rubber gloves.

Fourth, get some damp cotton balls or cotton swabs ready.

Fifth, use the damp cotton to clean up your hamster. Wipe away the wet poop from its posterior (rear end) and from his fur. If you have a long-haired hamster, you may just want to cut away the fur. This will make your pet a little more comfortable and reduce the spread of infection.

Sixth, return the hamster to the cage.

Seventh, clean up the work area, putting all the dirty cotton into plastic bags.

Eighth, wash your hands.

Ninth, sanitize your hands and sanitize the work area. You can use a UV sanitizing light for this, or you can wipe it down with alcohol.

Tenth, wash and sanitize your clothes. Use hot water, peroxide or bleach, and use high heat in the dryer.

One of the bacterium species known to cause wet tail in hamsters is Clostridium difficile.It can also infect humans, so cleaning yourself, the work area, and your clothing will prevent it being spread to you.

Once your hamster receives treatment at the vet, you will want to return him to a clean and sanitized cage. To clean the cage, you should take all the same precautions that were listed above.

This is not a job for small children. If Clostridium difficileis the cause of the wet tail in your hamster, then you must take care that it does not spread to you or your family.

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