I'm involved with a robo dwarf hamster (she's technically my mom's) that has recently showed signs of having mites. She has severe hair loss and her skin has been red, and she's been scratching and licking/gnawing at certain areas. When we took her to the vet they said she has Sarcoptic Mites, aka Mange aka Scabies.
I think maybe I need to tell you what's been going on prior to this vet visit, although it's not strictly necessary. So, skip if you want. Well, we got Matilda (the hamster in question) around 1-2 years ago I believe, along with another robo dwarf named Hazel. Hazel died suddenly from something unknown around 3-6 months ago, and Matilda has been alone ever since. Since my mom thought that she would get more attention and played with more often at my girlfriend's apartment (my girlfriend and another friend of mine live around 45 minutes away) she ended up giving Matilda to them. Please also note that my other friend has had a cockatiel for something like 9 or 10 years, and yes they have been in close proximity as well as both girls handling one right after the other. Things seemed fine for around a month or so, and then I noticed that she had developed a small bald patch on her shoulder area. Figuring this was just from old age or stress, I didn't pay much attention to it. That was around 3-4 weeks ago. About a week ago, I took a look at her again and discovered that most of the hair on her (except for around her butt) was gone and she was very red and in one area had become raw. I decided to tell my mom over the phone (because I was staying at the apartment for the week) and she instructed me to take her to the vet and then bring her home. I took her to the vet with my girlfriend, and there the vet informed me that she had Sarcoptic mites. The vet actually let me look at the microscope to see the mite. He told me just to make sure I wash my hands and that I should keep her away from our dogs and things would be fine.
After coming home, my mom saw her and immediately became very upset. She started freaking out, saying that the scabies is incredibly infectious and that I probably have them and pretty much went off the deep end. After going through a couple of days of yelling at me and blaming me for the entire thing while we pretty much sterilized the entire house (and I'm consequently being quarantined to my bedroom with the hamster) she calmed down a little bit and showed me a picture of what the Sarcoptic mite is supposed to look like. The mite that I saw in the microscope was not what we've been seeing all over the internet. It didn't even really remotely resemble it other than being microscopic and not being a demodex mite. It had longer legs than what the Sarcoptic mite is supposed to have, and it didn't have tendrils coming off it. We've been searching for a while trying to find similar mites to what I saw, but any of the ones that look like what I remember seeing don't attack hamsters/mammals.
Another point to note, the vet did not inform me when I was there that Matilda likely has brain/internal organ damage (she has trouble staying upright and when she tips onto her back, she has a hard time getting back up. She also moves strangely and hasn't really been burrowing into her bedding) and instead opted to inform my mother over the phone the next day. We're really not sure if this vet has given us even a correct diagnosis.
We don't know what to do and we're half scared that at least I'm going to be infested with Scabies and we're afraid our dogs are going to catch them too. But, if the mite isn't Scabies, we don't have to worry so much about it being so infectious and we need to treat her appropriately.
The only thing I can think of to do is take her to another vet and get her re-examined and have them do another scraping, but the scraping we got before cost me $115 (and that was before the ivermectin shot and examination fee was added). We don't have this kind of money, so we're kind of trapped between a rock and an itchy hard place :(
Edited by zanshinwolf, 23 August 2010 - 05:53 AM.