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Sarcoptic Mange in Robo dwarf

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#1 zanshinwolf


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Posted 23 August 2010 - 05:50 AM

Hi there,

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 :(

Please help!

Edited by zanshinwolf, 23 August 2010 - 05:53 AM.

#2 VanillaTea


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Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:36 AM

Hmm...It does sound like the vet wasnt right but what if he was? Try going to a pet store. They can help you for free or cheap. They are VERY contagous so i wouldnt handle your hamster until your sure of what it has. I would also clean the cage with gloves. He could have manges. Google mange. What DID the parasite look like? It would help...
Hope your hammie gets better!!!

Edited by CutieHammieGurl, 23 August 2010 - 08:38 AM.

#3 missPixy


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Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:17 AM

ah yes i've unfortunately also been down this road. my dwarfs got
some kind of non-native-to-the-U.S. mites (i bought one dwarf
who had them, he gave them to everybody else).

first of all, it is a pain but it isn't unsurmountable. all you need is
Ivermectin, which you can buy online or else get from the vet.
you give your hamster one tiny oral drop of this, then dap her
body if you can see any on her.

you must then COMPLETELY clean out her house, as well as any
rugs in the vicinity. the mites i had did enjoy human flesh too,
and they would crawl on to me while i held my hamsters. so i
wound up dapping myself with the ivermectin, too! it really
freaked me out cause at first i didn't know they were crawling
on to me, then in the morning i'd have all these bite marks on
me like mosquito bites.

so anyway, after you do this with the ivermectin and clean out
the house, you don't have to do this for another 7 days. but
then you have to repeat the whole process again. hamster,
house, etc.

also you want to get some stuff to put on her skin so it can
heal. aloe vera gel is very good for this. you can find it at
whole foods, sometimes they even carry the actual leaf in
the produce section! if not, you have to buy PURE aloe vera
gel, the kind that doesn't have any fragrance or perfumes or
other ingredients. cause you'll be putting this on your robo's
skin, and she will most likely ingest some of it. it's safe, but
you don't want to buy some that has other ingredients in it.

as far as the "brain damage," a hamster can lose her balance
like that from 1) arthritis in the hips/ hind legs or 2) buildup
of ear wax pressing on the ear canal.

but if she's lost this much fur, then she must've lost a lot of
blood to these parasites, which is going to make her unstable.
you need to make sure she has plenty of fluids, you can use
bottled spring water like Poland Springs and an oral syringe.
give her a little at a time, through the side of her mouth. the
water will help re-hydrate her. you can also buy children's
plain Pedialyte at the market, this is a re-hydration solution
that will also help.

plus, buy some kale in the produce section of the market.
kale is full of vitaminK, and will help her start to build up
her blood again.

#4 Rabbit


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Posted 24 August 2010 - 01:35 AM

About aloe - if you can't find the leaf in your grocery store, take a look in the flowers/houseplants section. At least where I live, aloe plants are inexpensive and easy to care for, and there's no fresher source of aloe than straight from the plant.

Kale is great too. You might find your hamster likes to eat it, but if Matilda doesn't like it, you can try blending a small chunk with bits of something she does enjoy, like strawberries. You can give this to her through an oral syringe.