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Could this be ammonia burn?


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#1 cyinmin

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:31 AM

I hope someone can advise me if this is a sign of ammonia burn? My robo likes sleeping and he occasionally pees in the same spot too, but he has never had this skin problem in the past 18 months or so. Granted he is now older, 18-19 m.o. and is loosing fur, but this looks quite severe to me, and its getting more and more as the day goes by. I spot clean his sleeping area if I smell pee, and a full change every 3 wks. Been doing this since I had him (and another hamster in different bin) for the past 18-19 months.

I've been swabbing him alternate days with thyme tea.
The other day I tried to applied a small area with Manuka Honey but that was a bad idea as his other fur clumped a little with the honey and after a grooming session, that spot lost its fur :(

I tried taking a good pic but he's moving too much. I'll try again in clear daylight.
What I could see up close is some dark spots, but they do not move, so I'm wondering if those are his pores?

Nothing has changed in his diet, he is on a mix of semi soft diet for the past 2 months or so.. his regular pellets are softened, he gets his yogurt and veges and walnuts/pumpkin seeds mix.

Posted Image

I would really appreciate some advise re this, many thanks!!




#2 missPixy

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:44 AM

that's an odd place for ammonia burn, unless he consistently sleeps
on his back... this may be parasitical. do you see him scratching a lot?

the black dots are just freckles... many hamsters have these on their
skin, you just don't see them since they're normally covered with fur!

#3 cyinmin

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:33 AM

Well, I see he sleeps on his sides mostly but I don't doubt he has all sorts of sleeping positions, he sometimes sleep seated as well. And he does scratch quite a fair bit.. How can I treat it? He had some fur thinning before with the seasons changing throughout his years with me but they usually grow back. But now it's dropping so much more.. How can I treat his skin? He is not keen on me holding him..

#4 missPixy

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:47 PM

first, use a pencil to look at the bedding in his nest. turn over
the bedding pieces to see if you spot any mites... with this kind
of fur loss, you would easily see the mites in the bedding.

otherwise, this may be some kind of fungal issue. would you
say the humidity is high where you are? :scratchchin:

#5 cyinmin

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:57 PM

misspixy,

I checked his bedding, no sign of mites and I just did a complete cleanout and washed/dried his bin. Placed new carefresh and tissue paper again.
It's not humid here, on the contrary its very dry, Beijing in winter is horrible and I have to run 3 units of humidifier just to get the room's humidity to around 45-50%.

I'm still applying thyme tea on him, it actually looks like some baby fur is growing, but I cannot be sure, I'll take a closer look again tomorrow. Meanwhile, is there anyway I can avoid the vet for the possible fungal issue? We had a very bad experience with his last visit, and I dont want to stress him out further.
Thanks.

#6 missPixy

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:14 AM

no I agree if we can fix this without the vet, it will be better.
I've seen that in these vague skin/fur problems, vets will
typically start giving antibiotics, steroids, etc etc which
may suppress whatever is causing the problem; but as soon
as you stop the medications the problem comes back, with
the added problem of now the hamster's own natural
immune system has also been suppressed and weakened by
the medications.

do you add edible oils occasionally to his diet? for example,
a couple of drops of olive oil 2/3x a week with daily feed?

also what kind of veggies does he get? the thyme tea will
definitely help with any bacteria on his skin, plus help to
heal the skin. maybe we can proceed this way, refining
diet and keeping humidity constant for a couple of weeks,
to see if baby fluff fur can come through.

#7 cyinmin

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 05:18 PM

misspixy,

I just wanted to update that his fur has grown back! Slowly but surely! I no longer see his bare skin except his hairless tail :P, but the large missing patch of fur has grown :)
I still see some dry flakes/scabs on his sides though, but I swab them with thyme tea every now and then.

#8 emilystar

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:14 AM

Wow congrats; that's great! :)

#9 missPixy

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:04 AM

glad to hear some good news! :applause: :yes:

#10 cyinmin

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:47 PM

missPixy,

I hope you can shed some light on my robo. Although his fur has grown back, but underneath it all, are all scabs! Today I've applied some thyme tea to his skin, and also checked his whole body.. turns out his skin condition is getting bad.. I took some pictures of the scabs. Are these parasites related?
His bedding has been the same all along, carefresh.
He now 2 yrs old. I'm adding some olive oil as you suggested to his food mix. But how long before I start to see improvement on his condition?
Should I send this scab/skin samples to the vet for diagnosis? Would those medication affect his old age?

Thank you.

Here are the pics after I swabbed him with thyme tea, you can see the scabs. They are ALL over his body.
I also noticed one of his upper tooth is slightly longer than the other and is a little crooked. Is this something to be concern of?

His rear, and tail: Posted Image

The sides: Posted Image
Posted Image

Yoda munching:
Posted Image

Edited by cyinmin, 15 April 2012 - 03:04 PM.


#11 missPixy

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:00 PM

when the scabs come off, is there pink skin underneath?
or does he bleed? if it's pink skin, I suggest using a small
child's toothbrush to gently brush his body, in a circular
direction, to help loosen the scabs.

the scabs may be the end result of the bad skin crusting
off from what was there before you began treatment.

naturally if the scab loss is causing bleeding, don't do
this. and in that case, send to your vet.

keep an eye on his teeth, but his may have adjusted to
the angle so that they still gnaw down against each other.

#12 cyinmin

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 02:06 PM

Hi missPixy

His skin is pink underneath, so far no bleeding whatsoever. I have just swabbed him with thyme tea, not sure if its helping the situation or not. Should I continue?

I'm not sure we're up for the toothbrush thingy. Yoda my robo is extremely jittery and getting him to allow me to swab with thyme tea is already causing us both panic every time Posted Image

#13 missPixy

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:23 AM

if it's healthy pink skin underneath, that is usually a sign of
improvement. I wasn't sure how fidgety your robo might be,
that's why I recommended brushing gently. the scabs look
like they're forming in the areas where he had no fur.

#14 cyinmin

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:23 PM

I managed to check my hamster all over today, it appears that he has those scabs underneath his fur too, not only the bald spots before.
Some scabs are falling as he scratches it, but that also caused his fur to fall with the scab. He's going bald faster than I expected.
There's awfully lot of it around the nook of his ears, neck, arms/legs/tail. His underside is almost furless.. i'm guessing that comes with the old age?
Would applying olive oil directly to his skin help ? Or just leave it as it is?
I'm encouraging him to eat walnut and he licks off specks of Olive oil alternate days too.

#15 missPixy

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 12:13 AM

it sounds now that although the thyme tea cleanse helped
get rid of whatever was causing the initial fur loss, it's a
situation that comes back... means either environmental or
some kind of bacteria/parasite?

he's not scratching though nor has raw skin, so I rule out
parasites.

I can't remember, has he ever seen the vet for a fungal
treatment? or a skin scrape? still, I would like to know how
this is originating...

old age might have something to do with the fur loss on
his underside, but the scabbing... almost like psoriasis,
which is an auto-immune disease. and that is part of
aging.

this may only be manageable, and not curable... just
like human psoriasis. the good thing is that his skin isn't
raw/open which invites in bacteria.

however, some forms of psoriasis respond well to extra
biotin in the diet: egg yolk (without the white part); swiss chard,
and peanuts. possibly continue the thyme cleanse and add
some of these to his diet?

Edited by missPixy, 22 April 2012 - 12:17 AM.