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My hamster keeps scratching a spot

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#1 Okiwent

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

My hamster keeps scratching a spot on her left code and it is completely bald almost. I've checked for fleas and came out empty... What might be wrong with her? Could she be stressed?




#2 Harveyandmilo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:13 AM

Hmmm...

Well this could be a number of things. She could be having an allergic reaction to something in her cage ex: bedding. Have you switched the bedding lately or switched food anything like that? Also how big is your hammies cage because if it doesn't meet the 360 sq. in. minimum recommended by the forum then it could be that she is bored and basically can't find anything else to do.  If it's not related with any of these things I mentioned above then I would think some type of mites would be the cause but if you've already checked then hmmm...



#3 jess32247

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:19 AM

My hamster Hilly is having fur loss and going bald as well- quite a few things have been discussed in the thread I made (click here) that might relate to your hamster itching to badly. Hilly isn't scratching herself, but in my thread, people explain things like ringworm, mites, mange, and fungal/skin infections- maybe you can get some use out reading through it.

 

Can't help much- I really hope she's alright. :sad:



#4 Okiwent

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:29 AM

So possibly just try to go to the vet? And my bedding for her was switched 3 months ago to cotton, I think thats whats the problem, and shes a wild little hamster, so nothings really wrong with her I suppose, if all else fails, Ill bring her to the vet. And I hope your hamster feels better jess D:



#5 Harveyandmilo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:33 AM

That could be the cause.  Might be kind of hard to believe since it was 3 months ago haha.  I think that you should monitor her over the next few days and then make your decision based on if her condition has worsened, stayed the same or improved.



#6 jess32247

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:35 AM

Cotton shouldn't be used for bedding- it's very dangerous stuff. :/ I would change it as soon as possible, as it can easily get wrapped around her paws and even cut off circulation to her limps if it tangled around her tight enough. Not to mention, if she were to pouch it, she could get it stuck on her teeth and choke on it- deffiently not nice stuff to use. It sounds like she's been quite lucky with it so far, which is more luck then my past hamsters have had with it. I would always find the stuff wrapped around there paws when they first woke up- luckily, it never got *too* tangled on them, but I did have a few scares when it wouldn't come off as easily as it should of. I hope you make the right decision and switch to a better substrate and nesting materiel. :/

 

Your info says your in the US, so you shouldn't have to much trouble finding a safer bedding to use. smiley.gifPlanet Petco Aspen, Carefresh, and Kaytee, Clean & Cozy are just a few safe options you can use- my hamsters really seem to love them! I personally soft bedding (Carefresh and C&C) in the nest and aspen in the rest of the cage. Also- how often are you cleaning the cage?

 

But yes, if it were me, I would try to get to the vet just to be on the safe side. I wish I had planned for the vet sooner then I did with Hilly- she's still having steady fur loss and looks balder each day, the vet appointment is so far away on Monday. :/


Edited by jess32247, 20 July 2013 - 10:41 AM.


#7 Harveyandmilo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:39 AM

The best option would be to switch her to carefresh or aspen and get rid of the cotton.  A replacement for the cotton is toilet paper which your hammy will use for her nest box.  It is much safer than the cotton.



#8 Okiwent

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:00 AM

Oh not like cotton balls, I mean its strips of paper mixed with a cotton feel (We got her it for the winter, we lost power for a few weeks and we had to keep her warm, so we switched to this ever since, and shes loved it)


I clean the cage mondays, wednesdays, and fridays, not on the weekends though. Nice and clean :D



#9 Harveyandmilo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:00 AM

Was this like DIY bedding or a certain brand? If it's a brand can you let me know what it is so I can look at it online?



#10 Okiwent

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:04 AM

The brand is Kaytee: Clean and Cozy.



#11 jess32247

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:04 AM

Oh- so sorry then! xD 

 

Do you do a full clean three times a week? Or are those spot cleaning days? Full cleans are stressful for hamsters, so stretching them out for as long as you can is a good idea. I can usually go a month or two between full cleanings with my big cages, but smaller cages typically need to be sterilized more often. Spot cleanings are wonderful for keeping the cage clean and not wasting good bedding- and the ham doesn't get stressed! :D

 

I'm totally derailing the thread with these questions, I'm sorry! About the itching question- does she have flaky skin? Or little white specs attached to her skin in the area she's itching in? Does she have wounds/cuts in the area?



#12 Harveyandmilo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:10 AM

I'm sorry as well! That brand looks just fine to me.

 

Oh- so sorry then! xD 

 

Do you do a full clean three times a week? Or are those spot cleaning days? Full cleans are stressful for hamsters, so stretching them out for as long as you can is a good idea. I can usually go a month or two between full cleanings with my big cages, but smaller cages typically need to be sterilized more often. Spot cleanings are wonderful for keeping the cage clean and not wasting good bedding- and the ham doesn't get stressed! cheesy.gif

 

I'm totally derailing the thread with these questions, I'm sorry! About the itching question- does she have flaky skin? Or little white specs attached to her skin in the area she's itching in? Does she have wounds/cuts in the area?

 

 



^^^^ I think jess32247 knows what she is talking about from here I am out of ideas! other than any mites or anything but if you have check for that already then hmmm...

Edited by Harveyandmilo, 20 July 2013 - 11:11 AM.


#13 Okiwent

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:21 AM

I do a full clean 3 days a week :P Bedding is some money, but it keeps her happy. She does not have any dry skin, so she must be bored, and nor cuts or wounds. and its okay :P Ill buy her a new toy to keep her busy. If shes still itching, Ill bring her to the vet if all else fails, shes a very energetic snowball, :D so shell be playing with the new toy alot :P



#14 jess32247

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:47 AM

Hmm.. out of curiosity, can I ask why you do a full clean three times a week? She could very well could be scratching herself because she's stressed with all the commotion and confusion. Hamsters mark there cage with scents we sometimes (or usually, depending) can't smell. Syrians have scent glands on here hips, most dwarfs have it on there belly I believe- so removing that scent and completely changing around her cage is like being thrown into a entirely different home for her. Hamsters aren't like us in that we can recognize our house by just looking at it- they rely on smell the most, as there eyesight is very bad, so ridding it of one of the few things they're familiar with can really disturb them. She probably doesn't feel comfortable in her cage as she isn't in there long enough to "claim" it and familiarize it as her own.

 

Couple questions- do you clean the cage because it smells? I've found Clean & Cozy doesn't absorb or hold smell very well, so the cage starts to get stinky pretty fast without regular spot cleaning. And how much bedding are you using? Again, I've found 3"+ of bedding actually does hold in quite a bit of smell as it takes longer for the area to soil. If you used 3" of bedding in a 360" square inch cage/tank, I would imagine you go through bedding very fast, which is quite.. impractical.

 

If you don't mind, can I make a suggestion? Try cleaning the cage every other week and spot cleaning (taking out any soiled bedding and leaving in the clean stuff) every few days and see how she reacts. I have a feeling that her horrible scratching will stop (if it's not any sort of fungus/parasite) if you clean less often- that kind of scratching can be a form of self injury. Both my hamsters get extremely stressed during cage cleanings, so I purposely stretch it out for as long as I can for there sake, not mine.  I also like to throw a couple handfuls of old/dirty bedding in when I cage the clean to help them recognize the cage as there own, just to help them familiarize it as a safe place. smiley.gif


Edited by jess32247, 20 July 2013 - 12:08 PM.


#15 Okiwent

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:21 PM

I clean to get the smell out, but ill try out your advice, but ive done this ever since I got here in january, and she hasnt started scratching this baddly until sometime in june. But ill try your advice to see if she stops. Thank you :D