Is Your Hamster Losing Fur? Causes & Treatment

There are quite a few reasons that your hamster could be losing its fur. They range from vitamin deficiency to mites, to old age. Regardless of the cause, it is vital to determine the reason behind the fur loss, and what can be done to combat it. When you are attempting to figure out the reasons behind the fur loss, it is easiest to start with the simplest explanation, then work from there.

hamster fur loss

5 Possible Reasons For Fur Loss

Friction

Rubbing against the cage or toys constantly, or excessive burrowing can cause friction-related fur loss. Also, pine or cedar based bedding and nesting materials have been known to irritate a hamster’s skin, which can result in fur loss.

Diet

A lack of protein or a lack of B vitamins in their diet can cause fur loss.

Parasites, Ticks, Fleas, or Mites

Any infestation could cause the fur to fall out, or incessant scratching at parasites could induce fur loss.

Routine Shedding/Moulting

It could be the regular molting for your pet.

More Serious Ailments

If you have exhausted all other options, it could be time to have your veterinarian perform some additional tests. It could be such ailments as T Cell lymphoma, kidney inflammation, hormonal imbalance, old age, or sarcoptic mange. Your veterinarian will be able to perform the necessary tests to diagnose the cause of the loss of fur.

Symptoms And Types Of Fur Loss

hamster loss hair

Patchy Fur Loss

Patchy fur loss is often a sign of infection in a hamster. If you notice patchy fur loss occurring, you should follow up with your veterinarian to rule out infection.

Bald Spots

In cases where bald spots are beginning to develop, it could be related to friction. If your hamster frequently rubs the area against its cage or toys, this is more than likely the case. Bald spots could also be a result of an injury, especially in cases where they live in overcrowded quarters.

Sarcoptic Mange

Mange is a condition that is brought on by mites. There will be hair loss around the face, and it will show signs of infection in the area as well. If you suspect that your hamster is afflicted with mange, see your veterinarian so that they can be treated with antibiotics and a topical shampoo to treat the mites that cause the mange.

Ringworm

Ringworm is usually evident by fur loss, dry skin accompanied by yellow flaking, and it will typically affect the body and ears of the hamster. Sometimes it is accompanied by a visible skin infection. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe an iodine shampoo and an antifungal topical ointment to rid your hamster of the parasite.

Demodex Mites

Hamsters can also be afflicted with the rat mite or Demodex mite. Some of the signs of this are excessive itching, red skin, skin infections from scratching, dry and flaky skin, or crusty skin. They can become infected with these mites from other hamsters but are more prone if they are living in dirty or overcrowded conditions.

This is also the case if the parasite is sarcoptic mange related mites, as mange can quickly become a serious condition that can result in death. Sarcoptic mange is usually evident by fur loss around the face, with visible signs of skin infection as well.

How To Treat Fur Loss In Your Hamster?

hamster bald

Depending on the type of fur loss your hamster is experiencing, there are specific steps that you can take to alleviate the fur loss.

For Friction Related Fur Loss

If your hamster is experiencing fur loss related to friction-related alopecia, ensure that your hamster is not in an overcrowded enclosure, or being bullied by other hamsters that it is sharing a living space with. Do not use cedar or pine based bedding or nesting materials in your hamster’s enclosure, as it will irritate their skin.

Vitamin Deficiency Related Fur Loss

If your hamster is suffering from a lack of protein or B vitamins, it could result in fur loss. If that is the case, you can supplement its diet with unsweetened cereal, cheese, eggs, wheat pasta, fruits, and vegetables. This should help to replenish the vitamins and ease the fur loss that is related to vitamin deficiency.

Parasite Related Fur Loss

If your pet is afflicted with a parasite, such as ticks, fleas, ringworm, or mites, it could result in fur loss. If this is the case, it is essential to treat the fur with a topical shampoo that is specially formulated to rid them of parasites. If it doesn’t rid them of the parasite, you may need to see your veterinarian obtain antibiotics to treat the parasite.

If they are infected with Demodex mites, they will need to be treated with a sulfide shampoo, and probably a topical drug as well. In addition, their bedding and living environments will need to be thoroughly cleaned. All previously used bedding and burrowing materials will need to be disposed of to prevent them from getting the mites again. After the shampoo, topical, and bedding change, your hamster should be free and clear from the mite.

Although getting rid of parasites is fairly simple in the case of hamsters, it is crucial to ensure that all bedding and living quarters are wholly cleaned with all old bedding and burrowing material thrown away, the enclosure completely cleaned, and the material replaced with new to ensure that the parasites aren’t reintroduced to the hamster after they have been treated.

Routine Shedding/Moulting

In the case of routine shedding, otherwise known as molting, you can assist in keeping your pet comfortable by combing the loose fur from them. However, this is simply going to need to take place naturally, so there isn’t any way to rush the process.

Other Health-Related Reasons

If it is determined that other health problems are causing the fur loss in your hamster, your veterinarian will be able to advise as to how you can ease the fur loss that is occurring. In the lymphoma cases, kidney inflammation, and hormonal imbalance, there may not be much that you can do to ease the loss of fur while your hamster is being treated for the underlying condition. Your veterinarian will be able to further advise on the fur loss.

Conclusion

Although your hamster may be simply losing their fur from friction or age, there is usually an underlying issue causing them to lose their hair. Check to be sure that you aren’t using any bedding or nesting material made of pine or cedar. These have been known to cause skin irritations in hamsters and have resulted in the loss of fur if not removed and replaced with material that doesn’t irritate their skin.

It could be a vitamin deficiency, which is very easy to correct by simply adding a few vitamin-rich foods to their daily diet, or in very extreme cases, by introducing a vitamin supplement to their diet.

In the most severe cases, T Cell lymphoma, kidney inflammation, or a hormonal imbalance could cause fur loss in your hamster. Your veterinarian will need these conditions to be diagnosed, and they could advise on the treatment that is necessary, or if there is no further course of treatment that can occur.

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