Hamster Wet Tail: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Most hamster owners have heard of the horrible disease Wet Tail, which is described as extremely lethal for the fluffy. Still, they do not know about any detailed information about it. Therefore, I will thoroughly introduce the disease, including what the wet tail is, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.

hamster wet tail

What on earth is the Wet Tail?

Wet tail is the popular name of Proliferative Ileitis, a common disease for many animals, especially pigs, but not human beings.

The disease is caused by Lawsonia intracellularis, which parasitizes in the intestinal cells, so that the infected cells would fail to mature or complete fission process, and finally trigger a series of physical disorders.

The danger of the disease lies in its high possibility of death and its infectivity among different individuals. Thus, we should be extremely cautious about the disease. 

Symbolic symptoms of wet tail

  1. Diarrhea

Diarrhea caused by wet tail disease is very different from the mild, common one, usually aroused by bad food or taking in too much water.

The feces of pathological diarrhea have three features: soft, grey or white, and stink badly. The feces will mix with the fur of their tail and make the tail wet and dirty. This is the most obvious symptom, and that is why the disease is known as a wet tail.

  1. Loss of appetite

You may find that your fluffy almost stop eating anything. The disease itself can lead to a decrease in appetite. Still, there is also another possibility that your fluffy has lost all his strength to make it to his food bowl because of dehydration brought by diarrhea.

  1. Bowing the back

Because the poor little one’s anus is extremely uncomfortable, he would tend to arch his back no matter when he is moving around or sitting, in order to keep his ass away from the ground.

  1. Hematochezia or Rectal Prolapse 

These are all complications brought by serious diarrhea. It only occurs when your fluffy is seriously ill, and unfortunately, these symptoms basically indicate the upcoming death of your hamster.

The consequence of the disease

The harm is obvious. Normally a hamster infected with this disease will die within 48 hours after these symptoms mentioned above showing up.

There is little chance that our fluffy could survive the illness, and even they make it, their life span will be largely shortened. For the rest of his life, he will be continuously bothered with digestive system diseases.


How to prevent wet tail?

Unfortunately, so far, NO way can entirely avoid the infection of the disease. But the good news is, we do know the reason why our fluffy gets infected.

As I have mentioned above, the disease is caused by one kind of bacteria, which prefers to parasitize in physical bodies with lower immunity. As for our pet hamsters, the main reason contributing to the decreasing immunity is too much stress from the surrounding environment. Therefore, the first principle to prevent wet tail is to make your fluffy relaxed and comfortable.

Below are several useful tips:

  1. Leave him alone

Understandably, you are curious about everything when you first get your fluffy home. But please give him time to acquaint with the whole new living environment. The wet tail disease is also known as “shipping fever” for hamsters, indicating that they are more likely to infect the disease after transporting.

Therefore, leave the hamster alone for more than one day until he gets familiar with his new home before trying to hold him.

  1. Keep the daily routine on a schedule.

Sudden change in the hamster cage will also cause serious terror and stress for hamsters, so try to do the same thing at the same time every day.

For example, change his food twice a day at 9 am and 4 pm, fill his water bowl three times a day at 8 am, 1 pm and 6 pm, clean his cage every Tuesday and Friday, etc. Once your fluffy acknowledged your habit, their stress would be released a lot. 

  1. Every fluffy deserves a single room.

It has been emphasized many times that hamsters are solitary animals, and they do not need any friend as you may have imagined. More than one hamster in one cage only brings endless fight over territory.

Therefore, the insecure feeling leads to high pressure for our hamsters, directly contributing to the infection of wet tail.

The disease itself is highly infective, so keeping several hamsters in one cage will cause more than one death. Therefore, for whatever reasons, one hamster in each cage is the basic condition for preventing the wet tail disease.

Syrian Hamster

How to treat wet tail?

  There is no doubt that the first choice is always going to a vet. But if we find these symptoms at midnight or there is no vet nearby, we can follow instructions below to alleviate the pain and the symptoms.

  1. Use antibiotics

The fundamental method to heal the disease is to kill the bacteria. Cephalosporin and Gentamicin are good choices, but notice that Penicillin is strictly forbidden for hamsters.

Melt the pills or tablets into his drinking water. If your fluffy has refused to drink or eat, use needles to gently inject the water with medicine into his mouth.

  1. Hydration

Most hamsters infected with wet tail actually die of dehydration because of serious diarrhea, so hydration is especially important.

We should use a dextrose solution or normal saline to replace their pure drinking water. If you do not have access to these solutions, an attenuated sports drink is also an option, but since they usually contain a lot of sugar, use it cautiously.

  1. Cultivate healthy bacteria

If your fluffy is getting better and shows the will of eating, it is time to help him rebuild a healthy bacteria group in his intestinal. 

Sugar-free plain yogurt is a perfect choice. Since, at this time, our fluffy should not eat any fresh food, which may exacerbate diarrhea, yogurt with cereal is a healthy and delicious meal for our hamsters. 

The snack sold in a pet store called yogurt cube or anything like that cannot be offered to an ill hamster to replace liquid yogurt, because they contain too much sugar, which is an extra burden for our hamster’s vulnerable intestinal.


If your hamster is not showing any sign of getting better or something terrible happens, just do not blame yourself. After all, the wet tail is a disease with a high fatality rate and the No.1 killer of the poor little ones. Though it cannot be absolutely prevented, you can follow my instructions to lower the possibility of infection, and enjoy your time with the fluffy one!

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