Every owner of a hamster with whom a pet has lived for more than a year has at least once wondered why a hamster is losing hair. This is not always a sign of pathology – hair loss can be a sign of molting – a process natural for animals.
To understand whether to go to the veterinarian, the pet is carefully examined and observed for behavior. In the absence of itching and scratching on the skin, there is no need to rush to the clinic. Having ruled out the most common causes of skin problems in rodents, the veterinarian can only guess why the hamster is molting. It is useful for the owner to be aware of the conditions that provoke hair loss.
Increased hair loss is not always accompanied by baldness. Signs of molting are shreds of fur in a cage, hairs on the palm, after the animal has sat on its hands, or has been stroked.
Shedding is a complete or partial change in the coat. It can be age-related and seasonal. In the first case, in young animals, the soft “children’s” coat is replaced by denser and coarser adult hair. In hamsters, the course is most often imperceptible, at the age of about 4 months.
Seasonal molt is associated with the seasons. Usually, animals have autumn and spring molt. For those who sleep in winter, molt takes place in summer. There is no definite answer to the question – do hamsters shed. Yes, the fur is renewed, but in healthy animals, this happens unnoticed by the owners. The molting process largely depends on genetics and conditions of detention. The Syrian hamster must renew its hair without the formation of bald spots. Areas of hair loss are difficult to notice if the animal is densely covered with hair. And the Dzungarian animals become spotted during molting.
If a hamster loses hair on its back, but it does not itch, is active, and eats well, it is possible that it sheds.
There is a visual shedding test: blow on the coat and examine the hair. Dzungarian wool has 3 colors: black tips, a light middle part, and a gray base. If the animal grows new fur, up to 6 new, intermediate colors will appear.
Bare areas can appear on any part of the body, but more often it is the belly and hind legs.
Some Dzungarian hamsters change color for the winter, whitening or gray in January. In February, these animals begin to change their hair back. Such molting is inherent in genetics, depends on the length of daylight hours and air temperature.
My Hamster is Losing Hair
If the hamster eats only dry food for a long time, cereals, the animal may have a vitamin deficiency. It is not known what lack of substances causes baldness, so treatment is reduced to a variety of diets. With vitamin deficiency, the hamster’s skin peels off and the coat peels off, but there are no signs of inflammation. The body of the animals is covered with thick dense fur, therefore, first of all, the owner notices that the ears are peeling.
You should give the animal greens, vegetables, and fruits in addition to dry food, and occasionally offer a piece of boiled egg or meat. There are liquid vitamins for rodents that are given with food or drinking water.
In a stressful situation, hamsters use their scent glands heavily and can begin to lose their hair. Moving, intrusive attention, systematic interruption of daytime sleep, loud sounds of the TV – the owners of the rodent do not even think about how much discomfort these factors can deliver to the pet.
If a Dzungarian hamster loses hair, as first aid, you need to revise the diet, and then exclude irritants. A hamster that is shy, or is just in the house recently, does not need to be picked up for some time.
Lactating females lose their belly hair. The fur grows back after weaning the pups. Also, females can shed intensely during pregnancy.
Hamsters that are housed alone face other challenges. With polycystic ovaries and endometritis (inflammation of the uterus), there may be hormonal alopecia. Symmetrical bald spots are formed on the sides, there is no itching.
Upset Gastrointestinal Tract
If the hamster has diarrhea, regardless of the cause of the disorder, the fur of the animal will not be as thick and shiny as before for a while. Nutrients are not absorbed, the body weakens. Poisoning by low-quality food, nitrates from the juicy feed is possible. With intoxication, one of the symptoms is hair loss.
In case of violation of the grinding of constantly growing teeth, with fracture of the incisors, inflammation of the cheek pouches, the leading symptoms will be the inability to eat normally and constant salivation. The hair on the neck is wet all the time and soon begins to fall out.
Almost all pathologies of internal organs in one way or another are reflected in the condition of the coat. It is impossible to diagnose kidney or liver failure in a tiny rodent: it is difficult to get enough blood for analysis. Tumor processes are possible, but the Dzungarian hamster is too small for ultrasound diagnostics. One can only guess which organs and systems are floundering in an elderly animal, but after 1.5-2 years, continuous molting in hamsters is a common thing.
If a pet’s fur peeled off in the spring, this does not always mean that he needs treatment. For diagnosis, you need to consult a veterinarian. A ratologist or an experienced hamster breeder can tell you what to do if hair falls out faster than new hair grows during the shedding period. Quite often the drug “Tsamax” is used for decorative rodents (90% zeolite, 10% sulfur) or ordinary fodder sulfur (0.01 g), which accelerates the growth of wool and improves the condition of the skin. It is helpful to include flax or sesame seeds, which are rich in fatty acids, in the diet.