What are Demodex Mites?
Mites are tiny parasites (.3 to .4 mm in length) that lives their lives in and around the hair follicles of mammals, including hamsters. A scaly body of the mite allows it to attach itself securely into the skin of its host hamster. Demodex mites will attach themselves to the skin of any healthy hamster given the opportunity. A prolonged infestation can lead to certain hamster illnesses such as skin disorders.
Signs and Symptoms
There may be little to no signs of an infestation of your hamsters but the infestation can lead to certain skin conditions such as Acariasis skin disorder or Mange. Mange is caused by both Demodex and Sarcoptic mites. To see if your hamsters skin condition is caused by mites, you can comb the hair and inspect the comb using a magnifying glass. You can also brush the infested hamster while holding it over a piece of white paper and use a magnifying glass to inspect the paper. If there are no mites visible, the skin condition could be a hamster fungal infection.
Causes of This
If your hamsters get exposed to people or other pets that are infested with Demodex mites, they could become infested themselves.
After diagnosing your hamster with a mite infestation, you should take it to the vet to get treatment. Medications that treat mites include: Ivermectin drops and Amritraz. Amritraz is a bath based medication which can be less ideal than Ivermectin since hamsters are not use to getting bathed. A hamster sand bath is about as close as they get to an actual bath. Learn more about how to take care of a hamster by reading other articles in the care guide.
Author: Tim Winter