Wet Tail in Hamsters


Date: July 22nd, 2011


Wet Tail is a very serious intestinal disease that occurs in hamsters. Unsurprisingly, this disease is named after the wet and soiled tails that accompany the sickness.

What hamsters are susceptible?

Hamsters of all ages and types are capable of picking up the disease, but it is most prevalent in 3 to 6 week old Teddy Bear hamsters.

Stress caused from weaning, recent transport, overcrowded cage conditions, surgery, or rapid dietary changes can make the hamster more prone to the disease.

What causes wet tail?

Wet tail is caused by fecal to oral contact with a bacterium called Lawsonia intracellularis. If food or water is contaminated with fecal matter that carries the disease, your hamster is at risk of coming down with the sickness.

Any symptoms?

The obvious visual key is a wet or soiled area around the hamster’s tail. In addition, these symptoms may occur:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Failure to groom
  • Excessively watery diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Dull, sunken eyes
  • Irritability
  • Hunched posture while sitting or walking
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Protruding rectum from constant straining
  • Blood in the stool or around the anus in very serious cases


If your hamster is showing symptoms, a veterinarian visit is immediately required. Even with treatment, many hamsters will die from the disease in as little as 48 hours. Immediate action is your hamster’s best chance of survival.

Veterinarians recommend:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-diarrhea medications
  • Subcutaneous and oral fluids to combat dehydration

When you recognize any of the symptoms, remove the hamster from his cage and provide a warm, clean, isolated cage. The old cage needs to be thoroughly sanitized to prevent re-infection or spread.



Providing a clean, sanitary cage at all times is the best form of prevention. Read this article on how to clean your small animal’s cage.

As previously mentioned, stress can lead to a hamster becoming more susceptible. Reduce stress when bringing home a new hamster by limiting handling and contact. This will allow the hamster to get used to his surroundings and become comfortable.

Before purchasing a hamster, always ask store employees about wet tail. Closely inspect a hamster before bringing it home. A sick hamster can infect other hamsters you have at home.


If you have any further questions, email them to AskMax@CountryMax.com, or visit your local CountryMax store today!

Additional Resources: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?c=6067&articleid=2282&d=161&category=247

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