Whenever a beloved pet gets sick, it can be devastating, especially if it’s a serious illness or terminal condition. One of the most common illnesses found in hamsters is wet tail and if it’s not treated with urgency it can result in death. Luckily, there are treatments that can be performed by a trained veterinarian.
The treatment for wet tail will cost you between $50 to $150 depending on severity of the infection, antibiotic costs, and fees charged by your veterinarian.
But there’s much more to know about the condition, including where it comes from, what the treatment looks like, and most important, how to prevent wet tail from occurring. Since it can be a fatal condition if not treated within 72 hours, prevention and early detection is very important.
To learn more about wet tail, click on any link in the table of contents below to be taken directly to that section or keep reading right into the first section below.
What is Wet Tail?
Wet tail is a bacterial infection often found in hamsters and is most commonly characterized by diarrhea, hence the name. Similar to diarrhea symptoms, wet tail is often associated with dehydration, stress, and an unhygienic environment. Most importantly, if wet tail isn’t treated ASAP it can be fatal for your furry friend.
The condition is believed to arise from a dirty environment and stress, however it’s important to keep in mind that lots of other factors can contribute to stress. Other factors, such as over crowding, larger animals giving your hamster anxiety, and cage conditions such as too much light, too cold or too hot, as well as a lack of stimulation and toys. Most importantly, a clean cage is very important to prevent wet tail, which we’ll dive into a bit more in a later section.
Finally, you can identify wet tail by noticing unhealthy behaviors in your hamster, such as not eating or sleeping, sluggishness, diarrhea, and weight loss.
If you start to notice any of these conditions, consult with your veterinarian right away as they can properly diagnose the issue before it becomes too severe for treatment.
What is the Treatment for Wet Tail?
The best treatment for wet tail is to be proactive in preventing it from occurring in the first place. In the last section, we talked about wet tail arising from stress and a dirty cage. As a result, the best way to prevent and treat wet tail is to maintain a clean cage for your hamster and make sure they’re happy and comfortable.
That means fresh bedding changed on a regular basis, clean water that is regularly switched out, and most importantly a dry environment. If you notice the bedding start to get soggy, immediately remove it to prevent you hamster from getting sick. Bedding often gets wet underneath your hamster’s water bottle, so if you notice it leaking, you should take steps to fix the issue.
If your hamster unfortunately develops wet tail, you should take them to a trained veterinarian right away for more reactive treatment, which often includes antibiotics. Bacterial infections are often treated with antibiotics to kill the infection and prevent further spread.
These antibiotics are often given once to two times daily for 7 to 10 days, however the treatment plan may vary depending on your hamster’s specific situation.
And since wet tail is most often characterized by diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration, it’s very important to have a clean source of water that is regularly switched out so your hamster can stay hydrated.
While wet tail can be fatal, it’s especially important to take preventative measure to keep your hamster from catching the infection, as well as immediate reactive measures, such as antibiotics to kill the infection.
How to Prevent Wet Tail
As mentioned in the previous section, wet tail can be fatal so it’s not something that should be treated, as much as prevented from occurring in the first place. And prevention is most easily accomplished by maintaining a clean cage:
To prevent wet tail, ensure you take the following precautions:
- Keep their cage clean and dry: Wet tail most often comes as a result of a dirty or damp cage where the risk of infection is high. So keeping the cage clean with daily spot checks, a thorough cleaning once a week, and removing any damp bedding will go a long way in prevent wet tail.
- Remove feces and soiled bedding daily: While keeping the cage clean is important, you should also be removing any soiled sections daily. The infection is spread through feces and contaminated bedding, so removing those sections of their cage is the best way to prevent wet tail.
- Maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet: While wet tail often comes as a result of dirty cages, hamsters with poor diets are more susceptible to becoming sick. As a result, make sure you’re feeding your hamster a balanced diet of specially designed pellets and occasional fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid stressful situations: Stress is another big cause of wet tail and so avoiding stress is vitally important, which can also help your hamster lead a longer and happier life. That means maintaining a comfortable and clean cage, giving them plenty of toys and ways to exercise, and letting them out of their cage every once in a while.
While wet tail can be fatal, it can also be easily prevented by following the steps outlined above. And there’s nothing ground breaking in what it takes to be proactive in preventing the infection. Just keep a clean cage, well-balanced diet, and avoid stressful situations for your furry friend.
And always monitor your hamster’s behavior and signs for wet tail so you can address the medical condition as soon as possible with a trained veterinarian.
If you’re interested in reading more related articles, check out the following links below:
- How Much Does a Hamster Tumor Removal Cost? – The Pet Property
- Wet Tail in Hamsters – PetCo
- Wet Tail – Wikipedia
Wet tail is a common bacterial infection that occurs in hamsters often characterized by diarrhea, sluggishness, and a lack of appetite. If not treated immediately it can be fatal, which is why it’s so important to identify the symptoms and get treatment from a veterinarian.
And you should take proactive steps to prevent wet tail as well by maintaining a clean cage, avoiding stress, and providing your hamster with a well-balanced diet.
Finally, always consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your hamster is sick. Only they can provide you with the appropriate course of action and medicine for your furry friend if it is necessary.