Mange is a skin condition that is caused by parasitic mites; Sarcoptic mange, also called canine scabies is a very contagious skin disease cause by the Sarcoptic scabeii mite. These mites will burrow ad embed themselves into the skin of your pet hamsters, any of your other pets and even you if you are not careful (scabies in humans). Diagnosing this hamster illness is difficult if you are looking to find the mites on the skin of an infected hamster. You will need to take a scrapping and look for these tiny parasites under a microscope.
Signs and Symptoms
This burrowing type of mite will get into the skin of a hamster causing it to become very itchy (pruritic). It then becomes crusty or scabby and infected rather quickly. Visible signs of hair loss mainly on the face but also the body will begin to appear. Another related skin condition by another type of mite that displays milder symptoms is the Acarasis skin disorder caused by the Demodex mite. Demodex mites are not contagious however.
How do you care for a hamster with Sarcoptic mange if it’s so contagious? First you must isolate the infected sick hamsters from any or you other healthy pets and family members. Then use Ivermectin drops orally every 7 to 10 days. Ivermectin comes in the form of injections too but this method should only be used by professionals. While you are treating your sick hamster you should thoroughly clean the cage and replace all the bedding since these mites can live for a few days in the bedding.