What Is Wet Tail In Hamsters

What Is Wet Tail In Hamsters

Wet tail, also known as proliferative ileitis, is a serious and potentially deadly bacterial infection that affects hamsters. It is characterized by severe diarrhea, dehydration, and a wet appearance of the tail. Wet tail is most common in young hamsters, particularly those that are less than four weeks old, but it can also affect adult hamsters.

Symptoms Of Wet Tail In Hamsters

The most obvious symptom of a wet tail is diarrhea, which is often accompanied by a wet or soiled appearance of the tail. Other symptoms may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and weight loss. In severe cases, hamsters may also experience abdominal pain and bloating.

Causes Of Wet Tail In Hamsters

Wet tail is caused by a bacterial infection known as Lawsonia intracellularis, which is found in the intestinal tract of affected hamsters. The exact cause of the infection is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to stress, poor diet, and unsanitary living conditions.

Diagnosing Wet Tail In Hamsters

Diagnosing wet tails can be challenging, as the symptoms are often non-specific and may be mistaken for other conditions. A veterinarian may perform a physical examination, take a history of the hamster’s symptoms and living conditions, and run laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. The most common laboratory test used to diagnose wet tails is a fecal culture, which involves analyzing a sample of the hamster’s feces to determine the presence of the bacterial infection.

What Is Wet Tail In Hamsters

Treatment Of Wet Tail In Hamsters

Treatment for wet tails typically involves a combination of antibiotics and supportive care. The type and duration of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection and the overall health of the hamster. Supportive care may include providing the hamster with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, as well as offering a diet of easily digestible foods to help reduce the severity of diarrhea. In severe cases, hospitalization and intensive care may be necessary.

Preventing Wet Tail In Hamsters

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent wet tails in hamsters:

1. Keep the hamster’s living environment clean and free of excess moisture.

2. Provide a healthy diet that is appropriate for the hamster’s age and breed.

3. Avoid overcrowding or overstressing the hamster.

4. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands before and after handling your hamster.

5. Keep new hamsters separate from existing ones for at least two weeks to allow for quarantine and observation.


Wet tail is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly for hamsters if left untreated. It is important to recognize the symptoms and seek treatment from a veterinarian as soon as possible to give the hamster the best chance of recovery. By taking steps to prevent a wet tail and maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your hamster, you can help protect your furry friend from this serious condition.


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