Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > General questions concerning your hamster > Please HELP identify Robo Hamster Skin Disorder (PHOTOS)

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

Two of our Roborovski Hamsters, 1.5 years and 2 years of age, have developed a skin disorder, which we have had no luck with identifying or treating. The younger, a male, is the offspring of the 2-year-old female. They do not share a cage. We have taken them both to our vet for examination, but she has not yet been able to determine a diagnosis. Tests for ringworm have come back negative. In addition, our vet has examined flakes from the affected area under a microscope, and does not see any indication of mites. The older of the two, a female, shares a cage with two of her daughters, and they show no signs of being affected. In terms of treatment, our vet applied one small drop of Revolution (for puppies and kittens) to the back of each hamster. The treatment took place approximately one month ago, but there has been no improvement in their condition. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case; they appear to be getting worse. Other than the appearance of their skin, they are exhibiting no other symptoms of illness. Their exercise, eating, drinking and bathroom habits have not changed.

Skin Disorder Details:

Began as a crusty spot of thinning hair near the ear of the younger, male hamster in approximately November, 2010.

We began to notice signs of the disorder near his hind legs and rear shortly after, covering a large portion of the area by January, 2011.

The 2-year-old female began showing signs of the disorder around the beginning of January, 2011.

The areas affected with the issue have lost most of their fur covering, with the exposed skin appearing very red, almost inflamed looking. There are scaly white patches covering these areas, as well.

None of our other hamsters, including the two females sharing a cage with their affected mother, have shown any symptoms.

Habitat Details:

Glass aquariums with wire screen covers

Cages are cleaned and bedding replaced weekly – glass is cleaned with water and paper towels only, no chemicals

CareFresh Ultra bedding – plain, white – We have used this bedding their entire lives

Fresh food and water given each day – Kaytee FortiDiet Pellets(Rats, Mice, Hamsters) – We have used this their entire lives

 

 

One last note; we will be returning to our vet this coming Saturday, March 26, 2011, for another dose of Revolution.

We apologize for the quality of the photos. We will try to post some of higher quality in the near future.

Please let us know if you have any questions, as we will be frequently checking back for responses. Thank you so much for any help you can provide. We are at a loss, and are heartbroken about the condition of our beloved hamsters. We’re desperate to find a cure for them!

May all of your hamsters be healthy and happy!!!

All photos of their skin problems can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/ourrobohamsters" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://https://sites.google.com/site/ourrobohamsters


March 19, 2011 at 7:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

 

The correct link is:

http://sites.google.com/site/ourrobohamsters/

March 19, 2011 at 8:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

grace_
Member
Posts: 510
Hmmmmm that's sad! ?? Try looking up illnesses at the hamsterclub.com they have like 70 different illnesses there! Hope ur hammies are fine! - Grace ??
--


March 19, 2011 at 9:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

Thank you so much for your suggestion. I will check out the site. Thanks again!

March 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

grace_
Member
Posts: 510

np

--


March 19, 2011 at 10:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

Please help!!!


Better photos can now be found here:

http://sites.google.com/site/ourrobohamsters/





March 20, 2011 at 12:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Quark
Member
Posts: 52

I'm sorry to say that I don't know what it could be.  I would have guessed mites, but the vet already checked for that.  The scaly patches with hair loss really suggest mites to me, but if they can't find any, it has to be something else.  I don't think it's likely that it's an allergic reaction.

March 20, 2011 at 4:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Robos R US
Member
Posts: 69

To me it looks like matted fur but then if you look closer, it kinda looks like fungus called Aspergillis Fungus. The Aspergillis fungus grows on the bedding in the area of a hamster's tank/cage where the hamster urinates. Once it starts to develop it will appear white and in time turn black. At this stage the fungus will send off airborne spores into the hamster's enviornment that can damage the hamster's health and once symptoms are noticed the hamster must be seen by a vet immediately because there is a high risk of death from breathing in the spores of this deadly fungus. Symptoms are lethargy, breathing problems/wheezing,blood in the urine,inflamed skin,and chronic diarrhea. If you see any of these symptoms especially after you spotted the fungus in the tank/cage chances are high that it's the Aspergillis Fungus that is causing the health problems. A hamster who has already been diagnosed as being diabetic or having a bladder infection is at a higher risk when exposed to this fungus. A vet will then treat the affected hamster with antibiotics and anti-fungal medication. It should also be noted that the use of corn cob bedding appears to promote the growth of this fungus faster than other beddings. The Aspergillis Fungus also grows on vegetables and fruits that are left to rot in the tank/cage. The key to eliminating this fungus is to not allow it to grow at all and this can be done by removing the bedding where your hamster urinates every day and making sure that once a week the tank/cage is throughly cleaned and disinfected and you can also use a disinfectant that contains an anti-fungicide as an added precaution. And always remove any uneaten vegetables or fruits from the tank/cage before it rots and allows the fungus to grow on it. A person who owns a hamster doesn't have to live in fear of the Aspergillis Fungus harming their hamster. As long as the tank/cage is kept completely clean any breeding ground for this potentially deadly fungus will be totally eliminated. I found this info at http://www.hamsterific.com/ but if it's taking away some of the hammies hair, it could be anything...This is a great website about hamster fur loss, but I don't know if it may deal with the "fungus" http://www.hammysworld.com/index.php?p=furloss. Hope these help! 

--

Robos R US

 

March 20, 2011 at 6:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Quark
Member
Posts: 52

Unless you find black mold in your house and in the hamster cage, I wouldn't really suspect that Aspergillus fungus would be the most likely cause.  Aspergillus can infect humans, too, but usually only immunocompromised people or people with poorly-controlled diabetes.  

Aspergillus is a really nasty fungal infection and I highly doubt it would cause ONLY skin problems in an animal- most of the time it causes lung infections in people.  So if the hamsters had it, I'd think they would be acting sick in addition to the skin infection.

It could be a fungus, but if so, it is probably a dermatophyte (a fungus that infects the skin only, like ringworm).

March 20, 2011 at 6:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

Robos R Us and Quark,

Thank you for your replies and advice. I don't believe it's Aspergillis Fungus, as we do not have mold in our home. It is new construction, and was completed in Jan '11. The home we were in previously did not show any signs of mold either. My fiance is meticulous about keeping their cages clean, and removes any bedding showing evidence of being used for potty twice a day. Each hamster also has a potty jar that is cleaned each day. We will ask the vet about Aspergillis Fungus again when we go on Saturday. 

I will update this post, if we find anything else out. 

Thank you all again! You've been so helpful!

March 20, 2011 at 7:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

UPDATE

The bad news is that the mother has recently succumbed to the illness and the father is showing the beginning stages of it. The good news is this; yesterday we were given a diagnosis. The other hamster that has been afflicted (their son) has gone through extensive testing by an exotic animal vet. She has confirmed through three separate tests that he has Dermatophytosis caused by Microsporum gypseum (a.k.a. Ringworm). The histology report from the deep skin scrape was one of the tests that identified the condition. The exotic vet initially thought this was Cushing’s disease, but none of the results indicate that he suffers from it. The son was also tested for Diabetes, which came back negative.

Treatment will be specific for each of our hamsters, and after conferring with other exotic animal vets, the vet decided that we will start the son on a custom compounded (1mg per ml) oral dose of Itraconazole (.1 ml, twice daily). This has risks, but the alternative is an agonizing, wasting death. Coupled with the medicine, I will need to change the bedding daily to reduce the possibility of re-infestation. This means I need to throw away wooden houses (I am not going to sterilize them) and any other materials that can serve as a safe haven for the spores. It is going to be a lot of work, but we are going to do it.

What we have learned here, and what we already knew was possible, is that some tests come back as false negatives. I say this because we had a culture done in Feb for Ringworm that came back negative. My suggestion to anyone who is experiencing the same issue and your hamsters are not responding to any treatment is to go back to your vet and have the same tests performed to rule them out again. You are your pet’s champion!

I will post again in a few weeks to let everyone know how effective the treatment is. If I can save someone else’s hamsters from a death by Ringworm, I will be happy.

Here are some informative links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatophytosis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsporum_gypseum

May 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM Flag Quote & Reply

RunningRobos
Member
Posts: 231

I would just like you to know that Kaytee hamster food causes cancer in hamsters.

--


May 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

About two months ago, we switched them to a lab block called RMH 3000 (Rat Mouse Hamster 3000) made by Purina Mills.

 

It saddens me to read your post regarding Kaytee Forti-Diet. Can you tell me which ingredient in this list is the culprit?

 

http://www.kaytee.com/products/kaytee-fortidiet-pro-health-mouse-rat.php

 

Looks like I have answered my own question:

 

http://www.kaytee.com/learn-share/faq.htm#ethoxyquin

 

Apparently ethoxyquin can cause cancer.

May 28, 2011 at 12:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RunningRobos
Member
Posts: 231

Yes, It can even cause cancer in people in some cases.

--


May 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

It has been almost 4 weeks since we started the treatment of the specially compounded Itraconazole with two of our robos. It has made an amazing difference! In both cases, there are no visible signs of the ringworm. The son, who was the worst off, no longer looks like a "zombie" robo. He has completely grown back all of his fur, has gained weight, and is exercising again. So far the medicine has been a complete success. Only time will tell if there are any negative effects, but so far, so good.

Again, the treatment is a twice daily dose (.1 ML) of Itraconazole that has been custom compounded to 1mg per milliliter. The robo it was compounded for weighed 21 grams. Daddy robo gets a slightly larger dose (.13 ML), he weighed in at 26 grams.

My lesson learned is this: False negatives in tests can occur and ringworm symptoms may not look like rings and/or circular patches of hair loss.

I will post some updated pictures in the next few days, but here is what the illness looked like:

http://sites.google.com/site/ourrobohamsters/

I hope this information helps saves a hamster!

June 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

MrsFish
Moderator
Posts: 1346

Blimey ...Im so pleased that the vets where able to daignose that for you & them.... many cases of infections do show up differently to how some experts/texts predict... only proper skinscrapes and testing can lead to a diagnosis and therfor the right treatment.Also many vets are not clued up to Robo hamsters ... so its best to search for an a"exoctic "vet who is clued up...and yes ask for repeated tests,as with us humans it can take a while for things to actually show -up.... again best wishes to you and your gang of fluffs :) Tracy

--

Mrs Fish

Please remember "1photo" per album rule guys ok...:D.

June 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Amanda
Member
Posts: 169

Wow, this is really something.

I looked at your first link, and as the pictures in it progressed, it was just sadder and sadder and really upsetting to see. I'm am so relieved for you that the condition is improving! 


You are a great owner, fewer people than you think would take their hamster on multiple vet trips to get to the bottom of the cause and put in as much work as you. I must applaud you for your efforts, I do hope they continue to get better!

--

Amanda 

 RIP Pip  :: My first Roborovski -- He was Pied, hyper, sweet, and extremely cute! 

August 13, 2011 at 1:32 AM Flag Quote & Reply

RoboGal
Member
Posts: 10

Amanda at August 13, 2011 at 1:32 AM

Wow, this is really something.

I looked at your first link, and as the pictures in it progressed, it was just sadder and sadder and really upsetting to see. I'm am so relieved for you that the condition is improving! 


You are a great owner, fewer people than you think would take their hamster on multiple vet trips to get to the bottom of the cause and put in as much work as you. I must applaud you for your efforts, I do hope they continue to get better!

Thank you for the kind words! The son is 100% back to normal, he is fat and fluffy again! I just wished I could have treated the mom :-(.

August 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Min
Member
Posts: 1

I'm so excited to have found your topic on your Robo's skin condition, and that the drug Itraconazole works for him! :)

My robo of 2+ years old, Yoda, male has also showed similar signs, and our vet want us to start on this same drug too. And with your case, I'm much more confident that my poor fella will be well again. Thanks for sharing your update!


//Min

May 11, 2012 at 4:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.