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Tapeworms in Your Hamster

Hamsters, much like other pets, can contract tapeworms. This dangerous parasitic infection can lead to death if not treated, so it’s important to know all you can about this health risk. Here, a Colorado Springs veterinarian fills you in.

Causes

Your hamster will contract a tapeworm infection by coming in contact with infected bodies—usually, this is contaminated food or water. Another way of contracting tapeworms is by contacting another carrier, usually insects like fleas, cockroaches, and beetles. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you a likely cause of infection if your hamster comes down with the parasite.

Symptoms

Sometimes, a hamster infected with tapeworms won’t show any obvious outward signs or symptoms of infection. Once the problem becomes more severe, though, a hamster may show diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, and bloating. If you notice these symptoms in your hamster, call your vet’s office immediately to have your pet examined by a professional.

Treatment

Your veterinarian will need to obtain a fecal sample to confirm the diagnosis of a tapeworm. Once the infection is confirmed with the fecal exam and other laboratory tests, your vet will set about curing your hamster. Most of the time, medications to rid your pet’s body of the tapeworm and the tapeworm eggs will be administered. Other symptoms of infection may be treated with fluid therapy or vitamin supplements, to be given at home.

It’s important to fully clean and sanitize your hamster’s living environment and all cage items as a part of the treatment for tapeworms. Wash the cage walls and floor, dishes, and all toys with hot water and soap. Use bleach or another disinfecting agent to completely sanitize the cage—consult your Colorado Springs vet on what products to use in this step. Make sure everything is completely clean and dry before reintroducing your hamster to his cage.

Prevention

Reduce the risk of a tapeworm infection by keeping your hamster’s cage and living environment clean and sanitary. Do your best to limit contact with carriers of the tapeworm, like cockroaches and fleas, and bring your hamster to the vet’s office for regular checkups. This way, any health concerns will be caught early and promptly treated.

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