Hamsters are supposed to be cute and fluffy so hair loss and bald patches are typically a sign that there is something wrong. Hair loss can be a symptom of an assortment of different health conditions. It can also be caused by things in your hamster's environment.
Normal Hair Loss
A small amount of hair loss is considered to be normal. Hamsters shed and at times, their coats may appear a little bit on the thin side when they are molting. Natural hair loss will occur during the spring and autumn months when temperatures and seasons are changing. It is normal for your hamster's fur to look a little thin during these time periods but he should not be completely bald and normal fur should regrow within a couple of weeks.
Some causes of hamster baldness can only be cured with prescriptions from your veterinarian, so your vet's office is the first place you should go if you notice your hamster is going bald. Hair loss is a symptom of several medical problems your hamster might face, including chronic renal failure and mange. If your young and otherwise healthy hamster begins bald or act sick in addition to losing his fur, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Mange can cause hair loss and it is contagious to both other pets and people, depending on the exact type.
Environmental Hair Loss
Bald spots can be caused by your hamster scratching or rubbing against abrasive objects, such as the rough edge of a toy or bowl. Some hamsters lose their coats due to the use of abrasive bedding or allergic reactions caused by bedding. If you try out a new type of bedding in your hamster's cage and you notice his hair falling out, remove the bedding and go back to the product you were using to see if the problem resolves itself. The moisture left in the cage by a leaking water bottle can also cause hair loss. If your water bottle is leaking, replace it with a new one and replace all wet bedding to correct the problem. If the cause of the hair loss is not corrected, your hamster will continue to lose fur and will be unlikely to regrow his coat.
Dietary deficiencies can also cause baldness but you should consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your hamster's diet. Feeding too many grains or a low protein diet can cause hair loss. Try changing your hamster's diet or modifying it by adding more fruits and vegetables. Hair loss can also be caused by a vitamin deficiency, so you may want to try adding a vitamin supplement that is specifically designed for hamsters to his diet. Vitamin B deficiencies have been linked to hair loss in hamsters. In most cases, vitamin supplements can be found at your local pet store or purchased from your veterinarian. Crushing a yeast tablet and adding it to your hamster's food a couple of days a week can also help with baldness.
It is fairly common for older hamsters to begin to lose fur as they age. The average lifespan of a hamster is between 2 and 3 years. If your older hamster is going bald and your veterinarian cannot find another cause of the baldness, then it's possible the hair loss is normal. Nursing females may also lose fur when nursing a litter, but the hair should grow back once the pups are weaned.
- Pet Web Site: Hamsters Fur Loss
- Hamsterific: Quick Reference Illness Guide
- Hammy's World: Hamster Fur Loss
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Hamster Care
- The Pet Advantage: Hamsters
- Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital: Hamsters Basic Care
- Desert View Animal Hospital: Health Care for Hamsters
Hamster image by JÃ¶rg Zimmermann from Fotolia.com
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.