A hamster’s wet tail is a disease of the digestive system of hamsters, which causes diarrhea and vomiting. When not treated, it can lead to death within 48 hours. The first signs are loose stool or liquid feces. Within 24 hours, the stools will probably become smaller in size and darker in color as more mucus is produced by the intestine. The hamster may also vomit at this time, and there is a chance that blood will be present in the vomit.
Symptoms of hamster wet tail
The most common symptom is watery diarrhea. Loose or runny feces are usually red in color (if blood is present) and contain undigested food, mucus, and white worms.
If the hamster seems to be lethargic (tired), has no appetite, and is not moving about, as usual, then there is a good chance that it has wet tail.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
If the hamster exhibits watery diarrhea and vomiting in addition to lethargy, then it probably has wet tail. Some pet owners even mention blood in the droppings. If left untreated, it can lead to death within 48 hours.
Loss of Appetite
The hamster stops eating or may eat less than usual, which causes it to become weak and lethargic. Sometimes the hamster will even try to drink more liquids than normal in an attempt to replace lost nutrients in its food with water. It is important to note that not all hamsters who are suffering from wet tail lose their appetites, but this is one of the most common symptoms.
This symptom is far less common than others. If your hamster seems to have a fever (assuming you can take its temperature correctly), then it might be suffering from wet tail.
Lethargy and Cold Extremities
If your hamster seems very lethargic, is not moving about, as usual, has cold extremities (e.g., cold ears), and refuses to eat, then it might have wet tail. This symptom is more likely to occur 24-48 hours before death than any of the others.
The hamster seems depressed and does not try to escape, even if it has been handled by someone unfamiliar or is in a new location. It may show signs of breathing heavily through its mouth and may defecate while being held. Unfortunately, this is a very late sign of wet tail and usually occurs within hours of death.
If your hamster has not eaten for at least 24 hours, then it might have wet tail. This is an especially dangerous symptom because the digestive system is already impaired and starving the body will only make things worse. It also causes severe dehydration due to the loss of fluids from diarrhea and vomiting. This loss of fluids causes the remaining worms to die, which can result in an accumulation of toxins in the body.
Excessive salivation (drooling) is less common than lethargy and depression but may be seen if your hamster has an extremely high fever or if it has taken certain medications.
Discharge from the Eyes
Discharge from the eyes is extremely rare, but if you notice it, then take your hamster to a vet immediately! Some owners have also reported this symptom occurring right before or after death.
Wet tail is caused by a bacterial infection with Lawsonia intracellularis in hamsters. It can spread to one or more of your other hamsters if they are housed in the same cage, so it’s wise to isolate any poor hamster showing symptoms of wet tail.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your hamster then take it to a vet immediately! If left untreated, the condition can lead to death within 48 hours. This is why it is so important not to assume that your hamster has diarrhea or another common illness because it will most likely be too late for treatment by the time you notice these symptoms.