How to Get Rid of Hamster Mites

By Valerie A. Modreski

All hamsters are susceptible to an ectoparasitic skin disease called an external mite infestation. Mites are a minuscule parasite that cause discomfort and a potential health risk for your hamster. Solutions for getting rid of these micro-menaces come in a variety of formula options.

Spray and Powder Treatments for Hamster Mites

At the first sign of mites, be sure to quarantine your hamster from other hamsters and household pets. Pyrethrin spray and powder formulas are available in pet supply stores, and are designed for treating your hamster's mites. For treatment, gently hold your hamster with a Kleenex covering his head, ears and eyes. Spray your pet's body with the anti-mite spray and be sure the liquid comes in full contact with his skin. When using pyrethrin powder, sprinkle the dust on his body, avoiding his head and eyes, and rub gently through his fur to his skin. Repeat either of these treatments once a week for two weeks. Two pyrethrin powder treatments should cure a mite infestation, but if the condition worsens, consult again with your veterinarian. Continue the hamster's quarantine until all mite symptoms are gone.

Ivermectin and Sulfide Shampoo Remedies for Hamster Mites

On its release in the mid-1980s, ivermectin was approved for use in animals and promoted as an all-inclusive anti-parasite medication. It is effective against most common mites and lice. Available in a topical, oral or injectable formula the veterinary medicine ivermectin can be used to treat hamster mites, including ear and nose mite infestations. This formula has to be administered through your veterinarian. Cadmium sulfide shampoos can be used to rid your hamster of skin mites. This soapy solution is prescribed by veterinarians to treat mites on small animals, and is found effective against all sorts of nits, lice and chronic dermatitis. With this solution, lather your hamster and rinse thoroughly, avoiding face and eye contact with the cadmium sulfide shampoo.

Symptomatic Mite Infestation Leading to Mange

All hamsters have mites on their skin. The underlying cause for hamster mites is recurring and only your veterinarian can offer recommendations your hamster's mite treatment. Humans are not at risk from hamster mites because these minute arachnids will not transfer to people. Hamster mites are only harmful for your pet when he is old, sick, stressed or otherwise immunocompromised. Immune system impairments allow hamster mites to multiply into a gross infestation. The demodex species of mite is difficult to see with the naked eye, so look for your hamster's skin to appear reddened and irritated, especially around the face and ears, feet, rump and tail. Constant scratching will intensify these symptoms and your pet may consistently rub his body on the side of his habitat. Additional signs of a mite infestation include dry, scaly skin and hair loss. Left unattended, a mite infestation can lead to mange. Common in dogs, mange is a severe skin condition causing serious health complications.

Rid your Home of Hamster Mites

Hamster mite infestations usually come from infected house pets or commercial bedding materials, such as hay and wood chips. As soon as you suspect your hamster has mites, isolate him from all other pets and sterilize his cage. After cleaning the cage, provide new bedding, food and water. Disperse an anti-parasite spray, made for small animals and available in pet supply stores, over his entire habitat. Throw away all bedding and food you have on hand at the onset of your hamster's infestation. Be sure to treat all hamster toys, food and watering receptacles, and habitat extensions with the anti-parasitic formula. An effective way to deter a mite infestation is to inspect any new bedding or food prior to use and keep your hamsters habitat clean and sanitized.