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Can Hamsters Survive Wet Tail? (Answered!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Hamsters are one of the most popular small pets in the world. They’re cute, furry, and fun to play with. However, one of the biggest dangers to hamsters is the wet tail. This condition can be deadly if not treated properly.

In this article, we will discuss what a wet tail is, how to spot it, and how to treat it if your hamster gets it.

Key Takeaway

  • Wet tail in hamsters, often referred to as proliferative ileitis, is a serious bacterial infection that results in severe diarrhea, often indicated by a wet tail, and is usually precipitated by stress, potentially leading to death within 48-72 hours even with treatment.
  • Hamsters can survive wet tail, a severe and often fatal disease, if it is promptly diagnosed and properly treated by a veterinarian, although the condition remains highly lethal with about 90% of affected hamsters dying even with treatment.

What Is Wet Tail In Hamsters?

A wet tail is a disease that affects hamsters. It is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus. A wet tail can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and death in hamsters.

There are many different types of streptococcus bacteria, and they can cause a range of illnesses in hamsters. Wet tail is one of the most common, and it’s characterized by diarrhea, dehydration, and lethargy.

If you notice that your hamster is losing weight or has diarrhea, it might have a wet tail. Wet tail is a serious disease that can kill hamsters, so it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible if you think they might have it.

Here are some signs of a wet tail in hamsters to look for:

  • Your hamster’s fur is wet or matted
  • Your hamster has a bad smell
  • Your hamster is lethargic or not moving around much
  • Your hamster has bloody diarrhea

There are several things you can do to prevent a wet tail in your hamster. First, make sure your hamster has access to clean water at all times. Second, keep your hamster’s cage clean and free of waste. Finally, avoid handling your hamster too much or letting other animals near its cage.

By taking these precautions, you can help keep your hamster healthy and happy says First Hamster.

Can Hamsters Survive Wet Tail?

Can Hamsters Survive Wet Tail (Answered!)

Yes. Hamsters can survive wet tail if properly examined and treated by a veterinarian. There are a few different medications that can be used to treat wet tail in hamsters, but the most common is metronidazole. This medication is effective at reducing the symptoms of a wet tail, and it can also help to prevent the disease from spreading.

Another medication that is sometimes used to treat wet tail is amoxicillin. This antibiotic can help to kill the bacteria that cause the disease, and it can also help to reduce inflammation.

It is believed that wet tail is not contagious to other animals and can only affect hamsters. If you have a hamster with wet tail, it is best to keep them away from other pets and small children just to be safe.

There are a few things you can do at home to help ease your hamster’s symptoms, but it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible.

If your hamster has a wet tail, the best thing you can do is keep them clean and dry. This means cleaning their cage more often and using paper bedding instead of straw or wood shavings. You should also avoid handling your hamster too much, as this can make their symptoms worse.

Although most of the time a bacteria called Streptococcus is the culprit of a wet tail in hamsters, stress can also contribute to and worsen the health state of the hamster. Stress weakens the immune system and makes the hamster more susceptible to infection.

Here are the things that make hamsters stress more:

  • A change in the environment
  • Lack of food or water
  • Crowding
  • Loud noises

How Do Hamsters Get Wet Tail?

Hamsters typically get wet tail, a serious bacterial infection, as a result of stress, bacterial overgrowth in the stomach, or an infection with a specific bacteria called Lawsonia intracellularis.

Stress-Induced Wet Tail

Stress is a major factor that can lead to wet tail in hamsters. This could be due to a change in environment, such as moving from a breeder or vendor to a pet store and then to a new home.

Hamsters are sensitive creatures, and any significant changes in their routine or environment can potentially lead to stress, thereby increasing their susceptibility to wet tail.

Bacterial Overgrowth

Wet tail can also be caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the hamster’s stomach, similar to a stomach bug in humans. This overgrowth disrupts the normal gut flora, leading to severe diarrhea, which is a primary symptom of wet tail.

The exact cause of this bacterial imbalance isn’t always clear, but it can be influenced by factors like diet and overall health of the hamster.

Infection with Lawsonia Intracellularis

Additionally, wet tail is associated with an infection caused by a specific bacterium called Lawsonia intracellularis. This bacterium causes inflammation and thickening of the ileum, a part of the small intestine, leading to the symptoms associated with wet tail.

It’s still unclear how exactly hamsters contract this bacterium, but it’s believed to be related to unsanitary conditions and close contact with infected animals.

How Long Can Hamsters Survive With a Wet Tail?

Can Hamsters Survive Wet Tail (Answered!)

Without proper treatment, hamsters with a wet tail can only survive a few days. The average treatment for wet tail lasts about two weeks, but your hamster may need to be treated for longer if the symptoms are severe. After the initial treatment, your hamster will need to be monitored closely for any relapse of symptoms.

Wet tail is a condition that can affect hamsters of all ages, but is most commonly seen in young hamsters between the ages of four and eight weeks old.

The condition is characterized by diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and death if left untreated. Wet tail is caused by a number of different bacteria, but the most common is Streptococcus.

There are three types of wet tail in hamsters: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild cases may only last a few days and the hamster may only show signs of diarrhea. Moderate cases may last up to two weeks and the hamster may lose weight and have bloody diarrhea.

Severe cases can last for several weeks and the hamster may be extremely thin, have very bloody diarrhea, and may die.

The three stages of a wet tail in hamsters are as follows:

  • The first stage is when the hamster only shows signs of diarrhea which only lasts for a few days.
  • The second stage is when the hamster not only has diarrhea but also loses weight and has bloody stool; this can last up to two weeks.
  • The third and final stage is when the hamster is extremely thin, has a continuous bloody stool, and may unfortunately die.

Symptoms of Wet Tail in Hamsters

The symptoms of wet tail in hamsters include severe diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration, and a hunched posture.

Severe Diarrhea

Severe diarrhea is the most common and noticeable symptom of wet tail. This usually results in a wet or soiled rear end (hence the name “wet tail”), as the hamster has trouble controlling bowel movements.


Hamsters suffering from wet tail often become lethargic and less active than usual. They may spend more time sleeping or resting and show little interest in their regular activities like running on their wheel or exploring their cage.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is another common symptom. Hamsters with wet tail may refuse to eat or drink, which can lead to weight loss and dehydration.


Due to the severe diarrhea, hamsters with wet tail can become severely dehydrated. Signs of dehydration may include sunken eyes, dry skin, and general weakness.

Hunched Posture

A hamster with wet tail may exhibit a hunched posture, often accompanied by discomfort or pain. This is due to the inflammation in their gut causing discomfort, leading them to adopt this unusual stance.

Can a Hamster Survive a Wet Tail Without Treatment?

A wet tail is a very serious condition and if left untreated, it can be fatal. If you suspect your hamster has a wet tail, take them to the vet immediately. With proper treatment, most hamsters will make a full recovery. However, if treatment is not sought in time, the hamster may not survive.

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting the hamster through the illness. Without treatment, a hamster with a wet tail will usually die within a few days.

Wet tail is a very serious condition and should not be taken lightly. If you think your hamster has a wet tail, get them to the vet right away. Time is of the essence when it comes to treating this condition.

With prompt treatment, your hamster stands the best chance of surviving and making a full recovery. delay in seeking treatment could mean the difference between life and death for your beloved pet.

How Can I Help My Hamster With A Wet Tail?

To help your hamster with a wet tail, you must promptly consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment, maintain a clean and stress-free environment, and ensure hydration and nutrition.

Consult a Veterinarian

The first and most critical step in helping your hamster with a wet tail is to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Wet tail is a serious and potentially fatal disease that requires professional medical intervention. Your vet will likely administer antibiotics to fight the infection and may provide additional medications to manage symptoms.

Maintain a Clean Environment

A clean cage reduces the risk of further bacterial infection. Regularly clean your hamster’s cage, removing all waste and soiled bedding. Replace the bedding with fresh, clean material. Also, make sure the food and water containers are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Minimize Stress

Stress can exacerbate wet tail, so it’s important to create a calm and quiet environment for your hamster. Avoid handling your hamster unnecessarily while they’re sick and keep them in a quiet place away from loud noises or other pets.

Ensure Hydration and Nutrition

Wet tail can lead to severe dehydration because of diarrhea. Make sure your hamster has constant access to fresh water. You might need to administer water using a syringe if your hamster is too weak to drink on its own. Providing easily digestible foods like baby food can also help keep their energy up.


Q: How is wet tail diagnosed in hamsters?

A: Wet tail is typically diagnosed based on the symptoms observed by the pet owner and a physical examination by a veterinarian. A stool sample may also be analyzed to confirm the presence of bacteria.

Q: Can wet tail be treated at home?

A: It is strongly recommended to seek veterinary care for wet tail in hamsters. A veterinarian will prescribe appropriate medication and provide guidance on supportive care measures.

Q: What is the treatment for wet tail in hamsters?

A: The treatment for wet tail in hamsters usually involves antibiotics to control the bacterial infection, fluid therapy to combat dehydration, and supportive care to help the hamster recover.

Q: Can wet tail be prevented in hamsters?

A: While it is not always possible to prevent wet tail in hamsters, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk. This includes maintaining a clean and stress-free environment, providing a balanced diet, and avoiding contact with potentially infected animals.

Q: How long does it take for a hamster to recover from wet tail?

A: The recovery time for a hamster with wet tail can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the effectiveness of treatment. In some cases, it may take a few days to a couple of weeks for a hamster to fully recover.

Q: Can wet tail be fatal for hamsters?

A: Yes, wet tail can be fatal for hamsters if left untreated or if the infection becomes severe. Seeking veterinary care as soon as symptoms are noticed is crucial for the best chance of survival.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, wet tail is a serious and potentially fatal condition that can affect hamsters.

As responsible pet owners, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and seek immediate veterinary care if your hamster shows any signs of wet tail.

Prevention through proper hygiene and stress management is key to avoiding this illness.

With proper care and attention, our beloved furry friends can have a long and happy life, even in the face of potential health challenges.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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