Pseudotuberculosis in Hamsters

PetMD Editorial
Jul 09, 2010
2 min read
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

Bacterial Infection (Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis) in Hamsters

Pseudotuberculosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, which is transmitted through contact with food, bedding, and other material that is contaminated with feces of wild birds or rodents. Unfortunately, pseudotuberculosis usually leads to blood poisoning in hamsters. Moreover, it is contagious to humans, so any hamsters with the disease -- or hamsters that have come into contact with them -- must be euthanized. To prevent the spread of pseudotuberculosis, maintain proper sanitation in the hamster's living area.

Symptoms

In addition to extreme weight loss with persistent diarrhea and swollen lymph nodes in the neck or shoulder, the pseudotuberculosis infection may eventually spread to hamster's the bloodstream, which is fatal. Your pet may even die suddenly without showing symptoms.

Causes

Hamsters are exposed to the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis bacteria, which is responsible for pseudotuberculosis, when the feces of infected wild birds or rodents get into their food or drinking water.

Diagnosis

After noting signs and symptoms commonly associated with pseudotubercolisis, your veterinarian will conduct several diagnostic procedures. However, a diagnosis is typically confirmed during a post-mortem examination, where a degeneration of the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, lungs, gallbladder, and intestinal walls are verified.

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for pseudotuberculosis in hamsters.

Living and Management

Though the general outcome of the hamsters affected with pseudotuberculosis is poor, steps given by your veterinarian can be taken to improve the living condition of the infected hamster. However, you must take precaution while handling sick hamsters. Wash your hands and arms thoroughly after touching a hamster and clean and disinfect the cage before allowing an animal inside. Provide fresh clean drinking water an a well-balanced diet and do not allow infected hamsters to come in contact with other animals.

In fact, because pseudotuberculosis is highly contagious and can spread to humans, your veterinarian may recommend euthanizing an infected hamster.

Prevention

Maintaining a clean and sanitized living area is the best way to prevent the possibility of pseudotuberculosis in hamsters.

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