Endoparasitic Worm Load in Hamsters
Tapeworms belong to a category of endoparasitic flatworms infecting several domestic animals, including hamsters. When compared to mice and rats, tapeworm infection in hamsters is quite common. Typically, the tapeworms are transmitted when the hamster comes in contact with contaminated water and/or feed.
It is worth noting that some tapeworms that infect hamsters can also infect humans. Hence, it is vital you handle a hamster suspected of tapeworm infection with utmost caution. Fortunately, this type of infection is treatable -- both in hamsters and humans.
Hamsters suffering with tapeworm infection usually show no characteristic external signs. However, if the infection becomes severe, the tapeworms can cause dehydration, diarrhea, and inflammation and blockage of the intestines. Non-specific symptoms associated with tapeworm infections include loss of appetite and weight loss.
Hamsters can be infected with several types of tapeworms, some of which can even infect humans. These endoparasites are usually transmitted when the hamster comes in contact with contaminated water and/or feed. However, contact with carriers of the endoparasites, such as cockroaches, beetles, and fleas, can also lead to infection.
Since no characteristic symptoms are usually exhibited by an infected hamster, laboratory tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Your veterinarian will collect fecal samples and examine them under a microscope to locate and identify the type of tapeworm eggs.