Tyzzer's Disease in Hamsters
Tyzzer's disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium piliforme. Often found in young or stressed hamsters, the bacteria affects the digestive system and causes severe abdominal pain and watery diarrhea. It is transmitted via spores that spread through the environment, contaminating bedding material, food containers, and water. The bacteria can also be spread through contaminated feces.
Some hamsters with Tyzzer's disease may die suddenly without exhibiting any symptoms. However, many exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
- Hunched posture
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Watery diarrhea
- Rough body coat
The Clostridium piliforme bacteria which causes Tyzzer's disease is more likely to infect young or stressed hamsters. And although it is mainly transmitted via contaminated feces and bedding material, the bacteria can form spores that spread through the environment, thus making it highly contagious.
Observing the clinical symptoms exhibited by the sick hamster helps in making an initial diagnosis. Your veterinarian will then collect fecal or blood samples and attempt to identify the bacterial species responsible for the infection. However, blood tests are only sometimes accurate in these cases. Your veterinarian will use his or her best judgment in devising an appropriate course of treatment.