Wet Tail in Hamsters – What is it & how to treat it?

sick hamster

There are lots of different health problems and medical conditions that hamsters can develop over time.

It is important that you are familiar with some of these things, including “wet tail”.

This is something that can have a profoundly negative impact on your hamster’s overall health.

Basics of Wet Tail

Wet tail is a condition that develops in some hamsters as a result of bacteria called Campylobacter jejuni. It is usually the result of a change in gut flora due to excess stress. This high level of stress could be due to a sudden change in environment or something else.

It is important to keep in mind that wet tail is a very contagious condition, so you’ll need to keep your hamster quarantined while they are being treated.  This condition gets its name from the wet tail that hamsters get, which is the result of diarrhea.

Causes of Wet Tail

There are numerous potential causes of wet tail that you will need to know about. The more you learn about what causes this condition, the more effectively you can prevent it in your pet hamster.

1. Unclean Cage

Unsanitary living conditions can cause a hamster to contract wet tail. If you don’t make a point of cleaning your hamster’s cage or habitat on a regular basis, bacteria can form. This ultimately puts the wellbeing of your pet at risk.

It is crucial for you to clean your hamster’s cage at least once every week. This can go a long way towards helping to keep them as healthy as possible. Make sure that you use soap and water when cleaning out the cage.

2. Malnutrition

An inadequate diet can also cause your hamster to develop wet tail. If they are not getting all of the nutrients they need, their immune system can become weakened. This makes your hamster more susceptible to disease and illness.

You will need to make a point of giving your hamster food that is highly nutritious and formulated to match their dietary needs. These animals require a lot of protein in their daily diet, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.

hamter stone

3. Stress/Anxiety

Another possible explanation for your hamster’s wet tail is excess stress levels. There are many things that can cause these animals to become stressed, such as being handled at too young of an age. They can also become extremely anxious if they are kept in an area of the house that is very noisy or has a lot of people.

You should keep your hamster’s cage in a part of your home where people don’t go very often. This will help keep your pet calm so they can stay as healthy as possible. The more stressed your hamster is, the more likely they are to have problems with their immune system.

4. Side Effect of Medication

Certain antibiotics can cause stomach problems in hamsters. These stomach issues can result in your hamster developing wet tail. It is important that you are aware of all the potential side effects of any medication your hamster might require.

Signs of Wet Tail to Look for

There are certain symptoms of wet tail that you will need to be aware of. The more you learn about these symptoms, the easier it will be to recognize this condition in your pet.

Some of the more common symptoms of wet tail include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Swollen belly
  • Lethargic behavior/inactivity
  • Anal prolapsed
  • Lack of appetite

While this condition doesn’t always present with the same exact symptoms for every hamster, it these are the signs you should look out for. If you notice your hamster exhibiting any of these things, you should get them to the vet right away.

Risk Factors

Older hamsters are definitely at more of a risk for developing wet tail due to their naturally weaker immune system. Baby hamsters are also at great risk for the same reason. Senior hamsters cannot clean themselves as effectively as younger ones, which can lead to wet tail.

It is very important that you keep a close eye on your hamster if it is very old or young. These hamsters are particularly vulnerable to a variety of things that can take a serious toll on their health.

djungarian hamster

Treating Wet Tail

The good news is that wet tail is a treatable condition that most hamsters can fully recover from with antibiotic medication. Your veterinarian will prescribe a course of antibiotics for your hamster.

It is crucial that you act quickly once you notice the symptoms of wet tail in your hamster. These animals can die from this condition just a couple days after they start exhibiting symptoms.

Your vet will likely prescribe medication to stop your hamster’s diarrhea as well. Severe diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which is also very dangerous.

How to Prevent Wet Tail

One of the best ways to keep your hamster from getting wet tail is to clean their cage on a regular basis. A clean environment will help a lot when it comes to keeping your rodent friend healthy over the long term.


  • Wet tail is a condition hamsters can get that is caused by a certain type of bacteria.
  • This condition gets its name from the wet tail hamsters that contract it get, which is due to watery diarrhea.
  • A lot of hamsters that are kept in unsanitary conditions end up contracting wet tail, which can be fatal if it is not treated quickly.
  • Hamsters that are very stressed or anxious are more likely to get wet tail as well.
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