Wet-tail

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A hamster

Wet-tail or proliferative ileitis, is a disease in rodents kept in cages, mainly hamsters, but can include rabbits, gerbils, rats, and mice. It is caused by stress. Even with treatment, the animal can die within 24-48 hours.[1] Baby hamsters are much more likely to get the disease than older hamsters. It commonly is found when the hamster is being weaned at about four weeks of age.

Causes[change | change source]

Wet-tail is a disease in the animal's intestines caused by the bacteria, Lawsonia intracellularis.[2] Wet-tail is stress related. The stress can be caused by:

  • Too much handling
  • Change in environment
  • Change in diet
  • Inadequate cage cleaning
  • Being away from mother and/or siblings
  • Death of a mate

Symptoms[change | change source]

The symptoms may not appear for several days. The main symptom is the animal has a wet tail, matted with faeces. Other signs of the disease are[1]:

  • Smell/ foul odor
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excess sleeping
  • Walking with a hunched back

Treatment[change | change source]

There are drugs to treat wet-tail which can be bought from pet shops. A vet may choose to give the animal other drugs. The sick animal should be kept in a cage by itself so that others do not catch the disease.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Gastrointestinal Diseases" (in English). The Merck Veterinary Manual. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/171530.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  2. "Wet Tail" (in English). Pets Hub. December 2009. http://petshub.com/blog/wet-tail/. Retrieved 2010-05-28.