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Tyzzer’s Disease in Hamsters

Tyzzers Disease in hamsters
Tyzzer's disease is an serious condition, an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium piliforme. It’s highly contagious and can be passed from hamster to hamster very, very quickly… so if you suspect one of your hamsters has Tyzzer’s, separate them immediately.
More often found in young or stressed hamsters (Tyzzer’s can also be found in many other species of rodents), the bacteria affects the digestive system and causes severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is transmitted by spores that spread through the environment, which then contaminate bedding material, food containers, and water. The bacteria can also be spread through contaminated feces. (Again, separate immediately if you suspect your little guy has the infection.) Symptoms include a lack of activity, scruffy coat, diarrhea, and dehydration (although there may not be any symptoms present, and the only realization that something is wrong is the sudden death of the hamster).


Carry him to your exotic veterinarian in a covered cage… we don’t want to chance any spreading of the disease. Your vet should collect fecal or blood samples to try to pinpoint which bacterial species is causing your hammy to be so sick. 

Post-collection and results, they’ll use their exotic vet magic to come up with an appropriate treatment plan, which will almost surely include broad-spectrum antibiotics. Vitamin and mineral supplements are commonly included in treatment plans, too, to help improve overall health and immunity. Because dehydration is also a common symptom, fluids and electrolyte supplements may also be given.

Your veterinarian may decide to administer antibiotics to other hamsters that have been living in the same cage, just to be safe… remember, not all hamsters show symptoms of Tyzzer’s Disease.


The good thing is, you, as a pet owner, can do quite a lot to prevent this disease.

  1. Always, always make sure your hamster’s environment and living space is clean. (We should do this anyway.) Replace (and remove) bedding every week. If you notice a funky smell coming from your hammy’s cage, you’re waiting too long to clean it.
  2. Wash and disinfect your cage once per month. Even if you’re keeping up on weekly removal and replacing of bedding, we still need to give a good ol’ cleaning once in a while. 
  3. Keep stress levels low! Stress is a very common theme in hamsters getting sick. If they’re sleeping, don’t wake them up. Too much activity or loud noises are a no-no. Don’t let anyone mistreat or mishandle. These are things we should be doing as good pet owners, but if your hamster is telling you something and giving you clues to how they’re feeling... listen to them. 
Again, this disease is rare in hamsters that live in tidy environments, are well cared for, and not subject to much stress. Continue being observant. Doing so will greatly lower the chance of your pet getting this disease. 

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