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Sick Hamster - Signs and Treatment of Wet-tail

Updated on February 16, 2010


Hamsters are not the only small animal that can get "wet-tail," but they are the most common small animal to succumb to it. Chinchillas, rabbits, gerbils, rats, and mice, can all get wet-tail, as it is caused by stress. For the most part wet-tail is nothing more than extreme diarrhea. Without treatment, your pet can die within 24-48 hours, all depending on how soon you catch it. Once your hamster has had wet-tail and has been treated, he cannot get the illness again.

What Causes Wet-tail

As I mentioned above, wet-tail is stress related.

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

Baby hamsters are more succeptable to wet-tail than juvenile and adult hamsters.

Symptoms of Wet-tail

The symptoms may not appear for a few days or so, but once they set in, you can see various symptoms.

  • Wet bottom end
  • Smell/ foul odor
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excess sleeping
  • Not grooming itself
  • Walking with a hunched back

The most obvious symptom will be the wet bottom, tail area.

Wet-tail Treatment

Well, luckily there are several products out today that can help cure wet-tail. You can take a trip to most of your local petstores to include Petsmart and Petland to grab a bottle of 'Dri-Tail' or 'Wet-tail Drops.' Or, you can go to a vet that sees hamsters, and he can put the hamster on Baytril or Sulfatrim.

Personally, I have had better luck with 'Dri-Tail' than with the vet prescribed medicines.

Prevent Wet-tail

For a new hamster, you can prevent wet-tail by (1) having the cage completely set up before bringing home the hamster, (2) set the hamster up in his cage and leave him alone for a MINIMUM of 1-2 days allowing him time to adjust to his new surroundings, and (3) set up the cage in a quiet place with less traffic.

If you already have a hamster that you're worried about, (1) watch how much you handle the hamster, (2) watch the duration he is out of his tank, (3) try not to change his food or surroundings drastically, and (4) do not add any new hamsters in with him.

Pebbles and Rocky
Pebbles and Rocky

My Story with Wet-tail

At one time, I had three hamsters (two girls and one boy). Rocky, the boy, was supposed to be a female, but he grew up a boy (ha). He bonded very closely to Pebbles, so I kept him caged with Pebbles, and moved Roxy into another cage, as she was heavily pregnant. Living together for months and having a litter of babies, Rocky and Pebbles became a husband/wife couple. Where one was, the other was not too far behind. It was actually rather cute. Until, my boyfriend was trying to clean the cage one day and, not paying attention, slammed the lid back on. Well, I found poor Rocky with his head caught in-between two tubes where the tube from the lid and the tube from the base met. Pebbles was on the other side of the cage, heavily pregnant at this point, not moving and not eating. Realizing that she had wet-tail as she was upset of the death of her husband, I quickly ran to Petland and bought 'Dri-Tail.' She was almost cured of the illness, when she had her litter. This stressed her body out so much more, and even though she was almost cured of wet-tail, she ate the babies a few days after she had them and died shortly after. She knew her body could not take it with the stress of labor and what was left of wet-tail. (So currently, I just have Roxy left of the original three. She is doing fine as she had not been housed with either Pebbles or Roxy for months prior to the incident.)

At work, daily, I see hamster after hamster getting wettail. Many of the hamsters are on a heavily walked section of the store. With people knocking on the cages, peering in, and just plain walking by constantly, the hamsters stress easily. I have helped to cure many hamsters of wet-tail using the leftovers of my 'Dri-Tail' as well as the vet's prescribed medicines.

Wet-tail is not a pretty illness for hamsters to get, and if not caught early enough not even vet prescribed medicines or commercial brand medicines will heal the hamster. Your best bet with wet-tail is to keep a commercial brand on hand in case, and try to watch the environment of the hamster, to include placement of the cage and how/duration of handling time.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a specialized reptile veterinarian.


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    • profile image

      lea 3 years ago

      what doesit mean when a hamster gets a brown tail

    • profile image

      Me 3 years ago

      I really hope that my hamster doesn't get wet tail I am probably going to get an older one soon but I still hope that it doesn't get wet tail thanks for the advice I'm just trying to find a small pet and my friend has a hamster so I decided that I should get one too. What should I do if my hamster isn't cured by the dry-tail and I don't have a vet to take it to. Thanks.

    • profile image

      noname 5 years ago

      my hamster is a winter white and he has a wet chin/throat. underneath his body. is that a sign of wet tail

    • profile image

      gaby 1 year old 5 years ago

      help my hamster has a brown wet bottom!!!!!

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      lee machado 5 years ago

      My hamster got medication thru the tube into the mouth and its the 3rd day and he just looks worse and worse and now is just sleeping and will not move or eat at all. Meds do not help at all.

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      Sooty 5 years ago

      Hi, I got my hamster a week ago now, noyiced on the second day of having her that she had the sytoms of wet tail, I took her to the vets who prescribed baytril. She now seems more active, is eating and drinking again and her poo is becoming morr solid....does this mean she ks recovering from it?

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      Kaylee 5 years ago

      my hamster just has a seasure so i put in his symptoms after what happened. it came up with wet tail and said stress somewhat causes it, but he hasn't been stressed. maybe he got an infection because my grandfather had a severe infection in his surgery wound. he might be stressed though too because he has been alone because my grandfather is in the hospital. do you know what to do for hamster seasures?

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      laura 5 years ago

      A few days ago I noticed my hamster was acting differently. I googled the symptoms and came across wettail. She had some symptoms but I was not sure until this morning when her backend was soaking. I panicked and phoned the store i purchased her from an made a vet appointment. In the end, I took her back to the store where she has hopefully been treated and I got a new hamster, we only had our hamster 5days when she had wettail.

    • profile image

      honey 5 years ago

      my hamster is sick of wet tail I love her very much and don't want her to die what can I do.

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      buttercup14 5 years ago

      hi, i think my hamster has wetail, she has 6 out of 7 of the symptoms, i'm really worried about her because she is my 2 and only 4 months old. my mom also wont let me take her to avet.

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      Rob 5 years ago

      My syrian hamster named tomy has wet tail. I just transferred him to another newly cleaned glass cage with tissue paper beddings and put it in a dark silent place to lessen the stress of tomy also i added some dried food mix in front of him. Im just hoping that it will help him to recover from his wet tail :( any suggestions what else can i do? Thanks in advance more power hamster lover.

    • profile image

      Bree 5 years ago

      Um my hamster well a robo has wet tail and I think she might die tomorrow

    • profile image

      Korey pink 5 years ago

      My hamster barley wakes up is that bad?

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      Kittykat 5 years ago

      I had a hamster die of wet tail . But when i went to clean the cage i found old blood in a nest.

      I got a new hamster now but if your hamster dies of wet tail make shudder you clean the cage with hot soapy water. It will kill of the bacteria because i heard somewhere wetail is contaigus! Just be carefull with new hamsters

    • profile image

      Mandy melody milly 5 years ago

      I thought my hamster had this but turns out it was a tumour and she had to be put down :( my advice is to see a vet the instance you see something odd!

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      Teddybearhmstr 5 years ago

      Hi…… this is my 2nd hamster i just got her and she seems to have diarrah and her belly is sorta wet not really but she has not eaten but she has been sleeping and active no hunchback either just dirraih im worried i also read somewhere else that teddy bear hamsters are more likely to get this is it true? I just got her today is it too soon to declare that was it just the moving and stuff idk im confuzzed plz help:)

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      Sad hammy/lily k 5 years ago

      Does anyonu know what dark brown pee means

      Is it diarreah?


    • profile image

      Sad hammy/lily 5 years ago

      PLESE HELP!!!!!!


      plz help me I don't want him to die !?? :(

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      Jenn 5 years ago

      my long haired hamster peanut died last night. she wasn't drinking or eating much in the last few days. i cant stop crying. she was so sweet and gentle. i am glad shes not in pain anymore but i miss her. i held her as she took her last breath. i hate when my babies die, feels like a piece of me died as well

      reat in peace peanut i love you

    • profile image

      Lily k 5 years ago


      My hamster is male and wil be one in febuary this year. I do not feed him fresh veggies but his mix has corn and sunflower seeds which are his favorite. I really hope you answer me because I am so scared for him and I love him more than everything I own.

      Signed sad hammy :(

    • profile image

      Lily k 5 years ago

      My hamster has dark brown pee

      And a lot of it. It has been off and on every few days! Is this diarrhea or a sign of illness????

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      Jenna 5 years ago

      I have wrote on this page twice before and i had my third hamster then.It was going fine it was six weeks and i let it out in the morning in its ball and then i went upstairs to clean its cage and it was acting weird that's when i started crying cause i thought that it was going to dye.And it did and i cryed all night and im still upset.My mom said that it didn't have wet tail.But I still didn't know what it was. im sorry to my hamster.


      Max A Million

    • profile image

      tea evard 5 years ago

      my baby hamster has a wet bottom and has a hunched back he is eating and drinking and my vet doesn't take hamsters. i bought some antibiotics but they wont work!

      pleeeeeese help

    • profile image

      corey 5 years ago

      my hamster has wet tail now i know it im skared he might die should i give him green tea.

    • profile image

      Olllie 5 years ago

      My hamsters dying from wet tail as we speak and it's too late to get treatment. It's terribly sad :(

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      MAE Mason 5 years ago

      please I am begging you :'( my hamster has a wet bum and I gave her some food, she ate it. And I saw her grooming herself every 5 mins. But she has all the other symptoms

      PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!:'(

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      jen+ken=bff 5 years ago

      That story is very sad it makes me want to cry i have a hamster and i ? it dearly it frightens me sometimes when it acts weird but it has been 9 days and this is my 3rd hamster and so far everything is okay and i hope that it stays that way i don't know what i would do if i loose this hamster i know that i would be very upset though but i think that this one will live so im happy right now i hope if any bodys hamster gets wet-tail that they need to know that to know to get dry-tail imiditalty

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      Max A Million 5 years ago

      I have had two hamsters and have both past very sad but that's the past they said that they didn't have wet-tail i don't no what is was but here i am living happily with my 3rd hamster i love it dearly? it has been a week now and everythings okay so i know that everything is okay

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      Mina 5 years ago

      When I thirst got my hamster Amy I thought she had wet tail but luckily she did not. It was a case of her being white. However my hamster before (Cathrine)She died because her blood circuit in her leg got cut off because special hamstar fluff got tangled round it.

    • Eileen Goodall profile image

      Eileen Goodall 5 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      If your hamster gets wet tail, or there's blood, or there's pus or a bad smell please please take your hamsters to the vet or a local RSPCA if there's one near you to get a decent opinion, if you catch it early enough they can give it antibiotics and your hamster will recover, even a couple of days can make the difference between your hamster surviving or not.

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      Chelsea 5 years ago

      When my old hamster Pumpkin had wet tail i took her to the doctor and they gave her this medcine, so for those that have a hamster with wet tail take it too the doctors but if you don't take your hamster to the doctors keep your hamsters warm day and night, don't put your hamsters cage in the sunlight, just rap your hamsters cage up with a blanket or your dressin-gown. Ok ? thanks hopefully that should help.

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      TiiNY 5 years ago

      I got a hamster on August 27th. She was a female. A week later, September 3rd, I was cleaning out her cage as I noticed that she was wet on the bottom. I didn't know what it was at first & I ended up finding her dead on Sunday morning. I was so upset because I got attached so quickly, she was gorgeous! Luckily, I had a 15 day warranty. I went Sunday afternoon to Petco & I was able to exchange her for another one. I got a male. He's white and grey & has red eyes. Nothing will ever replace my female hamster though. :( The manager that helped me out at Petco with the exchange told me that cabbage is good for hamsters. He also told me that a cool breeze could also kill your hamster. Now I know what I should and shouldn't do with my hamster. :)

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      lorrena 5 years ago

      if your hamster survives from wet tail it takes 7days too wet tail disappear. my advice next time buy a hamster which will be 9 or 12 weeks old, older hamsters has bigger chance to survive from wet tail than younger hamsters. ohno: how old is your hamster?

    • profile image

      lorrena 5 years ago

      ohno: if she has a wet tail you should take her to the wet immediately, wet tail is a deadly diseases , she can die 24-48 hours! best thing take her to the wet, after when the wet gives antibiotics , keep her warm, take out all her items from the cage, put lots of bedding and make for her a nest, then give her antibiotics every 2-3hours about 2 drops, try to give her a non flavor yogurt, but don't give her any vegetables fruits for a couple weeks!. i had experience with vet tail with my 3 hamsters 1 of the hamsters didn't survive , and 2 hamsters survive now they're 5 and 6 months old, but im worried about my new hamster which i bought a week ago! i don't know if shes prenant or has wet tail yet, both symptoms is similar!.. i might take her to the vet, and you too take your hamster too before becomes worst!

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      lorrena 5 years ago

      hi i do like to ask you, my hamster has abit wet back, and his tail abit wet too, she was sleeping not in the big house nest because she is only 8 weeks old and small hamster.. she doesn't walk hunched and she eats+ plius drinks a lot of water than it use to drink :O, well i took of the house today and now she made a huge nest, could it be she is pregnant? eats lots , put food in the nest, drinks lots.. but she is abit wet.. can you email the answer to the thanks for your help, im so worried about my new hamster :(

    • profile image

      ohno 5 years ago

      i think my hamster has wet tail. her bottom is wet and there is little fur on it. help?

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      BellaBoo#1 5 years ago

      Hi today i held my hamster bella and she was wet so I looked and her but was wet and she bit me not hard but enough to be like "what are you doing" witch creeped me out cause she bit me once in almost 2 years I have had her and so my mom ordered meds from amazon and I was kinda mad cause I don't want her to die before they get here she got all 3 cause she loves her....haha so I really hope she ok all she has is a wet bum I didn't notice anything else!!

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      Chaz 5 years ago

      Ive had my hamster for about a month now and she has been fine till tonight. I have reilised that her bum is wet and she is walking with a hunch. I tried to handle her tonigh but she bit me gently like i was hurting her I'am phoning the vets first thing tomorrow as I am sooo worried about her Does this mean she might die in the next 24 hours?

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      charlie 5 years ago

      Hi i got my hamster 5 days ago he has wet tail we think and has bin treated by vets for it his bin put on a high fiber liquid diet which i have to suringe feed as his not eating or drinking, is there any thing else i can do to help the runny poo

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      Roborovski101 6 years ago

      I have 2 Robo hamsters. Both are males and live together. When I first got them, they started fighting. Donut has missing fur above his tail and its not growing back. He tail also looks yellow. Is he sick? Should I take him to a vet? Please help!!

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      tinkerbelle 6 years ago

      my hamster is really cold and is bearly moving, it has diarrhea. We have put it in a blanket and a hot water bottle underneath and she is waking up and moving more. Is this wet-tail ?

      please help!!

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      NIcole 6 years ago

      I recently bought a hamster. And about 3 days after g=having her noticed that she is all wet under her back end... It smells like urine. And she is sleeping a lot more than usual , she didn't wake up to play on her wheel lastnyt like she normally does and im really worried. Could anyone please give me some advice as i love her to bits and really dnt want to lose her.

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      susan 6 years ago

      I have 2 dungariam dwarf hamsters. We got one 2 start w/ another a few days later so she wouldn't b lonely. We introduced them on a large play area first b4 caging them 2gether. It seems that they keep fussing and squaking @ each other. I want to keep them both because I have fell in love with them, but I don't want them hurtn each other. Any ideas??? And the one hamster does have a wet tail but her fecal matter is solid. Its like when she pee's her entire lower belly is wet. I've researched wettail and it doesn't appear that's the case @ all. So y is she wet on her lower belly???

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      - - - - - - -  6 years ago

      @Kathy Hogue

      The white liquid is the urine of the hamster.

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      Lacey 6 years ago

      You are an idiot u killed your hamster and write it on here as if its nothing you are not even supossed to put 2 syrian hamsters together because they will kill each other and also shop brought medecines for wetail are the worst, they mask symptoms and don't cure them. You are selling this advice which people may well follow and end up doing more harm to their hamsters than good.

      If you want advice you should seek a vet.

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      Lily 6 years ago

      Are your hamsters still alive?

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      Carla 6 years ago

      Please help Me!!

      I think my hamster has wet tail though we only saw the first couple of symptoms last nite. My hamster Elmo has just turned 1 and has never had any problems before. I just got him out and he isn't interested in eating food( which is strange coz he loves food) or drinking and is walking quite slowly with a bit of a hunch back! Should I go and get the wettail over the counter stuff or go to a vet immediately?? im rele worried, i love elmo and i don't want him to die :'(

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      abbie 6 years ago

      my hamster teddy. has diareah all over his rear end does he have wet tail he sleeps a lot but i can put him in his ball and hes active he has a foul odor i already got some wet tail treatment for him and i put it in his water but he wont drink anything im scared pleaseee help me

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      jericha 6 years ago

      i had 6 hamster and i just baught a new one and 2 had wet tail one that had wet tail was peparica and when i got a new one i named it peper this is my last one but know i know that wet tail is very deadly to hamsters if not ceard and know i know how to cear it thanks for reading this by jericha

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      cinnamons mom 6 years ago

      she has wet tail, and Im giving er the water bottle treatment. I just figured out today that it was too high for her. I held her up to it, ( we got her a week ago) and she drank some.I als placed the bottle lower

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