Hamster Wet Tail: Symptoms, Treatment, Survival Rate

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Hamsters are prone to a few illnesses. Most of them are not fatal and should be able to treat at home. However, hamsters can be hard to look after when sick due to a short temper, this is when you need help from experienced vets.

When sickness is left untreated, this could lead to very serious situations and can even be deadly. A hamster wet tail is an infection from bacteria and often leaves a hamster very weak. This sickness is not easy to treat and usually requires attention from a vet.

A wet hamster tail is one of the most common illnesses a hamster might experience at least once in their lifetime. In this article, we will talk about wet tail hamster. What are the reasons for wet tail, what symptoms of a wet tail, how to treat it, and when it’s time to see a vet?


4 images - a hamster being held by a person with statoscope in the background, a hamster in the cage, and two hamster sleeping - Hamster Wet Tail

A wet tail is when the rear end of a hamster including the tail is constantly wet. It is also called proliferative ileitis or regional enteritis. It is called a wet tail because the discharge that comes from the anus keeps the hamster’s tail wet.

It’s a severe illness that can be fatal to hamsters. Wet tail’s symptoms are quite similar to diarrhoea making it harder to identify. This is the reason it’s vital to contact an exotic vet right away instead of guessing if your hamster is sick from a wet tail or wet diarrhoea.

What causes wet tail in hamsters

The cause of a wet tail in hamsters has always been unclear since it could be triggered for many reasons. The most common is when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the hamster’s intestines. It is a very serious health issue and must be treated right away.

A change in diet, consumption of water-based vegetables, eating too much, and ingesting food or items that a hamster shouldn’t be eating can be one of the reasons why a hamster experience a wet tail.

A sudden change of environment can also trigger a wet tail, such as bringing the hamster from the pet store to your own home and their cage. If you change the cage setting too often can also cause a wet tail. Stress is one of the common reasons a hamster will suffer from a wet tail, although it has never been proven, any hamster owners believe this.

Filthy sand baths and bedding could also contribute to hamsters developing a wet tail.

Symptoms of wet tail in hamsters

A wet tail is often called diarrhoea as well. This is because the runny discharge that keeps the tail wet is usually yellow in colour and very smelly-like poop. When a hamster stays a lot in the sandbath, this could be a big sign that your hamster is experiencing a wet tail.

This is because when a hamster is suffering from a wet tail, they had the urge to pee and poop all the time. Usually, the sand bath only needs to be changed to new one 2-3 times a week. When a hamster is met with a wet tail, you will notice that the sand is very wet and stinky in just a few hours after changing it.

A hamster might also have lost appetite and act more lethargic. It will spend a lot of time sleeping and not wanting to come out of the cage except to go to the sandbox.

DISCLAIMER: We are not veterinarians. Please contact an exotic vet to help your hamster with any health issues.


If you suspect that your hamster has a wet tail, the first to do is to observe their behaviour and do a physical. Check if your hamster has a yellowish discharge and funky smell on its rear end. See how often it goes to the sandbath and if the sand gets dirty too fast. Remember to wear medical gloves when holding your hamster.

If this is the case but your hamster is still moving and acting fine, the first thing to do is to move the sand bath near the hideout to help your hamster move. Next, contact an exotic vet right away and make sure to get an appointment within 24 hours. If your hamster is already showing signs of weakness, it’s essential to bring it to the vet as soon as possible.

Depending on your vet, they might send your hamster home right away or decide to keep it overnight. The vet has to provide the proper medication, which you cannot do because of how vital it is that the correct dosage is given.

If the infected hamster lives with its siblings (assuming they are all younger than 6 weeks hence the sharing of the cage), make sure to separate all of them from one another. A hamster wet tail is highly contagious and must be stopped from spreading to other hamsters.


Can hamsters survive wet tail? Hamster wet tail has a 90% mortality rate. Within just 2-3 days, a hamster could die from a wet tail if left untreated. This is why it’s crucial to contact a vet right away. We always recommend our readers to have at least 2 exotic vets in their contact list in case the other one is busy or cannot see you right away.

Unfortunately, there are no home remedies for a wet tail, but the vet will give you tips on how to prevent your hamster from suffering from wet tail again. You will also get


It’s understandable that many hamster owners get confused between diarrhoea and hamster wet tail. It is hard to know the difference. The most straightforward way to tell if your hamster has diarrhoea or a wet tail lies on the discharge.

In diarrhoea, there’s often a solid poop that comes in the discharge. It can be light or dark in colour and produces an awful smell. A hamster’s wet tail is all liquid, often light in colour but very smelly.

However, remember that the difference is hard to tell. Diarrhoea could still produce liquid-like discharge, and you won’t be able to distinguish the two. The best thing to do is assume the worst and contact the vet. It’s best to prepare for the worse and get help from a professional.


A hamster’s wet tail is a fatal health issue. It requires fast action and attention from exotic vets to administer antibiotics that you cannot get over the counter and cannot measure the right amount. If you suspect your hamster has a wet tail, contact the vet immediately instead of second-guessing. Your quick response and action could be the saving decision for your pet hamster’s life.

I hope that you found this article on hamster wet tail helpful. Please remember that we are not vets.


Wet tail in hamsters is a serious condition characterized by diarrhea and lethargy, often caused by stress or bacteria. It's critical to seek veterinary care promptly as it can be life-threatening. via @thehamstercareblog

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