Wet Tail is a contagious bacterial disease primarily effecting Syrian hamsters. It is oftentimes fatal, but can be treated.

The disease itself is often mistaken with diarrhea, its most obvious symptom. Diarrhea is a good indication that your hamster may have Wet Tail, but it should be a diarrhea so severe that the hamster is unable to maintain cleanliness around the anal area, so that a profuse wetness appears around the anus and top of the tail. Hence the name "Wet Tail."

Other symptoms include:

  • Their feces should will be accompanied with a highly unpleasant odor. Yes, I know: feces don’t smell pretty anyway. Let’s just say Wet Tail feces smells down right nasty. Trust me, you’ll know the difference.

  • Their feces will also pale in color and soften in texture. It may also contain mucus.

  • The poor little hamster will often walk hunched up, because, well, if your butt was soaked with pee and poop, you wouldn’t want it touching anything either.

  • As the symptoms continue to manifest the hamster will grow extremely lethargic.

  • It may also begin squealing in pain.

What causes Wet Tail?


Do you remember how bad high school was? Well Wet Tail most often afflicts young hamsters near the end of their weaning period, which is like a human’s puberty and hence MASSIVELY STRESSFUL.

Do you remember the anxiety of your first day at college? Well Wet Tail’s second largest victims are newly purchased hamsters. This is mainly because stupid owners bring them home, let them stew in the tiny pet store 3X6” cardboard box while they take an hour setting up its cage, then toss them in and bang the sides when it doesn’t perform cartwheels.

Don't be that guy.

Let the poor thing get used to its home. This is a drastic change for the hamster. Therefore it’s recommended that you have the cage set up before you bring it home, and for gawd sakes, let the thing chill a day or two before trying to teach it to fetch woodchips.

How can Wet Tail be treated?

Timing is crucial. Wet Tail’s symptoms take 7 days to manifest, but once in effect, the hamster usually dies within 24 hours. Death often occurs by dehydration, as the hamster’s system just can’t maintain the necessary fluids. Sometimes the poor thing will simply give in to the pain and lethargy and refuse to eat or drink. Therefore it’s imperative that you help it immediately. Over-the-counter cures, such as Dry Tail, are often effective in minor cases, but for hamsters that look like they’re on their deathbeds, you MUST see a vet.

And also remember that Wet Tail is a contagious disease, so be sure to quarantine the afflicted from any other hamsters you may own. Its cage and toys should also be cleaned with disinfectants before it or any other hamster uses them again.

Sources: http://www.petwebsite.com and my own observations.