Background: Hamsters are popular companion animals which may present to veterinarians for treatment of skin diseases. Most descriptions of dermatoses in hamsters have primarily been in case reports and in text books. Hypothesis/Objectives: To document skin diseases and their prevalence in companion hamsters examined in northern California, USA, and Nantes, France, and to investigate predilections for the most common conditions documented in medical records over a 33 year or 15 year period, respectively. Animals: One hundred and one hamsters from two hospital populations. Methods and material: A computerized search of medical records of all hamsters seen at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC-Davis in California, USA, from 1 January 1985 to 1 January 2018, was performed using the key search words “skin” and “dermatitis”. The medical records of all hamsters presenting to the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire, Nantes, from 1 September 1998 to 1 December 2013, were reviewed for skin diseases. The presence of lesions noted in key search words for the California records were used as inclusion guidelines for both institutions. Cases of suspected mammary neoplasia were excluded. Results: Of the 65 hamsters seen in California, 34 (54%) had skin disease; of a total of 164 hamsters in Nantes, 67 (41%) had skin disease. Nodules were the most common lesions noted by both institutions. Conclusions and clinical importance: Cutaneous conditions in companion hamsters are common. Clinicians should include a dermatological examination when examining these rodents.
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