Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He works with dogs, cats, exotics, and livestock.
Can I Give My Hamster an Antifungal Pill for Ringworm?
"Along with Ketochlor shampoo, Chlorhexiderm has been very effective in clearing up Ringworm on our Syrian Hamster. But there's still a small patch on his head that he won't let us treat because of aggression (he's had enough).
As a last resort, we are contemplating crushing an antifungal such as Lamisil (or whatever we can get our hands on) to put in his food. Any thoughts or suggestions?" —D & L Bergeson
Ringworm Pills Can Be Dangerous for Hamsters
Your hamster only weighs about 100 grams. There is no way to crush up a tablet meant for a huge animal like a human and put it in food without overdosing your pet. Antifungals can cause liver damage, and there is no way to prevent this if you overdose with oral meds. Please do not do that.
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Topical Treatments Are Best
The best way to treat a fungal infection on the skin is still topical. It is a much better way to treat since another problem with oral antifungals is they take so long to work. When you give oral fungal meds, the medication becomes embedded in the skin cells at the base; it is only as they grow and move up towards the surface that they become effective. (1)
Try an Eyedropper of Liquid Medication
Even though your hamster is not allowing you to shampoo the top of his head, he might allow you to drop liquid medication on there every day. Instead of getting one of the creams (which have to be rubbed in) like Desenex, you should buy an eye-drop formulation. I sometimes use eye drops instead of creams for patients that just lick the creams off, and they are very effective in spots like ringworm.
Just try not to get bit! Hopefully he will calm back down once all of this is finished.
- Kyle AA, Dahl MV. Topical therapy for fungal infections. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2004;5(6):443-51. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15663341/
This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Dr Mark