Parasite Watch: Worms affecting pet hamsters, rats & mice

April 10, 2024

Molesey Vets want owners of small furry pets to be on the lookout for signs of internal parasites, like tapeworms and pinworms, that can infiltrate pet rodents like hamsters, rats and mice. Vet Darren Partridge, at our East Molesey vet practice, explains the potential health threats and signs of worms to watch for at home.

Ask us about small pet parasite treatments

But first, April is National Pet Month so we’d love you to celebrate with us by sharing a photo or video of your tiny companion on our Facebook page!

About tapeworms and pinworms

Tapeworms are common in pet rodents, usually transmitted by consuming infected fleas or lice. After ingestion, tapeworm larvae mature into adult worms within the rodent’s intestines, where they multiply and lay eggs, continuing the infection cycle.

Similarly, pinworms, which are slender, thread-like parasites, can infect the intestines of rodents, often entering when contaminated food or bedding is ingested.

Learn more about caring for hamsters and rats.

Five signs of tapeworm and pinworm infestations:

Darren explains that identifying tapeworms and pinworms in pet hamsters, rats and mice can be challenging, as noticeable symptoms from these parasites may not occur. However you may spot these signs, which indicate a worm infestation:

  • Weight loss persists despite maintaining a normal appetite.
  • Visible segments of worms (specifically tapeworms) resembling small, rice-like pieces in your pet’s faeces or around their anal region.
  • Itching and irritation in the anal area, resulting in increased grooming or scratching behaviour.
  • Displaying lethargy or reduced activity levels compared to usual.
  • A coarse, lacklustre coat may indicate an underlying health concern, including a potential worm infestation.

How to prevent and treat worm infestations

Darren recommends to pet owners that the prevention of worm infestations in pet rodents starts with maintaining good hygiene and sanitation practices. Regularly cleaning your pet’s cage, providing fresh bedding and food, helps reduce the chance of parasite exposure. Furthermore, Darren advises against feeding pet rodents wild-caught insects or raw grains, as they could potentially harbour tapeworm eggs or pinworm larvae

If you suspect your pet hamster, rat or mouse may have a tapeworm or pinworm infestation, get in touch with our Molesey team promptly. Darren or another of our vets can perform a thorough examination and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include deworming medications or other interventions to help eliminate the parasites. Additionally, our vets can offer guidance on preventive measures to reduce the risk of future infestations in your small furry pets.

Remember, early detection and intervention are paramount in managing worm infestations in pet rodents. By staying vigilant and seeking veterinary care at the first sign of trouble, you can help protect your tiny companions from the harmful effects of internal parasites.

Ask us about small pet parasite treatments

Before you go, pop over to our Facebook page and share a photo or video of your small furry pets to celebrate National Pet Month!

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies