Prophylaxis of ‘Wet-Tail’ in Hamsters


THOUGH the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is generally free from spontaneous disease1 many laboratory workers have observed in their colonies outbreaks of fatal diarrhœa colloquially known as ‘wet-tail’. This disease has been prevalent in the Wellcome Laboratories of Tropical Medicine, particularly in hamsters subjected to spleen biopsy during the course of screening compounds for leishmanicidal activity2. Indeed in some tests more than half the animals succumbed, most of them dying on the third, fourth and fifth post-operative days. In the early stages of the disease the animals are fractious and anorexic. Diarrhœa soon begins and causes the moist caudal area from which the disease gets its name. Death usually occurs within 48 h.

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SHEFFIELD, F., BEVERIDGE, E. Prophylaxis of ‘Wet-Tail’ in Hamsters. Nature 196, 294–295 (1962).

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