Hamster papovavirus (HaPV) is a DNS virus which causes cutaneous tumours, lymphoma and infection in the kidney which then spreads the virus by urine and then may take 5-30 weeks to develop following infection.
Papovavirus infection has been known in both European and Syrian Hamster colonies in Europe and the US since the 1960s. However, it has been rare until recently when outbreaks have occurred in the UK and Sweden.
The first symptoms are grainy lumps that can be felt in the skin around the back of the neck. Wart like lumps then appear around the face, head and neck which then thicken. The virus then spreads internally and there may be internal bleeding and the hamster may appear lethargic.
The disease is fatal and there is currently no known treatment.