April 1, 2012 12:23 AM (7 hours ago)
Hi Dr Sing,
I do not know if you will get this mail 'in time' or that I may be too late already.
Either way I feel that I would try anything right now to save my beloved hamster.
I am in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Ham is 25 months old, very ripe old age.
Started in Nov last year (he was about 18-19 months old), his health started to decline, I presumed due to old age. He suffered some fur loss, his skin had some small black spots and definitely a decline in activities. I did bring him to our local vet here, who did a skin scraping on the black spots to determine if mites or not, and nothing came about. Ham was then diagnosed with a mild Cushing disease, but was advise to just leave him as he is, since he had no problems living his life.
Fast forward to couple of weeks ago, I noticed Ham had some sores/wound on his belly. Large gaping sores, I brought him to a vet again, and was given an antiseptic cleaning lotion and antibiotics. I faithfully cleaned his wounds twice a day and fed him the antibiotics once a day as instructed by the vet. I noticed the sores healed, but not long after, another one popped up.
Early this week, his health took a rapid decline. I thought things were better since the antibiotics was working. But then I noticed he started to sleep daily, did not eat much and lost his eyesight. He became very weak, and frail, and when picked up, he weight very light and was very limp. He does not eat much and I feed him baby food as it is easy to swallow. He still pees, but have not seen him poo. I thought it was his time to come, as he is an old hamster.
What I did not know, I found out today. And I don;t know if I am too late already. I found he had a lump at his neck (throat area)
The thing was when he started to grow older, he developed loose skins around his neck. It was nothing alarming as it was expected when the hamster gets older, but it might have been these loose skin 'masking' the lump until it is affecting him.
The lump us not very large but visible.
My Q is - is it possible for operations? I am asking because I have been googling and found this site: http://www.sinpets.com/F6/20110323massive-neck-tumour-syrian-hamster-surgery-toapayohvets.htm
But I am in KL Malaysia, my Ham is weak and not as alert as this ham in the picture.
Please can you advise if surgery is even something to attempt in Ham especially in his condition right now. So far I have yet to properly find any vet here reliable and as caring as I have read in that article above..
If you have advise please help, I am willing to take opportunity if there is, to save him. Many thanks!
E-MAIL REPLY FROM DR SING
I am Dr Sing from Toa Payoh Vets. Thank you for your e-mail. It is very difficult to diagnose by e-mail as NOT all hamster lumps are the same.
In reply, from your description, your hamster is lethargic, not eating and has several skin infected areas (most likely owing to a poor immune system). He unfit for anaesthesia and is very likely to die on the operating table. Definitely he is much older than the Syrian hamster with the neck tumour operated by me.
In conclusion, hamster owners do need to check their hamster for skin lumps daily, even under loose skin or hairless skin. Weigh the hamster weekly to ensure no weight loss. Tumours that are small are easily excised.
However, you may need to find a vet who does operations on hamsters as some vets do NOT perform surgeries, but simply prescribe some medications in the hope that the "lumps" will disappear. Some hamster owners consult the pet shop operators who will sell a "cream" to "shrink" the tumours. Both practices usually do not work unless the lump is a small skin abscess.
MOST OLDER HAMSTER TUMOURS CAN BE EASILY EXCISED IF THEY ARE SMALL BUT MOST HAMSTER OWNERS WAIT AND SEE OR USE PET SHOP MEDICATION.