Two brothers in their early 20s brought in a hardy hamster on this bright morning of Labour Day. The hamster weighs 33 g and has two black ulcerated tumours. One below the chest at 2 cm x 2 cm and the other below the left armpit at 8 mm x 6 mm.
"Why didn't you get the tumour removed when it is small?" I asked.
"We asked a vet and he said to leave it alone," the elder brother said that the tumours were present for around 2 months and could be cancerous. As the hamster exercised, the lower part of the tumour got worn out and became infected and now blackened.
I checked the thin hamster's teeth. He had short teeth indicating that he was still eating to survive.
"He had lost a lot of weight," I said. "He does eat judging by his short front teeth being worn out, but he lost weight due to the stress and the tumours sucking up the nutrients."
The elder brother googled " hamster tumour surgery" or something like that and found Toa Payoh Vets. Now, the hamster is so thin, the anesthetic risk is very high. If he can survive the anaethesia, he would be OK with the chest tumour removed first as the left armpit tumour is large too. There would be insufficient skin to stitch up if both tumours are removed. In any case, the chest tumour can be sliced off in 2 seconds as it is now loose under the skin.
Vets who do not wish to operate on hamster tumours may do the owner a service by referring him to another vet who does it.