Thursday, May 13, 2010

The plump aged dwarf hamster

May 12, 2010


I excised a large hard fatty tumour of around 1 cm x 1 cm 12 days ago. It had pus and the owner had just discovered its presence. Zoletil IM and isoflurane gas anaesthesia were effective for this fat hamster who was 2 years old, nearly the end of her lifespan.

I stitched large skin wound with three 6/0 absorbable sutures. Hamster went home on the same day. The right eye had a thickened upper eyelid due to pus infection. I asked the owner to wait while I went to my car to get the camera to take a picture of the clean wound with little bleeding. The owner could not wait and disappeared in the waiting taxi.

12 days later, the caring young man consulted me as the hamster had a reddish lump in the operation area. "For the first 3 days, there was some bleeding under the skin. The hamster eats a lot and is very active. But what is this lump? Is it an infection?"

"This hamster is old and the hard lump could be the recurrence of his cancer," I said.

"I don't want her to be operated again," the owner said. The hamster may not survive a second anaesthesia.

"Wait and see for the next 7 days. It may be an infection," I gave him oral antibiotics. Malignant tumours do recur even in people. People can get chemotherapy and radiation but this will not be possible for the dwarf hamster.


Aging leads to several problems in this hamster.

1. Both lip commissures are ulcerated and has pus. She still eats the seeds and has an excellent appetite, hiding the seeds inside her pouches.

2. The upper eyelid of the right eye is swollen. This could be hardened pus. I had snipped off part of it. The hamster still rubs her eyes. In one hamster with the same swollen upper eyelids, I snipped off the whole of the upper eyelid with no problems for the hamster. See webpage:

3. The skin of the elbow and other joints have flaky inflamed areas. The owner extended the legs but the hamster bit him. He has to clean off the inflamed skin.

Check your hamster daily and get very small tumours excised by your vet.

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