Monday, January 21, 2013

1256. Hamster with a popped out eyeball


Date:   23 January, 2013  

Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
The hamster has a popped out eyeball 
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   23 January, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

1256. Hamster with a popped out eyeball

Jan 22, 2013

"She is going to die," the young lady wiped her tears as her 2-year-old female dwarf hamster was sleepy unlike others. The hamster just would not move when held on the palm of her hands. She took her out several times and this would stress out the sleepy hamster which had not eaten and drunk water in the past 2 days and was in great pain.

"Two days ago, the right eyeball just popped out," she said. "Before that there was a white spot in her right eye. I thought it was a cataract."

The hamster's shoulder skin stood up when pulled indicating severe dehydration. The protruded eyeball must be very painful as the hamster can't talk. She just sat still most of the time. The owner was quoted $400 by another vet to do surgery. "I don't have that much money," the student said. "Normally I charge $100-$250" for hamster surgery depending on how complicated it is and the time it takes.

Eyeball prolapse
After eyeball removal

"What are you injecting?" Dr Daniel saw me preparing a small injection of 0.05 ml in a 1-ml syringe and thought I was overdosing this hamster. "It is dextrose saline as he is so lethargic and weak."

"This is a very sick hamster," I said to Dr Daniel when we discussed anaesthesia. He proposed 1 drop of Zoletil IM. "The safest is just isoflurane gas," I said. "The vet needs to be very observant as it is hard to tell when the hamster is fully anaesthesized.

We put the hamster inside a plastic container infused with 5% isoflurane gas. "Count up to 10 and take out. Repeat," I said. Dr Daniel did say 1,2,3...10!" once. The dosage was not enough. He tried again. "Use the mask," I said. But the mask was not effective as it was too big. OK for the baby rabbit.

Basically enucleation of the eyeball is similar to that for the dog. I incise 4 mm on the lateral canthus. Then I clamp the base of the eyeball with forceps. The normal eyeball suddenly popped out and the hamster squeaked. I ceased the procedure and gave the hamster more case. I scrutinised the hamster inside the plastic container. Once he could not move, I quickly took him out within a second. Clamped the eyeball, excised the base with scalpel. Unlike the dog, it was not possible to ligate the optic stalk and blood vessels. Profuse bleeding. I swabbed. Then I cut off the upper and lower eyelids to create two wounds which I sutured with 6/0. The hamster wriggled and I stitched fast 3 interrupted sutures.

"Hold on to his front paws, the scruff of his neck," I said to him. The dwarf hamster is so small that there is no space for both of us. Finally, I sutured the eyelids. It was too cramped for the intern to take a video of the surgery. However she videoed 30 minutes post op and the hamster was busy cleaning himself. Surprisingly, the hamster became much more energetic after removal of the eyeball. It would be attribute to removal of pain and the dextrose saline. So, the owner was glad to see him as she took him home in the afternoon.

Today Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013,  I phoned the young lady. She was most happy. "The hamster drinks a lot," she said. "She is much more alive." It was good news.

1 day after surgery follow up. Hamster was OK.
3 days after surgery, no complaints from the owner. No news is good news in such cases.

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