Feb 14, 2014. Valentine's Day & 15th day of Chinese New Year.
The dwarf hamster had been scratching for the past few weeks. "Keeps scratching her elbows. Very itchy," the lady took leave from work in her Jurong office to send the hamster for treatment. I checked the past records and on Sep 8, 2013, there was an inflamed right elbow.
Now both elbows and inside the two thighs and above the knees are hairless and red. There were bite marks. The hamster was anaesthesized and the hairs around the inflamed joints clipped and washed. Oral pred was given and the hamster is restricted to eating seeds but no more orange and green coloured pellets common in the hamster food. The bedding is paper now.
It is hard to know the cause of the allergies. The colouring in the food pellets may be a cause as the hamster is not given sand bath nor shampoo or spray.
"Is it serious? Is it serious?" the young lady asked me.
"Yes, if the hamster keeps scratching non-stop to relieve the itch. Sometimes, they pull out their body hairs as I had one case earlier!"
Follow up in 4 weeks.