Saturday Oct 17, 2015 morning.
"Think about the high anaesthetic risk resulting in death on the operating table," I advised the father who brought in a 1.5-year-old Winter White dwarf hamster with a left chest subcutaneous tumour as big as a golf ball. Its size was 3 times the size of his head.
Such gigantic tumours send shivers down my spine if surgery is to be done as the death rate exceeds 90% in such cases, in my experience. Death could be post-operation as the hamster might not recover from the anaesthetic drug Zoletil given IM.
"What would you advise?" the father of the 10-year-old girl asked me. "To operate may lead to death. If no operation, the hamster will die of infection and breathing difficulty."
"I would have got the lump removed when it is very small," I said. "For now, surgical removal is the only option as drugs will not shrink the tumour."
"The lump was small, but 2 months ago, it ballooned and grew bigger and bigger!"
The parents and the little girl sat in the waiting room to ponder over the fate of this hamster.
They decided to go for the operattion. Dr Daniel operated. The hamster had a large stitched area on the left chest to neck over 4 cm long!
Bleeding and more bleeding from the wound post operation. The hamster was barely awake when he went home to Pasir Ris in North Singapore as this was a day surgery.
FOLLOW UP ON OCT 18, 2015 11.30 AM
"The hamster slept the whole night," the mother answered my phone call. "Now he is running around, trying to scratch his itchy left neck. He could not reach the stitches as the loose neck skin prevented him from doing it!"
"Keep the wound very clean and give the medication," I advised. "It may recur as it is likely to be cancerous since it grows so fast in the last 2 months."
"Where will the tumour exist?" the mother asked.
"In the same area."
"When?" she asked again.
"As early as 2 months after surgery. Observe for any small lumps."
"Pasir Ris is distant from Toa Payoh. Is there a vet clinic nearby?"
"No," the mother said. "We googled hamster tumour surgery and found Toa Payoh Vets' you tube video of a similar case of hamster tumour operated. That is why we went to you."
This hamster is carefully and daily cared for by the little girl who is only 10 years old. Every day, she will clean up the cage and ensure that the hamster has food. This will be the reason that the parents decide to get the hamster operated.
Oct 19, 2015
I googled "hamster tumour surgery" and found the following:
YOUTUBE VIDEO SEEN BY THE FAMILY OF A DWARF HAMSTER WITH A GIGANTIC TUMOUR EXCISED AT TOA PAYOH VETS