Friday, October 30, 2015

2346. Email diagnosis: A dwarf hamster has a gigantic ear tumour?


Hi, I texted one of your colleagues regarding a hamster which I have adopted two days back. Two days back, I adopted two 1~2 year old hamsters from a friend who is migrating overseas. One of the hamsters has a super huge growth on the head where the ear is supposed to be. It looks super painful and uncomfortable.

Also, the hamster seems to be having watery stools and appears deformed. It's fur seems to be yellowish as well. My sister said that it is old, and would probably be better to be put down, but I wanted to check if it could be saved and live a normal life if possible.

 The two hamsters have been at my place for two days. I noticed the one with the huge growth does not seem to eat or sleep much. On query, my friend told me that he had brought it to a vet before when the tumor was smaller. The doctor said it wasn't advisable to operate as it was already old and gave him some ointments which didn't seem to work. He stopped after the fourth visit as the vet seems to be just visually checking the tumor.

He claimed that the tumor continued to grow very quickly despite the ointment and the hamster seemed to be balding, so he stopped administering the ointment to it. I have attached a picture of the hamster with its tumor. Please take a look and provide some advice on what I, or we, can do to help it. I may not check my email regularly, so please so text me at 9xx.

Thank you so much. Regards, J



 I am Dr Sing K Y. Thank you for your email. You posted one view. It appeared to be an ear tumour. If it is purely an ear tumour and the hamster is in good health, lit can be excised. If the hamster is sick (not eating, diarrhoea), the risk of dying under anaesthesia is high and so you have to decide whether you want to take the risk.


On Oct 31, 2015, a Myanmar lady living in Tampines brought in a 2-year-old winter white dwarf hamster with the gigantic ear tumour as seen in the above email diagnosis case. I was surprised at the coincidence of the two hamsters having the same surgical condition.  

"Why didn't you come earlier when the tumour is very small?" I asked the lady.
"It grows very big only during the last month," she replied.

Despite the high risk of death from anaesthesia, she consented to the anaesthesia and surgery. Dr Daniel operated after getting the informed consent and signing the form.

Anaesthesia was Zoletil IM and isoflurane gas. The hamster survived and went home. Post-op survival depends much on the health of the hamster.

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