Monday, August 28, 2017

3128. VIDEO INTERN A Syrian Hamster has 2 large tumours below the throat

August 28, 2017e

"I note that you can remove a hamster's tumour in 5 minutes," the young lady had decided not to let the first vet operate on her Syrian hamster with 2 large subcutaneous tumours below the neck. The hamster had been scratching the affected neck area bald but her appetite is excellent.

If the tumour can be removed in 5 minutes as contrasted to an hour's operation estimated by the first vet, that means that her hamster would likely not die on the operating tumour.  The owner had to sign a consent form for anaesthesia and surgery and she was aware of the anaesthetic death risks.

"5 minutes is possible if the tumour is as small as 5 mm across, but your hamster's tumours are over 2 cm across," I said. "It takes much longer than 5 minutes."

The first vet had warned her: "The tumours are near the major blood vessels and nerves of the neck and the hamster may die during excision of the tumours!"

"What the first vet says is correct," I replied. "If you had got the tumours excised by the vet when it is very small, less than 5 mm across, the risk of damaging the blood vessels and nerves are practically nil."


Hamster tumours usually develop as small lumps in hamsters over one year old. Many young Singapore hamster owners live hectic working and personal lifestyles. Some do not even have time for their retiree parents, let alone the pet at home.

Singapore has so many distractions and entertainment outlets for the young hamster owner and so the hamster's tumour is left to grow. 


Many young Singaporeans procrastinate visiting the vet till the tumours are gigantic as in this case and many others seen at Toa Payoh Vets.

(10 images of hamster tumours operated by Toa Payoh Vets over the 10 years). Many vets do not wish to operate on large hamster tumours. Some will advise oral medication and euthanasia when the infected ulcerated tumours are too large causing the hamster poor health.

Surgical excision is the only treatment but the owner needs to find a vet who does hamster surgery.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT by electrosurgery 

This Syrian hamster had 2 mobile subcutaneous tumours.  The smaller one of 1-cm across is nearer to the major blood vessel.  The larger one of 2.5 cm across is below the throat. This is not going to be a simple operation as the owner expected the hamster to be alive at the end of the surgery.

Surgical excision is the only option. Zoletil 100 IM is given at 0.01 ml and it was sufficient for me to remove the 2 tumours without the need for topping up with isoflurane gas.
I undermine the skin to detach the tumours. Then I clamp the base and excise the tumour using electro-excision to clot the area. For the larger tumour, I ligate the stump of the large tumour to prevent any bleeding. There was no need to ligate the stump of the smaller ltumour. There was no bleeding.  3/0 absorbable sutures were used. The skin was closed by continuous sutures.


The Syrian hamster was all right and went home around one hour later. The owner and her Taiwanese mother were pleased and would give the oral antibiotics and painkillers. It is a joy to see the Syrian hamster alive.


Anaesthetic death is possible if large tumours are operated as they take a much longer time.
Do not procrastinate as hamster tumours never disappear but will grow larger daily.
A 5-minute surgery is possible if the tumour is less than 5 mm across and the risk of anaesthetic death is practically zero.




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