Tuesday, September 5, 2017

3133. Email advice: A dwarf hamster has a large ear tumour. Surgery is needed

Dear Dr Sing Kong Yuen,

My hamster - M, dwarf hamster has ear wart for nearly a month, I have attached a picture of his ear.  I was overseas when she happened, and my aunt helped me to look after my hamster when this happened.  
She did took M to a vet on 13 Aug, but the vet simply prescribled antibiotics and anti inflammation medicine.  The dosage was a drop of each medicine for 10 days, stop for a week, and then continue the dosage.  M is currently still on this medication.  His wart did not get better hence I was googling and found your youtube videos.  So I understand the only viable treatment is surgery to remove the entire ear as his wart is pretty big.

I do have some concerns, so hope for your advice if M is a suitable candidate for surgery.

1. He is about 18 months old, I am not 100% sure about his age as he is adopted but I think this is a good estimation.  He eats well, and drink abnormally a lot of water. He is always drinking.  His poo is super soft since last October, when press a bit, it comes apart like mashed potatoes.  
I brought him to 2 vets before, first vet gave antibiotics, Fibreplex and vitamins, dosage for a week.  Hamster didnt show improvement, I brought him to a second vet for second opinion.  Second vet said soft poo could be due to many reasons, hamster is too small to be diagnose accurately, leave him be so long he is active and can eat and drink.  So hamster is kept as he is. However I worry this means something is wrong with him, and he may not be strong enough to take surgery.  The poo is like dirty green in color currently, I think there is some red once you squash it.  I think its either there is blood in his poo, or he cannot digest properly, hence his poo takes some of the color of the food he eats.

2. He has a small red....lump/wart at his anus too.  It developed suddenly, months after the soft poo, so i do not think these 2 are co-related, but it didn't affect him, the lump is constant in size and didnt grow.

Could you advise if you think M is still a suitable candidate for surgery to remove his ear and ear wart? Could you give an indication of the approximate cost as well?

Thank you.

Name of owner


Sep 5, 2017

Over the phone consultation, the owner advised to stop all medication.
Presently, the hamster has loose stools for several months since "October 2016".

Not a healthy candidate for surgery. To review in 7 days' time.Approximate cost of surgery and anaesthesia is $250.


Zoletil 100 anaesthesia IM
Isoflurane gas top up via endotracheal tube
3 tumours excised.
Left armpit lump massive. Ligate ventral stalk to prevent bleeding.
Skin incision. Lots of bleeding but not critical blood loss.

Old age - anaesthetic risk high
Massive tumour - longer anaesthetic time, increase risk of death on op table. 

Tumour will not disappear with oral medicine, but some vets will prescribe this method of treatment.

Surgical removal is the only option
High anaesthetic risk of death if tumour is so massive and some vets may not want to operate, but prescribe oral medication. 

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