Are you nuts? You ask me to
collect urine from a dwarf hamster?
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
26 October, 2010
Be Kind To Pets
I could see the look in her eyes. Eyes are windows to the soul
and these eyes flashed a message. I don't claim to possess
telepathy but these eyes texted "Is your mind going to pot?
You ask me to do a mission impossible."
I have had done several hamster tumour removals and treatment,
thanks to the internet group of hamster lovers. But to collect
urine from a hamster for urinalysis? I have not personally
done it. Now I challenge a young vet to get it
How to do it? Think. As a mentor, I must be able to do it.
The young vet's silence was golden. I offered advices like:
"Put the hamster in a cage with a grated flooring. Put a
plastic sheet below the grate. The hamster's urine will pee
down onto the plastic sheet. Tilt the cage slightly so that
the urine will flow downwards to one end. Then, you can
collect the urine and put in a container to be sent to the lab
for urinalysis. It should be a small cage."
Theory is great. Can this be done? Where do we find such a
small cage? When will the hamster pee? How much pee can be
collected. If the hamster pees 0.2 ml, the heat of the
environment will just evaporate the pee.
I believe that many vet schools do not teach the students how
to do it. So many animals to teach. Hamsters are low on the
teaching totem pole.
The ability to perform is important for any young vet in private
practice. the young vet told me that the top graduate in her class
was fired for non-performance. Impressive academic credentials
don't mean a thing in the real world where a veterinary
practice's profitability must be sustainable.
Collecting urine from a dwarf hamster? I must be joking. But
this is a serious matter as the hamster owner had consulted a
vet who had produced an excellent X-ray and from my
examination of the real hamster (after telling her that a
phone call diagnosis would not be possible), I knew I needed
at least one urine test.
To check for urine protein, blood, bacteria as the
possibility of acquired or inherited kidney disorder in
hamsters is suspected. "Blood tests are impossible
in a live dwarf hamster unlike in dogs and cats," I said to
the owner. "A urine test can be done."
So the owner left the hamster at the Surgery. And now, I asked
the young vet to get it done. Veterinary medicine throws up many
situations and challenges. If the young vet could not be successful
in this task, could I show her how to do it? I had asked her to do
it. This was to make her think how to do it. Well, there was
not much time.
The owner would be back in 30 minutes as she
was reluctant to leave the hamster in the Surgery in the first
place. She had specifically made an appointment to see me
through the Surgery phone but I was not given the message. I
apologised to inconveniencing her for a second visit and asked
why she did not phone me personally as she had done when she
wanted a telephone diagnosis.
How to collect urine from a dwarf hamster? Read widely and
take a leaf from practices from other animal species.
Metabolism tests on sheep. What do they do at the science lab
which conducted drug trials and which I have never visited.
20 minutes left before the expected arrival of the lady
hamster owner. I had a brainwave. The urine was collected and
shown to the owner. She was satisfied that she did not waste
her time to seek a second opinion.
I have the pictures of the urine collection process for
veterinary undergraduates who may be tested during
their fifth-year vivas (oral tests).
Urinary Tract Infections and Stones in the dog in Singapore.
To make an appointment:
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326
Be Kind To Pets