tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS
toapayohvets.com

Date:   06 March, 2010  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pig & rabbits.

Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures

Hamster Abscesses & Other Cases  
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Update:  06 March, 2010

 
2002 Case:  A Hamster Loses His Fighting Spirit  
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Update:  06 March, 2010
toapayohvets.com 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
He was two years old, huddled in the sanctuary which was a corner at the bottom of the stair case whereas most hamsters of his age would be actively checking out the veterinary premises. Occasionally, he scratched himself. He just wanted to be left alone. 

"He has lost so much weight in the past few weeks. Now he is as light as a young hamster," Mr Turkle said.  "He has no more energy even to groom himself." The hamster was becoming emaciated, yet his feed bowl was filled to the brim with seeds including corn and pellets. 
"There's a big lump near his left thigh," Mr Turkle turned the lethargic hamster upside down to show me the small skin ball.  "He used to bite me whenever I tried to hold him, but now he does not resist." 

"He is aged," Groomer Ken said. He had transported the hamster and the owner to the clinic.  "Hamsters live up to around 2.5 years and yours is already two years old." Mr Turkle nodded his head sadly. This must be the
Old age, does not bite owner anymore.end of his old companion, a fighter who would bite whenever he handled him.

Ken continued: "He must be dying of old age and old hamsters, like old people, do get tumours which affect their health badly. The British researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has just found a gene called BRAF which is mutated in 70 percent of skin cancer melanoma and causes uncontrolled cell growth and division and this skin lump is a melanoma."  Ken read a lot and considered himself better
Singapore 2-year-old hamster with a skin lump than some veterinarians in knowledge of pets.

Ken liked instant diagnosis and this big skin lump was definitely skin cancer. Otherwise why should it grow so big in a short period of weeks? Therefore, the hamster must be suffering from tumour and not putting on weight, despite being given good food.

I palpated the lump. It was soft. "It could be an abscess," I said. "Was he bitten by another hamster?"

"No, he had been living alone for the past year since he fought with the other hamster," Mr Turkle said.

Singapore hamster exercise a few seconds"I would need to put the hamster under gas anaesthesia to examine further and lance the abscess," I advised. "However, your hamster may die as he is already so weak and is not fit for anaesthesia. Do you want to take the risk going back with a dead hamster?"  I hope Mr Turkle would not want to take the risk as some owners would say to friends that the veterinarian killed the hamster. 

Was the abscess the cause of weight loss? Mr Turkle said that his hamster had an appetite. If he ate normally, he should be putting on weight. 

"The hamster used to bite me whenever I hold him," was what Mr Turkle had said straight from his heart as if he was proud of this indomitable creature. Could there be something wrong with his teeth?

Mr Turkle lifted up the hamster from his sanctuary corner and held him with two fingers. The hamster struggled a bit as I pried open his mouth with a pair of forceps.  He did not like his mouth to be opened. 

I could see only one upper front tooth when there should be two. One of the upper tooth must have dropped off. There were two lower front teeth which were of the normal length of about 3 mm. However, the lone upper tooth was 10 mm long and curving inwards cutting into the lower gums.

I clipped 7 mm off the upper front tooth while the hamster tried his best to close his mouth.  After that I put him inside his cage.  Nothing happened for a minute or two. Then he went to the exercise wheel and feebly tried to exercise. He came out of the wheel as he could not do so.

Singapore hamster discovers the joy of being able to drink easilyThen he went straight to the water bottle and drank as if he had been deprived of water. I could see that his tongue was deep red in colour, as if he was severely dehydrated.  The normal colour of the tongue would be pink. Hamsters don't get cracked lips when they are dehydrated but the deep redness of the tongue was one sign of dehydration.  

He used to have problems drinking. But now, the overgrown upper tooth had been cut short, he could suck water from the nipple in the water bottle, as he used to do so. As for his skin lump, nothing would be done till he had recovered his weight and strength.
 
Mr Turkle was most happy to see his hamster lively once more. He did favour soft seeds, Mr Turkle now told me as I asked him again whether his hamster could crack open the shells of the bigger melon seeds.  Now he should be able to do so. 

Singapore hamster. No problem drinking after tooth is clipped short. Tongue is very red.This was certainly not a case of instant diagnosis. The skin lump or abscess might be a red herring, to distract my attention from the real cause of the problem of weight loss. I would need to review his case next week as Mr Turkle rushed into his friend's car to avoid the imminent pelting June thunder shower. I doubted that there would be a second visit as most Singapore hamster owners don't do it in 2002.

UPDATE.
In 2009, most of my hamster clients are Singapore hamster owners are young adults and females. They do care for their hamster's poor health. The older generation - the baby boomers who are parents in their 60s now- think that it is a waste of money getting hamsters treated when a new hamster costs only S$8.00. 

Why not euthanase the sick hamster and buy a new one instead of paying veterinary fees which may be 10 times the price of a replacement? Such thinking do not gel with the younger internet generation.

As the younger ones are concerned about the health of hamsters, I get more cases and therefore, I am able to document more interesting cases for readers.
Singapore Dwarf hamster with breast tumour removed
BE KIND TO OLDER HAMSTERS 
GET TUMOURS REMOVED EARLY --- WHEN THEY ARE SMALLER
More hamster case studies,
goto:
Hamsters
2010 Case:  A hamster has a gigantic encapsulated abscess. A high-risk anaesthetic case requiring surgery   
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Update:  06 March, 2010
Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets
Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets
Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets  
Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets Dwarf hamster, encapsulated abscess, large, above ear. Singapore, Toa Payoh Vets
Tumours cannot be ignored if you want your hamster to live long. The above surgery was fortunate to have a good outcome. Don't tempt fate by delaying treatment of your hamster. 

Singapore Dwarf hamster with breast tumour removedBE KIND TO OLDER HAMSTERS 
GET TUMOURS REMOVED EARLY --- WHEN THEY ARE SMALLER
More hamster case studies, goto:
Hamsters
To make an appointment for your hamster:

e-mail judy@toapayohvets.com
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326

 

toapayohvets.com 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)Toa Payoh Vets
Clinical Research
 

Copyright © Asiahomes Internet
All rights reserved. Revised: March 06, 2010

Toa Payoh Vets