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Date:   13 October, 2010  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
Ear Tumour & Rectal Prolapse in Dwarf Hamsters
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case  written: 11 October 2010 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

CASE 1. Gangrenous Ear Tumour in a dwarf hamster
Written: October 11, 2010

The owner needs to spare some time to get tumours excised when they are small as anaesthesia is safer when the hamster is in good health, unlike the case below.

A dog alive is what the owner wanted. Delays in seeking vet treatment to remove the ear tumour resulted in a hamster in poor health and dehydrated. This case was fortunate in having a successful happy clinical outcome.

Vets can't do miracles if presented with high-anaesthetic risk cases. Be Kind To Dwarf hamsters - Get tumours excised when they are much smaller   

CASE 2. Rectal Prolapse in a dwarf hamster
Written: Sep 9, 2001

Some 9 years ago, I wrote up this sad case of rectal prolapse. It was too late to save this hamster.



A big bloody lump on the backside of a one-year-old female hamster. Could it be the womb or the rectum that is coming out?

Gas anaesthesia to immobilise the hamster for a closer examination.
The rectum had come out of the anus and was about 3 cm long.  Black tissues indicated cells were necrotic.

She was the 13-year old boy's favourite hamster. She would not escape, unlike the other hamsters.  She would just sit on his lap as he watched Manchester United and all football and basket ball games. 

She was one year old and had given birth to 2 babies 2 months ago. "The babies died with bloated stomach, " said his Owner. Now, she has a lump at her backside which was tainted with blood. 

"The lower part of the large intestine, called the rectum, had everted out from the anus," Dr Melissa Chua said. "This could be a result of difficult birth, parasitic infections of the gut or diarrhoea."  

However, the pre-teen did not know what was the triggering factor. "Could the lump be cut off?" he asked. 

It was too late for surgery as the rectum had gone necrotic with the black tissue indicating that the cells were dead.  The hamster's eyes were half closed, showing signs of it was very ill.  Hamsters normally have big bright eyes if they are healthy.

"Why didn't you come earlier?" Dr Chua wanted to say but did not do so. The boy was already in tears.

In any case, how many owners would notice the anus of a hamster in the case of a rectal prolapse?  It would be a small ring of red tissue.  The hamster would be irritated and tried to pull the intestine out and get rid of it.  In this case, it managed to pull out a long piece of the large intestine.

Now it was too late. The hamster could not be operated on unlike rectal prolapse in the dog as she was too small and would die under anaesthesia. The boy had to decide. To relieve his best companion of further suffering.  Euthanasia was the only option to prevent further suffering and pain for the hamster.


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