Friday, April 2, 2010

3. Tips: Two large blood-type tumours in an old hamster

"Why didn't you remove the below-the-neck tumour when you operated to remove the tumour behind the left ear? Did you see it?" the young man asked.

"Yes, I saw the tumour," I said. "Your hamster is old, at 1.5 years and the shorter the anaesthesia the better chances of survival. So, I just removed one tumour first." I had informed the owner of the high risk of operating this hamster as he is quite ancient. But he survived and that was what the owner wanted.

Now, the below-the-neck tumour, of similar size and colour as the first one, needed removal as the hamster kept rubbing the neck and could not eat well. There is always an apprehension on my part in operating on oldies. Therefore, I told the owner of the risk. But he was prepared for the worst.

Zoletil 100 @ 0.01 ml with saline IM back muscle
The duration of anaesthesia was 5 minutes.

The skin was incised. The first surgery took around 15 minutes to remove the large cyst-like bloody tumour stretching from above the left ear to in front of the shoulder. I saw the empty cheek pouch as a yellow gelatinous sac and left it alone. Vet Intern Tanya was present to learn about the surgery. Stitching was 6/0 absorbable. The second surgery took less than 5 minutes. No histopathology was done as the owner wanted the lowest rate.

The hamster lives for around 2 years. Tumours grow after one year of age. These two soft jelly-like tumours looked fiercely red and dangerous. The first one was 2cm X 3 cm. The second was 1.5cm X 1.5 cm. They burst, releasing a lot of blood. I would say they are blood-type tumours. Maybe a haemangioma or haemangiosarcoma.

The important thing is that the hamster must be alive at the end of the surgery. That means that the vet must not be too heroic to attempt removing two tumours at one time. The hamster can die from stress.

I was fortunate in this case. But it is best for the owner not to wait too long for tumours to grow so large.

Tumours can never disappear with cream and ointment. It is best to get them excised by your vet when it is small in size. There is no time to waste when tumours arrive. Surgery is also 50% cheaper if tumours are small in size.
E-mail pictures of your hamster's tumours when they are small if you want a free consultation.

Vets doing dwarf hamster surgery. A high survival rate will be present if you provide sufficient anaesthesia so that the hamster does not struggle and die from fright and stress during surgery. Take <15 minutes to complete your surgery.

Pictures will be attached at

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