Monday, September 5, 2011

The dwarf hamster has a gigantic cyst

This would be her 3rd anaesthesia and surgery. I prefer not to do it as she had survived two and this 3rd surgery would take a long time. Anaesthesia less than 15 minutes would give an excellent survival rate. But this surgery would not be 15 minutes. Would she die on the operating table?

It is like going on a 3rd tour of duty to the war zone of Afghanistan after surviving two tours. The probability of being killed on patrols will be higher. However, in this hamster, there was no choice. Some big swelling had irritated her daily. She scratched this swelling to get rid of it. Those who suffers from skin itch will understand. Scratching the skin till it becomes hairless and then traumatised and infected.

So, this hamster went under the knife (scalpel) again. I gave the lowest dose of Zoletil IM as just using isoflurane gas + oxygen would not be sufficient for a lengthy surgery.

Surgery - Cyst and abscesses in a dwarf hamster and follow-up 3 days later
I followed up 3 days later by phoning the lady owner. The wound was healing well. The hamster was not bothered with the stitches. But she scratched another area. The owner sent me a picture via e-mail. Yes, there was a hairless area in front of and above the horizontal canal opening (as I reviewed the previous images) that I did not incise.

This was because I did not want to lengthen the anaesthesia by incising this area. In addition, I assessed that it was not necessary. The dwarf hamster is such a small creature that one extra cut is equivalent to a big wound in a dog or cat.

Every second after 15 minutes of anaesthesia increases the risk of the hamster's heart failing. She was only 26 gram in bodyweight and her heart must be very small unlike dogs and cats. So, the speedier the surgery, the better the chances of good outcome.

As to what to do with this red area, I asked the owner to continue with the medication and wait-and-see. Three times lucky. Superstitious? I may have to decline any 4th anaesthesia. It is just too risky for the dwarf hamster although she did not lose her 26 g body weight since the first anaesthesia.

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