Hamster surgery

As pocket pets go, the hamster can be a little demanding.  If not handled regularly, they can become aggressive, and they are great escape artists.  On the other hand, they can be mighty cute.

Hamster2 Little "Reighty" here had two skin tumors.  One looked  like an inflamed wart, and the other looked almost exactly like someone had slipped a Juinor Mint under his skin (which makes me think it may be a melanoma – pathology results will take a few days to get back).  Naturally, with a fragile little guy like this, you worry about anesthesia, but good old Sevoflurane gas worked great. Five minutes after his tumors were removed and his skin sutured, he backed his head and shoulders out of the mask (that accomodates a dog’s nose).  In ten minutes he was walking around his cage.

It’s really cool to see folks as committed to the health of a pet whose retail value is about one tenth the cost of his care.  Just like with dogs, cats or whatever:  I don’t just want a pet, I want this pet.  Maybe someone could even learn to love me…though I have outgrown my cute stage.

21 thoughts on “Hamster surgery

  1. Stacie says:

    My hamster is around 2 years old, but I think she has a tumor. Do you recommend getting surgery for her? I’m worried that the anesthesia in itself will be enough to kill her, because she is some what old. The tumor doesn’t seem to effect her except that it makes her move more slowly. She still runs in her wheel it goes about her daily activities.

  2. Diana Jaeger says:

    I’m wondering how much surgery should cost for a mass to be removed from my hamster’s head. It has a tie-in to her blood supply at the bottom.

  3. Abby says:

    my hamster turned 1 in the begining of nov. she has a tumor about the size of a dime under her leg. should she have surgery?????

  4. Doc says:

    If there is indeed a tumor present, it probably should be removed. Just as in people, the signs of malignancy (cancer that grows and spreads) are a lump that changes in size, shape, color or consistency, a sore that won’t heal, a lump that bleeds.

    Your veterinarian may be able to make a diagnosis by sticking the lump with a small needle and removing some cells. He/she will look under the microscope to determine the cell types present.

    It is also possible that the lump is not a tumor, but an abscess ( a pocket of pus). This should be lanced and drained and treated with antibiotics.

    You really should take the hamster in for a check-up.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  5. Jessica M says:

    About 5 weeks ago I discovered what was thought to be ab abcess on my hamsters back leg/body… I took her to the vet and he drained the abcess stitched her up, and sent her home with antibiotics… He had made not that some of the tissue looked damaged. She was also put under for this procedure because she had some tissue removed. She was doing great for about a week until she chewed through all of her sutures so back to the vet she went… he decided we should treat it as an open wound and I began washing the wound multiple times a day and she remained on antibiotics. Now it has gotten worse and we took her into the vet yet again and now he decided it is a malignancy… It has gotten worse and I cannot see her suffer … I am going to have her put to sleep but I cant help but wonder if there is anything else I can do? Do you think she would be able to survive another surgery? Thank you

  6. Doc says:

    I wish that you did not have such a difficult situation. Your veterinarian is better able to tell you if your hamster can survive another surgery. If her condition is deteriorating without it, you may be faced with two equally unpleasant choices. If she is losing ground, you may lose her. If you do surgery, she may not make it, or it may not be successful. On the other hand, it may offer the only hope of recovery.

    Best wishes and thanks for reading and writing.

  7. odalys says:

    my hamster has a large tumor and its bleeding .The vet told me it cannot operate. What other options do I have/

  8. Doc says:

    Hello, Odalys,

    I wish that I could offer you some help. Your regular doctor has seen the hamster and I haven’t. You might ask him/her if there is a referral specialist available who actually specializes in these small pocket pets.

    There are some medical conditions that are beyond our powers to help, and some tumors cannot be removed without taking some vital organ at the same time, even if the patient could survive the anesthesia and other factors.

    Sometime we must accept the inevitable and take the necessary steps to insure that our pets do not suffer needlessly.

    I am sorry that I do not have more information and help for you.

  9. steph says:

    Hello I took my hamsters to the vet and she said he has what appears like a tumor in his right testicles. She did no tests just examined him. I am wondering if it could be an assess not a tumor and if it is worth having surgery. The vet said I cud have surgery to remove the tumor but he might not survive it. At the moment my Sammy is acting as normal eating drinking and playing fine help!

  10. Doc says:

    Hello, Steph,
    I would think that a testicular abscess would be excruciatingly painful. A tumor is more likely from your description and your veterinarian’s assessment. A slowly growing mass might not be painful at all. The tumor might not be malignant, but some benign tumors begin to produce abnormal hormone levels.
    If your veterinarian is uncomfortable with anesthesia for such a tiny pet, I can certainly sympathize with that. These guys are pretty delicate.
    You might consider monitoring the progress of the mass. If it is not growing (or very slowly) and the hamster continues to feel well, he may live a long time with it.
    If it is growing rapidly, then you will have to consider taking the risk.
    Best wishes.

  11. skye keenan says:

    my hamster is about 2 year old and has a tumor on the side of the body do you think i should have surgery on it.

  12. Doc says:

    Hello, Skye,

    It is difficult for me to advise you without examining your pet. I would recommend that you let your veterinarian examine the hamster. It may be a tumor that needs to be removed, or it may be an abscess that needs to be drained.

  13. John says:

    Can anyone clear this up for me. Our pepper has to go in for an operation to remove a lump from under her back legs. Is there a good survival rate for hamsters wile being under.

    Thank you

  14. John says:

    We are just back from the vets and they advice that the lump was removed so she’s booked in for tomorrow. The vet did say there is a bigger risk of not surviving in small pets but we don’t want her being in any sort of pain.

  15. I luv my ham says:

    My hamster has a mouth tumor and he’s on steroids,and my vet said she HOPES it will stabilize his condition.however there is a option to surgically remove it,however she said that he might be in a lot of pain after AND he might not be able to use that pouch.is there a survival rate for hamsters going thro that??please let me know

      • Jema says:

        My dwarf hampster has been falling over and has now got stuck upside down twice, luckily my son noticed. I think it may be a brain tumour reading up about it and now think he may of had it for some time. He is now about 2.5 years old… what should I do… vets have never been very helpful with hampsters in the past and I feel he’s to old to go through surgery. He seems well other than that, eating, cleaning himself and exercising.

        • Doc says:

          Hello, Jema,
          I am sorry that I don’t have more expertise in this area. Doing sophisticated diagnostics is possible in hamsters, but getting a C-T or MRI is as expensive for a hamster as for anybody else. If you do have a brain tumor, brain surgery takes quite a specialized surgeon, and the prognosis is uncertain, even for people.

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