WHAT TO EXPECT.
The veterinarian removes the tumours/lumps in the hamster skin. Usually the hamster needs to be anaesthesized if the tumour/swelling is large.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE.
Make appointment 6254-3326, 9668-6469 for surgery. The pet must be healthy and not obese (if possible). He is active and has an excellent appetite. Clean up the hamster if possible and/or let him have a sand bath 2 days before surgery. Bring the pet to the surgery at 9 a.m. Bring along his carrier cage, water bottle, exercise wheel and food. No starvation 12 hours prior to anaesthesia is necessary in the hamster. The hamster may spit out his food stored in his cheek pouch at the end of anaesthesia.
WHAT TO DO DURING.
The hamster is put into an anaesthetic container. General anaesthesia using isoflurane gas is piped into the container. When the hamster is anaesthesized, he is taken out and put on the operating table. In some cases, the hamster is sedated prior to anaesthesia.
The skin tumours are cut off. Swellings with blood (haematoma) or pus (encapsulated abscesses) are incised and drained. Stitching may be done but the hamster usually bites them off. As much blood is cleaned off as possible.
WHAT TO DO AFTER.
The owner takes the hamster home at around 5 p.m or after a few days. Make sure that the hamster is kept in a clean cage with towel papers for at least 7- 14 days till the wound heals. Check the wound daily for signs of itchiness or infection. Use a facial cotton or tissue soaked in clean warm water and wipe away any blood clots. Replace the towel papers as bedding daily.
The stitches on the skin, if not bitten off by the hamster, will dissolve after 14 - 30 days. There is no need to return to the surgery for stitch removal. Consult the vet promptly if the hamster is not eating or active or he keeps licking the wound from day 3. The phone number is 9668-6469.
No sand bath or sharp pieces of bedding for the next 30 days to let the wound heal in a clean environment. Give medicine as instructed.
POSTPONEMENT OF SURGERY.
If the hamster is not in a good condition, the hamster is warded for observation and treatment for 1-3 days before surgery is done.
Gas anaesthesia $50.00
Surgery $20 to $150 depending on the size of the tumour and the time taken
Total costs are from $70.00 to $200.00.
Warding fees at the surgery: $2.00 per day.
No professional vet can guarantee that there is no risks in anaesthesia of your hamster. If the hamster is in good body condition, the risks are minimal.
ALTERNATIVE TO SURGERY
A growing hard tumour becomes too heavy for the hamster. The tumour becomes injured as the hamster tries to rub it away. There will be infection all over the skin (cellulitis). After some time, the hamster stops eating, becomes thinner and dies.
There are still some Singapore parents of the older generation who will say that it is cheaper just to buy a replacement hamster. A new dwarf hamster costs $5.00 -$10.00 and a Syrian hamster costs $18.00 usually.
Why pay so much for the veterinary surgery? The dependent children have cared for the hamster for the past year and will want the pet who is now family, to be treated. They are not interested in the pragmatic aspect of getting a new pet and will just ignore the recommendation. The tumour just grows bigger and bigger.
It will be much cheaper and safer for the hamster to get the tumour removed by the vet when it is small. Estimated cost including anaesthesia and consultation is $70.00.