tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   16 April, 2009
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits

*10 a.m - 5 p.m (Mon - Sun, except Sat). Dr Sing Kong Yuen. By Appointment Only.

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Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case written: Oct 18, 2008.  Updated: Apr 16, 2009

The hamster has a very itchy belly
"I know it costs $10.00 to buy a new hamster," the slim lady in her 30s put the hamster with a fiery red belly on the examination table. "But I feel for my hamster's pain and discomfort for the past 4 weeks. She squeaks now and then as if screaming in pain."

"There is some allergy on her belly," I said. "Something contacting her belly skin and causing itchiness. Did you change to some new bedding some 4-6 weeks ago."

The slim, fair and serene lady recalled: "I change to corn bedding 4 weeks ago. I read in the internet that newspapers are toxic to my hamster."

"The solution is simple," I said. "Go back to a tissue paper bedding for the next 4 weeks after I have given this hamster an anti-itchy injection."

"This hamster is overweight", I said.

"She just eats sunflower seeds," the lady replied. "She can eat sunflower seeds all day long. She was much fatter before and could not come out of her hamster house!"

The Yoga lady took out her handphone and showed me the video of her portly hamster stuck in the door of her hamster house. Struggling to come out but unable to do so.

"It is funny. I can see that her eyes pop out as she tries to squeeze out of the door." this video really brightens my day. At the expense of the poor hamster.

Hamster.Itchiness and pain. Ventral dermatitis, 4 weeks. Singapore. Toa Payoh VetsThe video always made the young lady in her 30s laugh. She has this serene look and so it was not stressful to talk to her. I tried not to laugh at the expense of this poor creature.

"Have you visited Myanmar?" I asked. I had a fun trip exploring the best of Myanmar in October 2008.

She shook her head: "I went to India to visit my yoga teacher." Few Singaporeans visit Myanmar which is relatively unspoiled by mass tourism. 

A lady interested in yoga would explain why she looked serene. Yoga is very de-stressful or it could be her personality.

An anti-inflammatory injection subcutaneous was given to the overweight hamster after she has some gas anaesthesia. It was possible to restrain and inject this hamster without anaesthesia too but the catching and injection of the hamster without anaesthesia may be too stressful for this fat hamster. The hamster went home without complications. No news from the owner as at Apr 16, 2009. I presume the hamster has recovered well.

Pictures showed that her exercise wheel (pink) is too small.

Hamster.Itchiness and pain. Ventral dermatitis, exercise wheel OK Singapore. Toa Payoh Vets Hamster loves exercise and sunflower seeds too. Overweight. Too small wheel. Singapore. Toa Payoh Vets
Hamster can exercise comfortably without having to avoid the spindle of the wheel in this set up at Toa Payoh Vets Hamster arches her back to avoid the spindle of the wheel. The wheel is too small. The owner needs to replace it.
Retrospective Research
As I review this article today on Apr 16, 2009
, I think the ventral dermatitis was most likely due to the friction of the lower body of the hamster and the wheel during exercise. The hamster was overweight and the belly must have hit the rungs of the exercise wheel during exercise, causing excessive wear and tear and subsequent inflammation.  Normal hamsters exercise frequently and this life-style caused ventral dermatitis in this hamster.

During consultation in Oct 2008, I did not make this connection. This case shows that digital images do help in the diagnosis of the cause of ventral dermatitis.  

Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research

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