tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   09 May, 2010  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pig & rabbits.

Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures

When There's Life, There's Hope 
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
ate:  09 May, 2010 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
E-mail to Dr Sing dated May 7, 2010

Hi doctor sing,

I'm the owner of the hamster who developed the tumour (armpit) who just Dwarf hamster tumours. Get your vet to remove them when they are very small. they grow bigger everyday. toa payoh vetspass away today. I just want to say thank Q to u. At least now my hamster passed away without the tumour.

Actually i thought of collecting her home today, but after i receive a call saying she had passed away i really feel so sad. I think if i bring her earlier to surgery she might survive. I really feel bad. Any way i just get a new hamster today. : ) take care doctor sing.

Best regards
Name of owner : )

Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resorts, Singapore. toa payoh vetsAs I was off on Saturday, May 8, 2010, I went to Marine Bay Sands Singapore Integrated Resort to visit the place for the first time and to see the owner of the hamster that had passed away after surgery. She was working in a retail shop at the beautiful Marine Bay Sands Integrated Resorts. 

I was going to tell her not to buy sibling hamsters as both of hers had similar tumours (see pictures in this webpage). She was happy to see me but she had bought a hamster. So I did not say anything. 

The hamster's sibling had recurrence of chest tumour of a similar appearance and died on the operating table on the 3rd anaesthesia and surgery some 2 months ago.

This hamster was not eating and was in weak condition when the young lady owner brought her in to get the tumour excised. I told her firmly that the risks were very high as she had waited too long, weakening the hamster's immune system.

The hamster was warded for 2 days prior to operation so that she could regain her appetite. She did not eat. She was given hand feeding, antibiotics and electrolytes for one day. I needed to operate since time was of the essence and she was getting weaker (closed eyelids, lethargic, few pellets of stools passed).
Dwarf hamster tumours. Get your vet to remove them when they are very small. they grow bigger everyday. toa payoh vets Dwarf hamster tumours. Get your vet to remove them when they are very small. they grow bigger everyday. toa payoh vets
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)3360. Isoflurane gas anaesthesia. The large armpit tumour is exposed after skin incision tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)3361. Hamster is alive at the end of stitching. Eyes are bright. When there's life, there's hope.

Early removal of tumour saves your hamster's life 

I put the dwarf hamster in a plastic container and passed isoflurane gas for a few seconds. She slept and I quickly excised the massive armpit tumour. She did survive the anaesthesia and was alive at the end of the surgery but I told Vet Intern Theresa that the chances of survival post-operation are very slim.

I phoned the owner to take her back for nursing after surgery. But she asked me to care for it a few days. Her hamster passed away peacefully the next day.

She was a very high risk surgical case. She would die soon if she was not operated as she had problems drinking and eating. However, surgery would give her a chance to live longer. In this case, the post-surgical outcome was not good. Surgery gave her a chance. No surgery meant imminent death. So there was no choice but to operate with the owner's awareness of the great risk. She understood the risk but was glad that the hamster passed away without a large armpit tumour.

Tumours in older hamsters don't disappear. When they are less than 3 mm in size, get your vet to excise them. Chances of survival are usually very good in my experience.  Don't buy 2 sibling hamsters as some tumours run in families as in this case. A retrospective study of the sibling's case is presented below:

The sibling had a similar tumour behind the armpit too
It is probably a malignant breast tumour
This indicated that tumours run in this family of hamster 

Dwarf Hamster, Massive breast tumour with bleeding hole. Toa Payoh Vets. Dwarf Hamster, Massive breast tumour with bleeding hole excised. Hamster OK. Toa Payoh Vets.
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)2570. August 2009. Red nose. Hamster had been licking tumour daily. tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)2571. Hamster recovered well after surgery. Tumour recurs in Sep 2009.
breast tumour excised  dwarf hamster 1 year old. toa payoh vets
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)2597 - 2598. Sep 2009. In retrospect, the hamster should have gone to the vet 14 days after surgery to check for recurrence of tumour.
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)2599 - 2601.  Small tumours would be easier to excise and much safer for the patient. Surprisingly to me, this hamster survived anaesthesia this 2nd time. Goes home after 3 days.  

In the sibling, the tumour recurs one month later. This was a malignant tumour. The hamster did not survive on the operating table. The owner was very sad. Then in May 2010, the sibling had the large armpit tumour. This is the case mentioned at the beginning of this report. This report is written to educate hamster owners that tumours in older hamsters cannot be wished away and that early removal saves the hamster's life.

Be Kind To Hamsters
Get your vet to excise tumours when they are 3 mm in size or smaller. More interesting case studies at: Hamsters

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tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
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Clinical Research

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