In a 2-year-old dwarf hamster, the successful outcome depends greatly on the anaesthesia. Insufficient anaesthesia may kill the hamster due to great pain and fright from surgery. Lots of movement hampered surgery. Death could be due to fright during restraint and not due to anaesthesia.
In the dog and cat, pre-operation examination and blood tests are helpful. In the dwarf hamster, ask the owner about the amount of stools passed and water drank. In this case, the lady owner was very observant. The hamster was eating as faecal pellets could be seen. She noted that the hamster recently drank at least 3x more water than normal in a week by judging the amount of water in the water bottle drank per week. Based on her observation, the hamster was drinking 18 ml/day compared to the normal 5 ml/day. This polydispsia is abnormal.
Warded for 2 days
Oral Baytril antibiotic was given on Day 1 and 2. Surgery started on Day 3 as the hamster was suffering from a red itchy infected skin tumour.
Anaesthesia and Surgery
It is extremely difficult to see the signs of surgical anaesthesia in the hamster under isoflurane gas (gas into a plastic container with the hamster inside) and Zoletil sedation. A bit more will mean death. So, it is a matter of observation of anaesthesia to effect. What does that mean when the vet can't check the pedal and eyelid and other reflexes as in the dog? It is just not possible. "Count to 10" I advised my assistant when the hamster has been placed in the container. "See the movement and the eyelid closure". This is not scientific.
We took the hamster out for surgery. When it moves, we put it in again. This happened 3 times. By the 3rd time, the hamster looked "dead". Life had been sucked out of her body.
"The hamster has
died," I tried to revive it by rubbing the skin of its
neck above the shoulder area. "Can give Biolapis," my
assistant proposed. I was busy trying to revive this
hamster. Blow air via a 3-ml syringe into its nose area
may be useful.
In this case, my assistant put a drop of Biolapis which is an oral electrolyte for small animals like rabbits and hamster. An oral respiratory stimulant and oxygen would be useful.
The hamster was still breathing as I could see its chest movements. I left it alone, under the warmth of light.
In around 30 minutes, it was up and alert. As if it had a good lunch-time nap. The Caucasian school teacher was very happy as she was prepared for the worst. Always examine your older hamster daily for small tumours. Small tumours less than 3 mm in diameter take less than 1 minute to remove and the chances of survival are very high.