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Old 08-29-2021, 04:20 PM   #1
charlottibiscotti
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Exclamation dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

hi, my dwarf hamster Ginger is just over 1.5 years old.

sadly about a month ago i noticed a red pea sized lump of skin on his belly, next to his scent gland. a quick google told me that it's either a cyst or lymphoma (?). upon feeling the lump i can tell it's pretty hard, he's not biting or paying any attention to it, and it's also very slow growing, so i concluded that it's likely to be cancer. no photos since he's wriggly

in the last 30 minutes, i've noticed that Ginger's left eye is protruding a bit. this must have happened in the last 2 days. i'm wondering what i should do. i very much doubt it's an infection, and i'm 100% sure there's been 0 trauma to his eye since i don't hold him (see "extras"). do you guys think it's likely to be a brain tumour? what kind of symptoms would come with a brain tumour? you can see from the photos how swollen it is.

he's eating well, sleeping well, drinking well, not in any visible pain, no temperament change, no redness or discharge around the eye, basically he's otherwise healthy, just a bulging eye & a lump on his belly.

-------------------------------

Ginger is extraordinarily sensitive to change so a vet visit is likely to stress him for a few days at least (he starts screaming in his sleep if i so much as reposition the cage across the room, he bites and attacks everything for a day if he finds himself on a sofa/bed he's not been on in a few months)

plus, there's the obvious financial reasons - i don't want to spend money on useless procedures especially since he's so old and cancers are pretty much untreatable in hamsters. that being said, this isn't my main reason. it's just that the best vets in my area do enjoy charging lots of money for so-called "necessary" procedures and tests when the animal is clearly not going to make it.

I would absolutely be prepared to take him to the vet if he seemed like he was in any pain, to get him some metacam or similar, or to get him eyedrops if that seemed like a good idea.

extras: I can tell he's starting to get older since his fur is a little more unkempt than it used to be and he's a bit slower. other than that, he's happy as ever, active & friendly.

i don't hold him much but he gets run around time whenever he wants to come out of his cage (about twice a week)

he's had no previous health issues & i have always handled him responsibly and very gently. he's a bit like a cat and enjoys randomly attacking my hand every now and again, so i try to keep handling to a minimum and just use carriers to transport him, which he's perfectly happy with.

here is a link to the images i posted on reddit. don't worry about the NSFW sign.
dwarf hamster health issue : hamstercare
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Old 08-29-2021, 05:38 PM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

This probably isn't what you want to hear, but he does need a vet check. With an exotic vet (they know more about hamsters). So they can diagnose the eye and the lump. The lump could be a cyst (although you maybe feel it's a tumour and not a cyst).

He probably does need something prescribing for pain relief (they are good at hiding illness and pain, being prey animals). But yes the eye may need some treatment.

I can see your thinking though - at his age, surgery probably isn't an option and it's a case of keeping him comfortable. And its likely to be a tumour causing his eye to bulge. But keeping them comfortable sometimes needs some treatment or medication.

Also an exotic vet knows a lot more than us - and they can diagnose things we haven't thought of. Sometimes an eye problem can be caused by a tooth infection.

I think a vet would probably prescribe antiobiotics, in case it's an infection - and metacam (which is anti inflammatory and also pain relief). My vet said the anti inflammatory action can have an effect on tumours.

So it does need a vet visit really. For his general welfare. The meds aren't usually too expensive and a vet check shouldn't be too expensive either. It's surgery that gets expensive.
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Old 08-29-2021, 05:45 PM   #3
charlottibiscotti
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

thank you very much for the reply.

I'll take him to the vet this week. today's a bank holiday which gives his left eye some time to decide whether it wants to stop swelling or not!

I'm probably looking at a cost of £80-£100 (it's an expensive vet, and the other vets in my area are not good with handling animals) but it's worth it if I can help lessen any discomfort or pain for him!
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Old 08-29-2021, 05:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

Are you in the Uk? It shouldn't cost more than £40 for a vet check. But if you know a good exotic vet. I know it's difficult when they get to this age, but I'd be a bit concerned he may be in pain and the eye may be treatable x
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Old 08-29-2021, 11:10 PM   #5
Ria P
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

I would also advise you to get your hamster checked by a hamster knowledgeable vet.

Vets don't come cheap because they are highly trained and skilled professionals but they will not perform an expensive treatment or test without your consent.

They'll diagnose as much as is possible by examination and then present you with the options of how to proceed.

The decision will be down to you.
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Old 08-30-2021, 03:27 AM   #6
charlottibiscotti
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
I would also advise you to get your hamster checked by a hamster knowledgeable vet.

Vets don't come cheap because they are highly trained and skilled professionals but they will not perform an expensive treatment or test without your consent.

They'll diagnose as much as is possible by examination and then present you with the options of how to proceed.

The decision will be down to you.
Thanks for the advice, I’m in the UK. For the cheap vets in my area, I once took a hamster to them with eye protrusion (I was overreacting, he was fine) and the vet tried to show me what eye protrusion would look like by scruffing my hamster really hard and yanking. I was absolutely mortified. Thankfully my hamster was okay.

For the expensive vets in my area, there has been an occasion where a sick, old, dying guinea pig was taken to the vet & needed to be euthanised… they kept her for a day and we told the vet “only do what is necessary to keep her comfortable”. They performed £550 worth of blood tests etc, put her through torture, only to conclude that she couldn’t be helped.

Still, the expensive vets are much better with animals so I’d rather take ginger there. The only problem is that he does get VERY freaked out whenever he goes anywhere new, and he’s old, so putting him under unnecessary stress could do much more harm than good. For reference, a 10 minute hamster consultation where metacam has been prescribed has been £80 before.

Probably a silly question, but is there any way I’d be able to get some metacam without a vet appointment?

If not, I might just show the vet my photos and request that they don’t handle him…

Thanks again.
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Old 08-30-2021, 06:07 AM   #7
Ria P
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

You had some really bad experiences with vets so its not surprising that you are a little apprehensive. I would be as well.

I'd email the vet including recent photos but i doubt that they would prescribe without a consultation. I've tried that before but had to bring my hamster in.

You could probably buy metacam/loxicom off the internet but would need to work out the correct dosage depending on the strength as there's a cat and a dog one and the weight of your hamster. Not something i'd do personally.
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Old 08-30-2021, 06:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

I wouldn't go buying metacam and such off the internet. That would be incredibly risky - not only could your dosage be very off causing serious problems, there's no telling if it will even be a genuinely safe product!

Your hamster really does need to see a vet and be properly examined. The temporary stress is absolutely worth it, and as long as you find a good vet it'll be fine plus it really is the responsible thing to do.
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Old 08-30-2021, 08:54 AM   #9
charlottibiscotti
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

Thank you, booking an appointment now! Iíll keep you updated with the results.
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Old 08-30-2021, 11:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

Such a pain if there are difficult vet choices. I'm on my third vet practice now. I stayed with them because the exotic vet is very knowledgeable (despite no bedside manner!). I find a lot of vets do tend to handle the hamsters like a parcel and the hamsters don't like it. To the vet it's a quick handle and look with no preamble. With our robo (very nervy) I took him in a pet carrier with a fleece snooze cube inside (which he liked) so it was easy to lift him out - I just lifted the snooze cube out.

And I also took a small storage box about 50cm by 40cm and shallow. Used to be his taming box. Plus a piece of hemp mat, his saucer and a couple of toys to put in it and some food.

So when we went into the vets and she wanted to see him I was very clear that I would take him out of the pet carrier and put him in the set up box and she could observe him walking in there (he had walking difficulty due to a lump).

After that she did need to pick him up and weigh him before prescribing, but at least he had had a few moments of normality first - enjoyed being in the box and finding the food and wheel and chilled a bit before she picked him up.

However he was then put in a glass jar held up high to look underneath him and then the glass jar plonked on the weighing scales and then tipped out of the glass jar back into the box! He was not happy at all and quite stressed. But settled when back in the box again.

The other reason I took the box, was so he didn't run off the table!

Is there no other exotic vet in your area, even if it means travelling a bit further? I have an hour and a quarter to travel to our current vet each time, but it's worth it.

Last time I had a consultation and metacam prescribed, the total was about £50.

As Ria said - they can advise and diagnose, but the decision is up to you. I wouldn't leave him there though after what happened last time! (Running up bills with tests!).
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