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Old 09-13-2021, 05:00 AM   #21
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

So sorry to hear this. I think your gut feelings about tumours are probably right. And considering his age and general condition, I don't think there's much they can do in the way of surgery.

It is always a difficult call balancing their welfare and suffering. I think I would be reluctant to have tests too, if there's nothing to be done except keep him comfortable.

It is very difficult when they are still enjoying life and food. Logically you can't stop the eye bursting if it does - but that would be pretty unpleasant for him.

Maybe the vet would discuss it with you over the phone - if you explain you don't want to have tests as you don't think surgery would be right for him at his age, but need advice as to how to manage him meanwhile and what to look for in case the eye bursts and asks what they would do then.

Even if he's on Metacam, that isn't strong enough for severe pain (although it will help).

I suppose at the moment it's a case of monitoring him and seeing if you think it's bad enough to think about euthanasia. Do you have a photo of his eye?

One thing I will say - and this was something from my exotic vet - that eating isn't always a sign that they are still enjoying life - if they have cancer. She said the cancer growing creates (I forget the technical word) that makes them crave food but all it's doing is feeding the cancer.

So I'd look at other things re quality of life - not just eating. Is he still doing normal hamstery things? Using his wheel and cage - digging and foraging. Or literally just coming out to eat?
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Old 09-13-2021, 05:03 AM   #22
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by velma View Post
Hi Charlotte. I'm sorry to read about poor Ginger. I really do think you need to take him back for another vet appointment from the sound of things. They really are going to be the best ones to talk through your options with you and another look at his eye may give them more clues for what's going on. You know Ginger best and what he could tolerate and the vet is there to talk through those options with you, not decide for you. Whatever decisions you need to make, you're making them out of love & with Ginger's best interests at heart so whatever happens you'll be making the right decision for him.
Velma - so nice to see you again
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Old 09-15-2021, 12:51 AM   #23
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

thanks for the helpful information! if his condition gets poor we will take him back to the vet.

no picture of his eye because he moves too much, but it's probably 30% more swollen than in the initial photos, although it does seem quite stable now, but there is a bit of reddening around the eye, presumably from irritation! I can see when light shines on his eye that there's what looks like fluid buildup going on inside the eye (vet saw this)

he gets a tablespoon of food every day, plus 2-3 mealworms which I mainly use for encouraging him to take medication.

the baytril has run out as of this morning, it's a shame it didn't help

he is active, but his sleep is definitely a lot more disturbed. he doesn't enjoy going up and down levels like he used to (it's a safe 3 levelled cage, don't worry, it meets requirements and he's never showed signs of wanting a bigger one) he likes to sleep on the top level in the sand bath with some bedding. he usually goes through cycles of waking for 30 minutes and then snoozing for about an hour or so at night, then in the daytime he sleeps lightly.

I've noticed that he's been scratching a bit, I'm not sure if I'm just examining him more, but he's targeting his upper legs & belly & the top of his head. no signs of mites or anything and no fur loss in these areas, so I'm assuming he's doing it because he's uncomfortable :/

he still wants to run around and enjoys playtime for about 30 minutes twice a week, as opposed to half an hour a day when he was younger/middle age.

thanks again, I'll consider his other behaviour besides eating from now on.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:53 AM   #24
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

Hi again. He sounds fairly active and that sounds like normal grooming except the eye may be bothering him if it’s head area a lot. Can’t remember but is he on metacam? If not he probably needs to be for pain and discomfort (and can reduce swelling). Sleeping in his sand bath doesn’t sound good with a bad eye. It sounds like the rosewood pico cage? As he’s older he would be much better with a house at floor level that’s open underneath and sat on top of substrate. They like their toilet at floor level as well (maybe uses sand bath as toilet?). It would probably be best to tweak the cage so it only has the one level (ie move the shelves to one level) lower down and a house and food bowl at floor level. Something like a cardboard tissue box with a hole cut in is fine for a house- cutting one side out so it’s open underneath. Also more hygienic as it won’t sweat inside. You could save his nest and hoard and move it to the new house so he doesn’t stress. He’ll probably then use a corner of the cage as a toilet at floor level, which can just be spot cleaned (or put a litter tray there).

Sometimes they only use the ladders and levels because they have to - to get to the house etc. Plenty of substrate at floor level as well. They do much better with more floor area and less height. But in his condition probably best to make the most of the current cage. I’m sure he won’t miss sleeping in his sand bath if you give him a cosy new house at floor level. Important to move his nest into it even if a bit smelly so he uses it. And maybe put a smelly treat inside to tempt him in as well.

Maybe have a phone consultation with vet at least to ask about Metacam or what to look out for if things get worse.

I’m having a similar issue with our Syrian now. He has an eye that has started to look bigger and going to the vet. He had a small cancerous tumour removed recently so I also suspect it could be a tumour but it might be infection as they get things like that when older and more susceptible.
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:39 AM   #25
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

thanks for the reply! ginger is in the "skyline fun area leon small pet home" which is 67 x 36.5 x 65 cm. one floor alone would still definitely be too small, but given that there's 3 levels, he's had enough space to explore so has never been stressed in there. it's always hard with dwarf hams since they need space but also need to be stopped from climbing, so the ikea detolf is the only other real option, or a bin cage. my last dwarf was a rescue so we had to find a cage that fitted the space quickly, meaning we chose a larger & safe tiered one that she was still happy with.

my first ham was in the rosewood pico, never again!!! way too small & dangerous! i've even heard of hams breaking backs in that specific cage!

anyways, i have taken out the sand bath (i've always been iffy about them anways since it seems like it'd be pretty easy for them to continually ingest sand when collecting food from the floor) & i am going to customise all the levels so that they all have food, water & a nice sized house so he can choose if he wants to only stay downstairs or upstairs from now on.

he's pretty stable but a bit clumsy, he squints his swollen eye (which is not getting any bigger & has no discharge etc) he was a bit wheezy yesterday as if there was mucus in his throat but that's gone away today.

he's still got many days worth of meloxicam left, which i'm pretty sure is exactly the same as metacam?? i'll give that to him until he passes or until the bottle runs out (he started with 10ml so that's 100 days worth)

very sorry to hear about your hammy! i really hope it's nothing major & that he gets well soon! I think eye problems are possibly the most common problem with hamsters...
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Old 09-19-2021, 09:57 AM   #26
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

Glad to hear he's doing ok. I think eye things are awful having just had a similar experience. Pickle looked perfectly fine one day. Two days later his eye looked bigger and slightly swollen round that area. He's on antibiotics and metacam (yes same as meloxicam). He still seems to be doing normal things but decisions are hard, as yours, as he's two. If the antibiotics don't work then it's a tumour - that's what I was told. Also that the eye may need removing. It is non functioning and has a white spot in the middle now. It must be very uncomfortable for them to have a permanently open dry eye - hence the Metacam. But the decision as to whether to have surgery to remove the eye at 2 years old (having had surgery a few months back) will be difficult. Although it may depend on whether it's infection or a tumour.

But surprisingly he is doing all his normal hamstery things - digging, zipping around and used his wheel a bit in the night. So the Metacam must help I think.

I've always thought the Leon was such a great cage - if only they'd made it a bit bigger!. Excellent with two full levels. The base is very much on the small side but if it suits your dwarf hammy then that's good.

Yes I would try and make life easy for him now - by having things on all levels. He may just decide to stay at floor level if his house, toilet, wheel, food and water are there and they do love substrate.
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Old 09-20-2021, 05:05 PM   #27
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

A bit of info from you, from vet advice recently. A hamster can live out their life on Metacam with a protruding eye, without needing the eye removed. So I think you've done right not to go for any further investigations. The investigations would be just to establish the cause and there probably isn't anything they can do, if it wasn't an infection. So just keeping him comfortable and on the Metacam seems the best route.

With my Syrian I don't yet know if it's infection or a tumour. He's still on the antibiotics at the moment. Whether it is or not there is a possibility of having the eye removed. But it would depend what the vet thinks when seeing him and whether it's actually necessary. It might be necessary if it was causing a lot of pain and discomfort that metacam couldn't relieve. But balanced with that is the stress of vet visits and surgery.

It sounds like your hamster is doing just fine on the Metacam until he gets to the point where his quality of life is not good (or he passes) x
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:05 PM   #28
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

hi, thank you very much for the advice
I wanted to update to let you know that with the colder UK weather, ginger seems to be slowing down quite a bit... he's doddery & doesn't enjoy being outside his nest for more than a few minutes a day. still tucks into his food & meds but I think his heartbeat may potentially be weak and thus he may be quite cold. his ears & paws are almost white (all these new symptoms are since yesterday) which supports this idea his swollen eye is also a bit discharge-y today, I don't think he has long left sadly. he's still the same temperament but if his condition keeps slowly declining I'll have to get him put to sleep, as sad as it is, I hope he passes soon, in a way, since he must be uncomfortable.

I've moved the water and food right next to his nest (and made sure he knows where it is). hopefully he'll stay hydrated and eating!

any update on your hammy? ❤️
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Old 10-08-2021, 04:37 AM   #29
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

just an update to say that ginger passed away in his sleep yesterday afternoon.❤️
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:54 AM   #30
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Default Re: dwarf with protruding eye + cancer?

I'm very sorry for your loss but at least Ginger passed away peacefully at home and in his own nest.

Play well at the rainbow bridge little hamster.
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