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Old 05-25-2021, 12:45 AM   #1
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Default Post surgery care

Just thought I'd make a post about caring for hamsters after surgery. Although I got more tips from Vectis excellent blog (below) than from the vet!

Hospital cage - for a dwarf hamster, something like the mini duna is good and helps keep them warm as well. No wheel. Paper bedding. A house, a tunnel maybe. Check all contents don't have anything sharp to catch a wound on. Even cardboard can have sharpish edges when cut. A chew stick like the Vitakraft type ones helps keep them occupied with no wheel in the cage.

For a Syrian hamster - the standard duna multy or an 80cm (ish) tall bin with no lid would be good. They can go a bit stir crazy at night for the first few days without a wheel so the bigger floor area allows for a couple more safe floor toys.

I used the mini duna for a syrian and it does ensure they aren't too active but after the first two nights it felt too restrictive - so meant lots of out of cage time in a playpen. I wouldn't recommend using it for a syrian!

First night post op after anaesthetic, hamsters need keeping warm - they can't control their body heat as well after anaesthetic and are likely to have a bare area where the fur has been shaved. Might need a heater on low in the room and a thermometer to check room temperature. A snugglesafe microwave heat pad at one side of the cage at night helps as well. They can still feel the cold for a few days but less so after day 2 in my experience.

The wound may look raw and bloody when you first bring them home - I was concerned about that, but apparently it is something they spray on the wound that makes it look wet (maybe like invisible plaster). It should look darker and more dried like a scab within 2 or 3 days.

Eating and Drinking: Important that Hamsters are eating and drinking normally to get their digestive system working properly after the anaesthetic. They may be off food the first night so add something tasty and tempting like a bit of baby food or porridge as well as usual hamster mix. If not eating or drinking by next day, call the vet.

Check to see they are peeing and pooping as normal by next day. There may not be many poops till day 2.

Keep an eye on the wound daily to see no stitches have split or it hasn't been scratched. I found our Syrian didn't try and scratch at his wound.

Give plenty of nesting material. A house/hide that is open at one end is good as no entrance to rub against a wound as they go in and out.

You should be given Metacam post op and they do need it - that maybe also helps prevent them wanting to bite or scratch at the wound as it relieves the discomfort.

Behaviour: This can fluctuate between seeming a bit sad and vulnerable and being very active and risking damaging the wound. Depending on time of day maybe, and when Metacam has worn off/been given, and temperature.

Handling: I didn't handle for the first day when the wound was new. After that very careful gentle handling - giving the odd stroke, can help keep some normality for the hamster, but they may resist being handled if it's sore. By the second day I gave some out of cage time in a playpen late at night (they seem to sleep more and later) to give a break from the hospital cage. On day 4 I added a wheel to the playpen for short usage (to burn off some energy) but needs careful supervision.

Post op check: I was told 5 days after surgery, but couldn't get an appointment till 7 days after surgery. If it looks dried and no split stitches it should be fine. I decided to move our hamster back to his regular cage by day 5, for more space and familiarity, but still no wheel until after post op check. Make sure there's nothing in the cage that can catch at wound. Check bendy stick bridges etc for the odd rough bit.

Any swelling, lumps that look filled with blood or wound coming apart or looking infected/pussy, call the vet. The Hamster may need antibiotics to prevent the wound breaking down, if infected.

To be continued after post op check!

Vectis very helpful info with photos:

Caring for your Hamster after Surgery - Vectis Hamstery

Last edited by Serendipity7000; 05-25-2021 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 05-25-2021, 03:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Post surgery care

This is all very helpful indeed Serendipity. Thank you for taking the trouble to put this all in one place in a new thread.
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Old 05-25-2021, 04:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Post surgery care

Thank you Serendipity7000. Very helpful advice.

Setting up a hospital cage is so important after a hamster has had surgery, there are so many risks that present themselves if one just puts a hamster back into their normal home after an operation.
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Old 08-21-2021, 04:41 AM   #4
Ria P
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Default Re: Post surgery care

Thank you Serendipity. Reading this thread was extremely helpful just now.
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Old 08-21-2021, 05:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Post surgery care

It's a worry isn't it? I never did continue after post op check - basically wound healed well so all was fine and back to normal.
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check, day, hamster, post, wound

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