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Old 09-04-2021, 01:27 AM   #31
Ria P
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Default Re: Preparing for surgery

There are situations where it is almost impossible to predict the outcome following certain invasive procedures like surgery and this seems to be one of those situations.

I can only tell you what i would do going by what you've stated in your last post which is nothing more than my own opinion and views which may well differ from yours of that of other members.

Personally, i'd decide against surgery and put her on daily pain relief for the rest of her life to keep her as comfortable as possible for as long as possible and that's all i would do.
If at any point i would feel that the hamster is suffering or that life has become a burden to her then i'd help her along her way to end her life in peace by euthanizing her.

I can't see what difference antibiotics would make aside from putting strain on her gastric system but i'm no vet.
Do you know what kind of infection the antibiotics are meant to treat?
Are the steroids prescribed to boost her immune system?

Sometimes it is kinder to let nature take its course and to let them live out what's left in peace without too much upheaval.

Please keep us updated. We are here for you as many of us have been in similar situations and we all want what's best for our hamsters.
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Old 09-04-2021, 06:16 AM   #32
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Preparing for surgery

I agree with Ria - these are incredibly difficult decisions. I went through it with out robo whose lump got really big - but by then it was really too big to operate as his body was so tiny - plus he had also developed lots of other skin lumps. Too much surface area to operate on.

I hope your vet can advise - between the balance of surgery causing relief but being a major thing - and non surgery shortening her life and likely to lead to the need for euthanasia at some point. Benign tumours can become cancerous.

No one can else can decide really - you know your hamster, her condition, her healthiness and how its affecting her etc.

But on paper, from the sound of it - a tumour that involves lymph glands and organs is likely to be quite major surgery.

It sounds like your vet has been helpful - and interesting to know it could be drained as it has been. One thing I would do, if she's been on antibiotics a fair bit - is give pro biotic to help her gut health. Hamsters guts can be quite affected by antiobiotics and lead to poorer digestion and general condition. The probiotics can improve that. Just to help her feel more comfortable and have less general issues maybe.

Metacam can give pain relief (and is also anti inflammatory), but as I found with our Robo - it has its limitations - it is not strong enough for the pain of cancer - and then the only option is euthanising.

So it's a step by step approach to see what is helping by the sound of it. If the lump is not malignant right now then your vet is helping relieve the symptoms by draining it and presumbably hoping the steroids will help also.

When it comes to lumps though, when our syrian had a large mammary lump - my vet said - it doesn't make much different whether it is benign or malignant - it is still a growth that is leading to health issues - something not right. I kind of get what she meant but cancer is worse in my opinion.

The positives are that it isn't malignant x So then its treating the symptoms, which is what you are doing. If the vet feels the lump is quite close to, or attached to, the thyroid, that could be a deciding factor and maybe something the scan could show.

How does she seem in herself? Apart from mobility difficulties? I'll add a photo of what I did with our robos cage when he couldn't walk due to the big lump. He would stagger keeping his balance in the substrate but was fine on a solid surface. The hemp mat worked really well and he could nip about easily, plus it was soft on his underside as he dragged his lump about. He even carried on using his wheel. It wasn't till he started chewing at the lump that it was felt it was too painful and the pain breaking through the metacam.

There is still a good depth of substrate under the hemp mat - so it still had softness (and kept everything the right height). And there was still one little corner without mat so if he wanted to dig in substrate, he could (although he didn;t seem to want to. I cut pieces to fit round things so his sand bath edge was slightly sunken and level with the hemp mat so it didn't catch his lump as he got in and out of things.

Nugget new set up (1) resized.jpg

Nugget new set up (6) resized.jpg
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Old 09-04-2021, 06:20 AM   #33
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Preparing for surgery

One other thing. Which might sound strange. But ask your hamster. Talk to her - see how she reacts. It may or may not help but sometimes they give us a sign. Talk to her about it a few times and ask her about it a few times - do you want to have it taken away and be sore afterwards? It's a bit of a risk? Shall we just carry on being careful with the lump?
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Old 09-06-2021, 07:00 AM   #34
Earthy1
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Default Re: Preparing for surgery

Thanks again for the input. As I was taking care of her these past few days she is getting way less mobile, not interested in her wheel at all. Serendipity, I talk to her all the time to tell her what is happening. I tell her not to let my feel affect her decision and she should just be her usual cheeky self, and face whatever comes with that 'hamster persistence'.

We visited the vet yesterday and I found out that our once-a-month-roving-exotics-specialist will be there on Wed (in a couple of days). So I decided to have him do the surgery, if he deems it helpful. He is more experienced with hamster surgeries and I am more confident that he could be her best option and good second opinion.

At the Vet yesterday, I could get a better photo.
Choo Choo neck lymphoma - Hamster Central Photo Gallery

Since the last week of August, she really slowed down, would only play a few minutes, and then just go to sleep in her outside nest. I stopped taking her out for playtime now just cause she only goes straight to the nest to sleep. She is still eating a pretty good variety of food and takes fresh veggies and her seed/pellet mix as usual. I am hopeful that the eating and regular poo/pee is a good sign that she is strong enough for surgery?

She has her hoard in the corner and a bowl of fresh seeds/food but its not in the path of her going to the toilet, so she stopped eating from it & since she has also stopped searching around in the bedding for food, I just drop it into her nest and she will start eating the freshly delivered foods. I clean her 'dirty butthole' once a day since she can't reach it and I do not want to stress her too much. She doesn't have any hot dates lined up to impress so its ok!

Background: When the vet was draining the lump, these past 6 months, they would stick a tiny needle into the liquid and draw it out with a syringe...but it took time and they could get quite enough of it that she was able to run around and be pretty happy during her playtime two days after. (I would give her a day of rest on vet days to recover.) At the beginning, we sent these liquids for tests and it was determined to be a type of lymphoma but not sure if there is active cancer cells or not. There was no testing center who would take our sample to find out if there was cancer because there is not enough data for hamster cancer.

The vet gave me a mix of meds that included steroids to help boost her immune system (and if there was cancer to prevent it from growing too fast). Her only other symptoms was thinning fur on her sides, where Choo was maybe overgrooming. No other visible sores on her skin or other lumps.

The antibiotics started only last month cause she had a sore on her mouth that I was afraid would get infected. When I administered the daily meds, instead of grabbing her and dropping it in her mouth, I mixed the drops with 1.homemade yogurt and 2.dried shredded coconut, 3. some powdered hamster food pellets.
She enjoyed her little yogurt snacks and the probiotics which have always helped keep her poops looking good.

Last week she was out cleaning herself so I got a video I posted on youtube.

For comparison, last month, Aug 10, her lump was so much smaller -
Choo Choo out for playtime Aug 2021 - Hamster Central Photo Gallery

Now Sept 1, her humpy lumps, so obnoxious.
Choo Choo neck lumps Sept 1 - Hamster Central Photo Gallery
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Old 09-06-2021, 07:10 AM   #35
Earthy1
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Default Re: Preparing for surgery

Oh and I asked my vet about metacam and she said that it is not going to help in Choo's situation, as she does not seem to be in pain and it will not benefit Choo. She said if Choo choo was feeling discomfort from the lump, she would be chewing on it. The lump seems to be enclosed and not attached to other things (but they won't be sure until they open her up) but it should be ok to just remove the largest lump without too much problem.
The risk is that because she is older, that she may not wake up from the anesthesia...which is always a risk with any procedure that might be done on her.
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Old 09-06-2021, 08:01 AM   #36
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Preparing for surgery

Glad the vet has helped with making a decision. It's a chance for her and she's not happy at the moment. I reached that point with our robo - thinking I'd have the surgery as his quality of life was being affected, but by then my vet said she wouldn't operate because he had developed other skin lumps. I hope they will be giving Metacam post op as they definitely need it then. I think I would still say I wanted to try metacam. Hamsters can hide pain quite well.

For example our robo didn't chew on his lump for months but I could see him wince when it rubbed over anything hard (ie trying to climb into his wheel - the hard edge).
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