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Old 09-27-2022, 01:51 PM   #11
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Pyometra or something else?

I think what Souffle says is very likely. If she is ageing and has any kind of swelling it's not a good sign really. It is very likely to be a tumour. My vet once said it didn't matter if it was a malignant tumour or not as they still cause the same issues (not quite sure what she meant there). If it isn't infection, then whatever it is, all you can really do is keep her comfortable and on Metacam. All the while she seems to be enjoying life. If she starts to go downhill then you might have some difficult decisions to make. Metacam is not really strong enough for cancer pain. However sometimes they pass from something else before it gets that bad.

Any kind of abdominal swelling is not good with older hamsters. I hope something changes in the next week with the antibiotics. If not then it's probably a case of "palliative care".

If it was a small lump I would consider surgery. Our last hamster had a very small lump near his scent gland - it wasn't even visible - I just felt it. He was 21 months when he had surgery and did really well and bounced back from it. I had the lump biopsied and it was cancer but the vet hoped she had got it clean away and no spread. Unfortunately I think he did have secondaries as he then had a head/eye swelling.

So not saying surgery is out of the question at 21 months but I'm not sure I'd do it again as the hamster had to cope with the surgery and recovery and only had a few months left after that anyway.

The decision for surgery comes down to a number of things. What condition the hamster is in (my vet considered our 21 month old was in great condition and fit for surgery), how big an area of their body would be affected by the surgery. Whether it's likely to have spread, if it's cancer.

So I would think twice about investigations and keep her comfortable. But you might want to consider something not so intrusive like a scan to get some information possibly.
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Old 09-27-2022, 02:37 PM   #12
Lemon
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Default Re: Pyometra or something else?

Im trying to get her some kind of scan as soon as possible but my current vet wonít even talk to me on the phone for one minute unless I make an appointment and come in and pay, and every time I do that they insist that tests arenít necessary, which is super frustrating bc I feel like they donít see a hamster as a big deal

And I donít have any other choices that will talk to me before the end of October

Iím afraid Iím gonna have to just try to make her comfortable because I canít even get one hamster vet to have a conversation with me
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Old 09-27-2022, 03:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: Pyometra or something else?

That's true. A vet will insist on examining a hamster first but after that they are willing to talk over the phone as a follow up. I think it's a policy they have to adhere to which was lifted during the pandemic and then re instated.

I would go to a different vet practice. One that has the facility to do an ultrasound scan on hamsters. My vets do and they are not an exotics vetenary surgery.

I think that what Serendipity's vet meant was, regardless of whether a tumor is malignant or not, it is still a mass that will press against vital organs and possibly affect their function.

If it is a fluid filled cyst for example and not a tumor then maybe it could be drained.
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Old 09-29-2022, 06:15 AM   #14
Lemon
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Default Re: Pyometra or something else?

My vet now wants to try something called SMZ, which I looked up and it’s apparently used to treat bacterial infections, but they haven’t done any more physical tests on Icy

I can’t find anything online about it being used for hamsters so I’m worried about that

It also said it’s bad for kidneys and I don’t want to make Icy feel worse because I’m still not sure if she has a kidney problem instead of an infection.

She’s still so happy and full of energy and I don’t know whether it’s worth it to try another medicine or just try to keep her comfortable and let nature happen (or maybe try another alternative method, but idk what)


Also, I’ve noticed the swollen parts of icy’s sides are a darker purple color than the rest of her skin. I don’t know if that’s just because it’s swollen and there’s less fur per skin surface area, or if that could maybe hint at the cause

Last edited by Lemon; 09-29-2022 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 09-29-2022, 06:43 AM   #15
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Pyometra or something else?

It’s just a different antibiotic with a broader spectrum in case the first one didn’t work or the infection was resistant to it. I understand your concern - it would be good to have a diagnosis before giving more meds - ie know what they’re treating. But it’s very common with hamsters that they find it hard to give a clear diagnosis so they tend to try treating infection and if it works it was infection - if it doesn’t work it’s probably cancer.

If they suspect something like infected ovaries or womb and want to rule that out then I can understand them trying a different antibiotic. But I think a good exotic vet would look at the whole picture in deciding whether or not it’s likely to be infection. Having said that my vet was prepared to try a different antibiotic with Pickle’s head swelling of the first one didn’t work but ultimately she was sure it was cancer and felt he shouldn’t suffer any more (as I did too when he went downhill). But the difference there was he’d already had diagnosed cancer before.

So you have a couple of options. You could go with this vet and try the different antibiotics or you could get another opinion with another exotic vet and see about a scan and diagnosis possibly. But that could cause delays as well. Is the current vet an exotic vet and how is your hamster’s condition? Is she acting fine and seeming fairly happy apart from the swelling?

I know with Moo my exotic vet took one look at the lump and knew it was a mammary tumour straight away. And it was a case of just Metacam and keep him happy. He showed no signs of illness or discomfort until just before he went. But a lump at the side could be slightly different.

The third option you have is do nothing for a while and see what happens. If she starts to be unwell that might be the time to try the second antibiotic. But if she stays well in herself it’s most likely a tumour. And it will be more of a slow decline.

I would want to be giving Metacam in any event in case she’s in any pain. Moo was quite happy on that and then just went in a couple of days.

I don’t really think anything you do right now would be wrong. I wouldn’t worry about her kidneys if she has something wrong- I’m not sure antibiotics affect kidneys anyway.

So you could

1) Try these antibiotics. If they don’t work you know it’s probably a tumour.
2). Do nothing for now and see if she shows signs of infection like staggering and seeming unwell
3) Get another opinion
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Old 10-05-2022, 05:57 AM   #16
Lemon
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Default Re: Pyometra or something else?

Update: as of writing this, Icy still seems like her normal happy playful self

I am worried that maybe she’s lost a little weight but I’m also not sure if that’s because of the antibiotics

She’s still on the same ones (the vet mailed me the same one again instead of the new one I ordered so I have to ask for an exchange)

Now I’m wondering whether being on antibiotics for longer than 2 weeks can cause nutritional problems or weight loss and if they’re worth it still. The vet still thinks it’s worth a try. (We still don’t know what’s wrong, bc she has swelling on both sides but more on one). The swelling is slowly getting worse but maybe the antibiotics are slowing it down?

Overall, considering her old age and ability to do most things like normal (apart from climbing up to high places), I am very happy that Icy is still being herself even though I know she has a serious condition. I’ve been doing my best to make her comfortable and happy and living life like normal

Last edited by Lemon; 10-05-2022 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:48 AM   #17
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Pyometra or something else?

I think if she's on the antibiotics more than 2 weeks I would give a probiotic as well. Yes they can affect the hamster's gut and digestion, and probiotics help sort this out. They can be hard to get hold of at the moment but there is a liquid one Dr S Potent Brew at rat rations. I wouldn't put anything in her water though (it can put them off drinkiing) only on food.

I think the test might be when the antibiotics stop. Whether things stay the same or get worse. If they stay the same then it's not doing any good. Do you have Metacam prescribed? I would definitely be asking about that as she is bound to have some pain and discomfort.

Weight loss could also be if it's a tumour sadly.
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