Thursday, October 29, 2015

21. Oct 30, 2015. Email diagnosis: A dwarf hamster has a gigantic ear tumour


Hi, I texted one of your colleagues regarding a hamster which I have adopted two days back. Two days back, I adopted two 1~2 year old hamsters from a friend who is migrating overseas. One of the hamsters has a super huge growth on the head where the ear is supposed to be. It looks super painful and uncomfortable.

Also, the hamster seems to be having watery stools and appears deformed. It's fur seems to be yellowish as well. My sister said that it is old, and would probably be better to be put down, but I wanted to check if it could be saved and live a normal life if possible.

 The two hamsters have been at my place for two days. I noticed the one with the huge growth does not seem to eat or sleep much. On query, my friend told me that he had brought it to a vet before when the tumor was smaller. The doctor said it wasn't advisable to operate as it was already old and gave him some ointments which didn't seem to work. He stopped after the fourth visit as the vet seems to be just visually checking the tumor.

He claimed that the tumor continued to grow very quickly despite the ointment and the hamster seemed to be balding, so he stopped administering the ointment to it. I have attached a picture of the hamster with its tumor. Please take a look and provide some advice on what I, or we, can do to help it. I may not check my email regularly, so please so text me at 9xx.

Thank you so much. Regards, J



 I am Dr Sing K Y. Thank you for your email. You posted one view. It appeared to be an ear tumour. If it is purely an ear tumour and the hamster is in good health, lit can be excised. If the hamster is sick (not eating, diarrhoea), the risk of dying under anaesthesia is high and so you have to decide whether you want to take the risk.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dwarf hamsters get better treatment in Singapore nowadays

August 9, 2014 "I thought it is $60," the mother of a small boy brought her 2-year-old dwarf hamster with a large facial tumour of 8 mm x 6 mm x 5 mm in size. I had quoted $150 - $200 as this surgery would take a longer time and require stitching with the fine 5/0 sutures. Each packet of such fine sutures costs around $10. So she decided not to proceed ahead. After all the hamster is 2 years old and the life span is 2.5 years. Yet there are parents who will bring their children's pet hamster to Toa Payoh Vets for consultation and surgery if necessary. some are the fathers in their late 30s. Videos are at, goto 'HAMSTERS'.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

18. Dec 3, 2013. Updates and new blogs

Updates and new blog are at: 1. goto "hamsters" 2.

Hamster teeth

Dental formula is 2(I1/1 M3/3) = 16
Incisor grows continuously

Sunday, April 25, 2010

17. Steroids on hamsters

Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010, 5:28 PM


My name is XXX, I have been to your place before and I have 2 hamsters that require some medical attention.

Both are about 2 years old, 1 male and 1 female.

Male suffers from having skin lesions and pus filled abcess in skin folds, I clean him regularly and he is on prednisolone, his conditions fluctuate between good and bad, my previous vet has suggested to keeping him in a high dosage of steroids to keep the inflammation and growth down since not much can be done and he is rather old. However recently he has been losing alot of weight and the situation is worse.

The female one has been very healthy for most of 2 years. However she likes getting into fights. She has a little wound above her right eye cause by a fight that simply wouldnt heal. However, the major problems that she has a pus filled growth in her mouth, it was originally very small and on the outside(with no pus), so I also started her on prednisolone. Only this week did I really she was walking weirdly and lethargic, upon further inspection I realized her her mouth sacs were swollen and there was solid pus on the growth. I cleaned off the pus with cotton wool. Also she has a deep red swell on her abdomen, near her right leg. I use the same syringe for both hamsters, but I wash it before feeding medication to each of them. Also, she bit me about 2 weeks ago while I was feeding her, as I pulled away she fell off from about half a meter on the back.

I was wondering if you will be free for a consult on monday evening.

I can be contacted via


I am Dr Sing. From what you described, the infections have overwhelmed the hamsters due to your use of steroids. I will be available during office hours. If you wish, you can leave the hamsters in my Surgery for daily check and treatment rather than just do it yourself.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

16, Cheek Pouch Coming Out in a Dwarf Hamster

Jan 3, 2010

Subject: Hamster Cheek pouch
Date: Sunday, January 3, 2010, 10:43 PM

Dear Doc Judy,

We have a 8 months old hamster which has a cheek pouch problem. Since last night, her left side cheek pouch was hanging outside her mounth. She appears to be in pain. We used the cotton bud to push her cheek pouch back into her mouth. She appeared fine after that. But early this morning, when I wake up to check on her. the same problem appear.

What should we do?

Appreciate your help and advice.


Jan 4, 2010

On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 7:30 AM, David Sing wrote:

I am Dr Sing. Your hamster may need surgery.


Jan 4, 2010

Subject: Re: Hamster Cheek pouch
To: "David Sing"
Date: Monday, January 4, 2010, 12:53 AM

Dear Dr Sing,

Thank you for the prompt response.

What is the chances of survival under surgery for a small animal like hamster?
How long will it take and how long will it take to heal?

What is the estimated cost involved?

Thanks in advance.

Jan 6, 2010

Chances of survival are hard to say just via e-mail as I have not seen the hamster. Every hamster is different. Healthy and good conditioned dwarf hamsters do not usually die under anaesthesia.

Surgery and anaesthesia to excise the infected or gangrenous cheek pouch and stitch up the cut ends, takes around 20 minutes if there are no complications. It takes around 1 week for healing in most cases.

In January 2010, the estimated total cost is around $150 depending on the time needed to do surgery, anaesthesia and antibiotics. Hospitalisation is $5.00 per day if necessary.

15. Hamster anaesthesia and surgery at Toa Payoh Vets. 2 queries.

Subject: Hamster and Hedgehog anesthesia
Date: Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 7:16 AM

Jan 5, 2010

Hello Dr Sing Kong Yuen,

Happy new year!

I'm very impressed "be kind to pet" of your homepage and operating small animal clinic in South Korea.

I have poor experience about exotic pets and especially anesthesia of them.

May I(as beginner) ask favor of you about pre-eminent experience at exotic medicine?

I have pyometra patient in hedgehog and scalp laceration at font head in hamster.

Could you recommend anesthesia protocol(inhalant and injectable) each.

Hamster with amputated leg by cage had been experienced irratic and deep breath, and death in anesthetic chamber. Other hamster was not maintained enough to do surgery with ketamine 40-120mg/kg only.

How do you evaluate anesthesia depth and deal with problems.

I have general patient monitor for heart rate with alligator clips and pulse oximeter.

Could I use it in rodent?

Do you usually use absorbable suture at skin and why ?

I appreciate you in advance!

Be happy and wealthy!

Keep Healthy!

Sincerely yours,

January 6, 2010

I am Dr Sing from Singapore, not from South Korea. My surgery is I don't have hedgehog patient. The following applies to dwarf hamsters mainly. For Syrian hamsters, the same principles of close observation apply.

For sick dwarf hamsters needing surgery, I use isoflurane gas anaesthesia (plastic container) at 5% for around 1 minute, but close observation of the hamster is the key to success.

In other cases of healthy hamsters for tumour removal, I use Zoletil 50 as little as 0.01 ml IM as sedation. Then I use 5% isoflurane gas for less than 20 seconds and take out the hamster from the gas container to operate. If the hamster moves, I repeat the gas anaesthesia. Then I take it out to operate. Operation room must be warm to prevent hypothermia. If you have a cold operating room, you need to reduce the temperature or switch off the air conditioning during surgery. Hamster should be as dry as possible.

In this way, I maintain the surgical anaesthesia to operate. Most surgeries are less than 10 minutes. I have not used ketamine or other injectable anaesthesia except Zoletil on dwarf hamsters, so, I cannot share my experience with you.

Surgical anaesthesia levels are very difficult to assess in the dwarf hamster unlike in the dog and cat. Close observation of starting eyelid closure, movement and breathing rate is extremely important as there is a very high risk of anasthetic death if the vet does not know what he should observe or being too busy doing surgery.

You may need to have a very good veterinary assistant to help you observe the anaesthesia while you do surgery. But you should be able to know too when the hamster moves.

I don't know whether you can use pulse oximeter on dwarf hamsters. I use absorbable 6/0 or 7/0 sutures to stitch the hamster's skin so that owners don't need to come back for suture removal.

I hope this e-mail answers your questions.