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Question
Hello,

I have adopted a dwarf hamster about 6 mos ago (age unknown, but looks "young") and a tumor has started to appear and grow on her chest area. I am afraid that the tumor is growing quite fast and my concern is regarding the possibility of surgery. My questions are:
How well do small animals deal with surgery? (my hamster is tiny)
Is it common for Hamsters to experience tumors?
How likely would the tumor grow back?

Right now my hamster is eating, drinking and basically acting normal, but I fear we may need to make the choice to have the tumor surgically removed which is worrisome because she is so small. Any additional information regarding hamsters and tumor removal would also be helpful.

Answer
Dwarf hamster breeds get lumps on their chests and bellies as they get older. These lumps are not a concern unless they become ulcerated. In this situation, you should consult your vet for treatment options.

In case this is a tumor your veterinarian will recommend surgical removal of the tumor because tumors may grow and spread to other locations in the body. Surgical removal in the early stages improves the chances of full recovery. However, late detection may cause some of the tumors to become malignant (cancers). Surgery can go uneventful as good and sophisticated anesthesia is available these days.Hamster recovering from surgery requires supportive care.

Hamsters  are susceptible to cancer.Not all tumors are dangerous―malignant tumors are the ones to watch out for, as they spread to other parts of the body and cause major problems in the organs and lymph nodes. But tumors can be benign as well―just lumps that might look weird, but arenít a hazard to your petís health. Benign tumors can cause problems if they grow large enough to limit the hamsterís mobility or affect its quality of life, but once theyíre removed, the trouble is over. Benign tumors are a lot more common than malignant ones in hamsters.

Decide ahead of time how much treatment you can afford, and how much you want to put your pet through. Mostly the mass will be benign―if itís small and slow-growing and your hamster is already a few years old, no action may be necessary. Some tumors can be removed completely, and if the cancer hasnít spread, your hamster could make a full recovery. If the tumor has spread, however, treatment becomes very complicated. The vet will still need to remove the tumor, but it might take radiation therapy and chemotherapy to kill the circulating cancer cells and keep them from infecting healthy cells. In these cases, euthanasia is frequently the most humane option, especially for the hamster. His small body cannot tolerate cancer treatment the way a larger animal could, and his quality of life may be destroyed.  

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Dr S Bindu Anand

Expertise

Large and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Farm Management,Preventive medicine http://binduanand.webs.com/

Experience

A Senior Veterinary Surgeon with more than 25 yearsí experience in the field of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. Mixed animal Practice that will utilize my skills in medicine and surgery, public health, client relations, and developing relationships within the community, such as humane society

Organizations
Veterinary Consultant with Department of Animal Resources,Ministry of Environment,State of Qatar (Present). Animal Husbandry Department, Government of Kerala, India. Oakland's Park, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Severnside Veterinary Center, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Saud Bahwan Group, Sultanate of Oman. Trivandrum Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union,Kerala,India.

Education/Credentials
BVSc & AH (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) 1990. College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala, India under Kerala Agricultural University. Certificates Of Accomplishments- Equine Nutrition- University of Edinburgh Principles of Public Health-University of California, Irvine. AIDS- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. General Environmental Health Ė EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Food Protection-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Zoonoses:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Food Safety:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Occupational Safety and Health-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Rabies Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Animal Handler & Vaccinator Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Wildlife Conservation-United for Wildlife

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