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Gerbils & Hamsters/winter white hamster


I have a winter white hamster who is a 2yr old female and she has developed a larger abscess looking growth on her left buccal area. I have no idea how this happened but she has lost a lot of weight and I am very scared I could lose her? I know I have to take her to the vet, but I there anything I can try before I have to pay a hugh vet bill? I have tried her on soft foods and have made sure that she is drinking and moving regularly. I also had my aunt order manuka honey UMF 16+ for her(something someone said to try for this) so while I wait another day, do you have any suggestions?
Thanks for your time and advise
11yrs old

Hi Tae

Thanks for your question.

Hamsters are very prone to getting tumours around this age so this would be the first thing I would think of. At this age surgery is very dangerous and not many vets would risk it. Also if this tumor is internal rather than superficial it is hard to remove.

Some tumours grow quickly and others much slower. The danger is that it could rupture and infect or it grows so large it puts pressure on other parts of the body. Keep a close watch on it to see if it changes at all.

The important thing is that she as quality of life and isn't suffering - if she show signs of pain or ill health then she must see a vet who would probably suggest euthanasia.

However some lumps are abscesses which can be drained.  It is hard to know whether or not to take her to a vet - if this is an abscess then it may well be treatable if it is drained and she is given antibiotics. The important thing if you see a vet is that they specialise in small animals. Check this first and also find out what they charge as most will offer a reduced fee for a hamster. It is best to establish this before you go.

I hope this helps you


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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