8 Skin neoplasia in a hamster
Historically, owners of small rodents have been reluctant to consult veterinary clinicians for treatment of illnesses in their pets. However, there is often a close bond between owner and pet, particularly if a child is the predominant carer, and the veterinary clinician will now regularly be called upon to treat these animals. It is important to provide an attentive and professional service, as this is an opportunity to imprint the importance of animal welfare and veterinary care of pets in the child’s formative years.
CASE PRESENTING SIGNS
BOX 8.1 Ecology of Syrian hamsters
The hamster was housed in a commercial hamster cage approximately 80 × 40 × 30 cm, comprising coated metal bars with a plastic base and tubing. A running wheel was provided. Newspaper covered the floor of the cage, with shredded paper as a burrowing substrate. The plastic hide contained cloth-based nesting material. The hamster used a glass jar on its side – containing soiled bedding – as a latrine. The hamster was handled daily, with extra exercise in a plastic hamster exercise ball twice a week. There were no other pets in the household.
A commercial rodent mix was provided as the main proportion of the diet. Small amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables – including apple and broccoli – were offered from time to time. Water was provided in a sipper bottle. Fresh food and water were provided daily, and the cage was cleaned out once a week.
The hamster was purchased from a local petshop and had been in the owner’s possession for 15 months. The owner noticed a mass on the hamster’s flank 1 month before presentation. The hamster had been seen by another veterinary clinician for treatment, but no improvement was seen after a course of enrofloxacin.