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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19627
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hi, I have a poorly Female Syrian Hamster and need would really

Resolved Question:

Hi, I have a poorly Female Syrian Hamster and need would really appreiciate some advice ASAP.

The hamster is approx 1 year old and has been in good health until now. She appears now to be constipated. She is hunched in the area she likes to use as a toilet and is looks very distressed. In her rectal area is a large brown lump, lighter in colour than her regular feces. I cannot determine whether it is some stuck feces or not as I don't want to cause her more stress by probing her. I have offered her some moist food (tomato) which she ate a tiny amount of. (Also offered her some olive oil on recomendation from another site, though she wasn't interested.)

Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. The Vets in my area are closed and will not open until the morning. Thanks in advance!, Flynn.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

 

Now we always need to be careful when it comes to possible constipation in the hamster. The reason is because often we see hamsters misdiagnosed with constipation. For example, people often think bloated hamsters are constipated when actually they may have fluid accumulation in their abdomen or masses (and where slow fecal passage is due to compression of the GI by the distending agent). As well, often people assume material attached to the rectum is "stuck feces," where it could also be a prolapsed bit of rectum sticking out that is discoloring as the tissue dies.

 

In this case, this discolored brown lump at the rectum does have me concerned for Harriet. I appreciate that you don't want to stress her but it is important to know what this is since it will dictate how serious this issue is and potentially determine her prognosis. Therefore, you may want to consider trying to sponge off this brown material if it will come away or carefully bathe her backside. Do not pull the material away from her rectum. If you clear away feces and can see a protrusion of gut tissue (the tissue tends to be red/pink to start but can dull as it gets congested from being trapped outside the rectum), then we'd be concerned about rectal prolapse. If this is present, it is an emergency situation that needs to be addressed immediately (since rectal tissue is not meant to be outside the body and if not replaced the tissue can die and thus cost the hamster its life).

 

Otherwise, if this is fecal material protruding from the rectum, then we can consider constipation being the actual issue here. The warm water can help her but otherwise oral administration of GI lubricants can be useful. Olive oil isn't typically very helpful (since it gets digested part want through the GI if they will ingest it) in these cases. Instead, you may consider treating her with a small volume of cat hairball medication (ie. Catalax) to lubricate the gut and can facilitate the movement of hard feces out of the GI. . Alternatively, you can administer a small volume of Miralax, lactulose (LINK) or mineral oil orally (ideally offer in food or if given via oral syringe then take care to avoid aspiration, since that would cause problems we'd best avoid). While she won't be keen to take the liquids by mouth on their own, you can mix them with veggie baby food or fruit juice to get her to take it for you and get things moving for her.

 

So, I appreciate that you don't want to stress Harriet but if she is in severe discomfort and we cannot be sure a prolapse isn't present here, I would advise some gentle handling and cleaning would be prudent. Depending on your findings, you will need to take one of the above approaches for her.

 

Finally, just since you noted that your vet's are closed for the evening, I do want to note if you want to have her seen now, most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients (since they are legally obligated to provide an out of hours service). This means that if you ring the practice, they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their emergency service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends.

 

 

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, thankyou so much for your fast reply! The service you're providing is brilliant and much appreciated!


 


As you suggested, I tried to examine the lump near her anus more closely and swabbed it with a paper towel soaked in warm water. No obvious feces were deposited on the towel though the discolored lump is now difficult to see. There doesn't appear to be any sign of bleeding, though her entire lower-tail section appears to be swollen (though not greatly). Her abdomen does not appear to be swollen. She still appears very uncomfortable. I intend to take her to the vets tomorrow


 


Again, thanks so much for your advice. It's great being able to talk to an expert in situations like this. Cheers, Flynn.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome, Flynn.

I am glad that she isn't appearing bloated and doesn't appear to have any obvious hemorrhage. While a prolapse is still a concern here (example of an early stage rectal prolapse in a hamster), seeing the lump appear smaller isn't a bad thing. So, I'd keep a close eye on her and would advise that it is best to have her seen as soon as you are able.

All the best,
Dr. B.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )


Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19627
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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