hamster with a tumor

Tumors are not common but they can develop, and can be removed depending on the size of growth and the locality. The word tumour actually means swelling, but the word is also used to denote abnormal tissue growth. A tumour can be either malignant or benign.
A malignant tumour means it is cancerous and possesses the ability to invade adjacent tissues and spread to other parts of the body.
Benign tumors do not invade surrounding tissues or metastasize: that is to spread from one part of the body to another. There are different types of tumors that can have different causes.

In most cases it is difficult to tell if a tumour is benign or malignant until a biopsy is taken by a veterinarian.
In the video top right this hamster had a facial tumour. An open biopsy revealed that the tumour was so large it was considered not possible for removal; euthanasia was the kindest option in this case.

hamster with a tumor

Jacob with an ear tumor

Jacob's story.
Jacob, a male Syrian and one of my elderly retired hamsters, a sweet gentle natured little fellow, who had a good very active life and upon reaching 22 months old developed a tumour in the ear. One night, as I was feeding the hamsters I noticed Jacob had a very small growth just inside his ear which looked like a skin tag or a wart of some description; it seemed so small it gave me no real cause for concern. The following evening on closer inspection it looked as though he had been scratching it as there was a little dried blood present. Again, not being too concerned I bathed it in a solution of Virkon and placed him back in his cage. When I checked on him again the following day it had more than doubled in size and dried blood was present yet again as if he had been irritating him and he had been scratching it. I booked him in at the vets for the following evening as I was now becoming a bit concerned at the rate of growth. The following morning it had doubled in size yet again as to what it was the day before.

The vet confirmed it was a benign tumour and needed removing as it would just grow bigger and possible down into the ear canal. The tumour itself was causing Jacob no pain but he was conscious of it being there by trying to brush it away with his paw which was causing it to bleed. I am not comfortable with putting an elderly hamster through such a risky procedure but on the advice of the vet we made the choice for Jacob to have the operation to remove it the following day. The operation went well the tumour was successfully removed and Jacob made a good and complete recovery. Jacob is now 25 months old and still going strong but spends most of his time sleeping and eating.


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