Cysts on hamsters are small pockets of tissue that are often filled with liquid or a semi-liquid substance. They are often not very severe and won’t cause major issues if treated correctly and soon after being discovered.
While it may be tempting to avoid costly visits to the veterinarian, you should never drain a cyst on a hamster at home because without proper training it can lead to serious health complications.
Any medical procedure that involves an animal should be performed by a trained veterinarian that has experience in the procedure, potential complications, and side effects. Even something as simple as draining a cyst should never be done at home.
With that out of the way, let’s provide a little more information about cysts in the following sections:
In the first section, let’s just answer the question, what is it?
What is a Cyst?
A cyst is a small pocket of tissue that is often filled with air, liquid, or a semi-liquid substance underneath the skin. Think of it like a large pimple that can cause pain if not treated correctly. And because it’s often seen as a large pimple, many pet owners think they can drain it at home, but that can cause serious complications.
Cysts can occur on any part of the body, but they usually occur on the skin as a result of infection. These pockets can either be benign or malignant, which indicates whether they are cancerous or not. Benign cysts are generally harmless and can be safely removed, while malignant cysts can lead to serious health issues down the road.
Cancerous cysts result when the cells in the growth spread rapidly and expand to nearby tissue and organs. This is how cancer spreads and is normally treated with surgery and chemotherapy, however hamsters rarely receive that type of treatment because of the cost and their shorter lifespan.
Any cyst should be treated with care and seriousness by a trained veterinarian and why it is never recommended to drain a cyst at home.
Are Cysts Dangerous?
There are two types of cysts, benign and malignant and whether it is dangerous depends on the type. Benign cysts are harmless and can be safely removed, while malignant cysts are dangerous and can cause serious health complications.
As mentioned in the previous section, cysts fall under these two categories, essentially indicating whether it is cancerous or not. The underlying structure, look, and feel are the same. The only difference is that in malignant tumors, the cells are cancerous and can attack and spread to other areas of the body or internal organs.
Any type of cyst should be addressed by a trained veterinarian as soon as possible because it’s impossible to know whether it is benign or malignant by just looking at it with an untrained eye. Unfortunately, the course of action for malignant tumors is generally limited for hamsters because of the cost of the treatment and their short life span.
However, benign cysts can be properly drained and removed to prevent any pain or risk of further infection. While benign cysts are generally harmless, if they become infected they can spread and cause major health complications. When a cyst becomes infected, it turns into an abscess, which is more painful and leads to swelling and redness. It can cost anywhere between $25 and $100 to have an abscess treated.
As a result, if you suspect your hamster has a cyst, you should treat it as as potentially dangerous until it can be examined, diagnosed, and removed from your furry friend.
What to Do if Your Hamster Has a Cyst
If you suspect your hamster has a cyst, it is vitally important to take the proper steps to ensure your hamster continues to live a long and fulfilling life. The first thing you should do is take your furry friend to the veterinarian so they can properly examine the area and diagnose a course of treatment.
Recommended treatments from a trained veterinarian often include:
- Antibiotics: These will reduce inflammation, swelling, and the risk of infection, which can help the cyst heal on its own.
- Poked and drained: Sometimes the cyst has become too large and painful for your hamster, so they may recommend it be drained, which can reduce pain and risk of further health complications.
- Surgical removal: In extreme examples, your veterinarian may recommend surgery. However, this is more common for other animals that have longer life spans. While surgery on a hamster is possible, it is rare due to the significant cost and shorter lifespan of your furry friend.
Depending on the recommended course of action from your vet, it’s also very important to make sure your hamster is living in a comfortable and clean environment and has plenty of fresh food and water. Because cysts are prone to infection, keeping their area clean will go a long way in preventing any further health complications.
As a result, make sure to clean their cage regularly and feed them a well-balanced diet. Ultimately, the best way for your hamster to get through a cyst is by following the recommendations of your veterinarian and avoiding further infection.
Finally, always continue to monitor your hamster’s condition to ensure it’s not getting worse. If it does start to look worse, consult your veterinarian as your hamster be having an adverse reaction to the treatment plan or something in their environment.
If you’re interested in reading more about hamster health or other relevant content, check out the links below:
- Can Hamsters Get Surgery? – Church Ranch Veterinary Center
- How to Care For Your Small Animal After Surgery – Oxbow Animal Health
- Hamster Specific Anesthesia – University of Texas
When it comes to the health of your hamster, it can be a worrying thought that they aren’t okay. However, hamsters are small animals with delicate immune systems and the truth of the hamster is that they often get sick.
Cysts are just one type of sickness that can befall a hamster and they are the pockets of tissue filled with liquid or semi-liquid substance discussed in the earlier sections. They can either be malignant or benign, but each one should be examined and treated by a trained veterinarian.
Never try to drain a hamster’s cyst at home and always consult with a trained professional if you believe your hamster has developed a cyst.