How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Jo Your Own Question

Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1065
Experience:  small animal veterinarian for 17 years, loves dogs, cats, birds, and wildlife
Type Your Pet Question Here...
Dr. Jo is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi my hamsters front leg is swollen . He seems to be walking

Customer Question

Hi my hamsters front leg is swollen . He seems to be walking okay and still eating and drinking . Should I be concerned?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
My name isXXXXX and I will do my best to help you with your question about your hamster. I'm sorry he's having this problem.

I've got to start by telling you I love the name Nike for a hamster. He is officially the first Nike hamster I've ever met and it's a perfect name.

While it is reassuring that he is still walking okay and eating and drinking, this is still very much worth being concerned over. I'm worried about the swelling being due to a problem that will get worse without treatment.

The best plan for Nike is for you to find a veterinarian who is comfortable with seeing small pocket pets like a hamster and have an exam done. The exam alone may be sufficient, or your vet may need to take x-rays to find out if there is a fracture there.

There are other things it could be besides a fracture. Some are treatable, and unfortunately, some are not. That's why it's really important to get a diagnosis. Without knowing exactly what is causing the swelling, there's no way to know if you can do something about it or not.

Additionally, hamsters are pretty tough animals, and are good at hiding signs of illness and/or injury. Often the only symptom you will see during the early stages of a problem is that your usually even-tempered hamster seems to become irritable. If you wait until he is no longer eating and drinking well or walking normally, your chances of successful treatment are a lot smaller.

If Nike is housed with other hamsters, it would be a good idea to move him into a separate cage until he is better. Fighting is pretty common with hamsters and an infected bite wound could certainly be one possible cause of a swollen leg. Even if there is no fighting, housing him alone will make it easier to tell exactly how well he is eating and drinking.

Another common cause for skeletal problems is feeding seed-based diets. This leads to Vitamin E deficiency. If Nike is on a seed-based diet (as opposed to pellets) this may be part of the problem.

So, please put Nike in a small cage of his own and make plans to take him to the vet as soon as possible. If he were my hamster, yes, I would take the symptom of a swollen leg seriously.

If you return online and wish to post more to this conversation, please type in what you want to say and click REPLY. I'm happy to help.

Thanks for visiting our website, and let me know how else I can be of assistance.
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1065
Experience: small animal veterinarian for 17 years, loves dogs, cats, birds, and wildlife
Dr. Jo and 3 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hi Tony Alexander,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Nike. How is everything going?

Dr. Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Nike is actually my daughter Tess's hamster. We are very concerned as initially the lump seemed to be in his leg, but in fact the front of his chest is very swollen. My daughter is very upset as it seems to be getting larger. He is still active and eating and drinking fine and doesn't seem to be in any pain at all. I would bring him to the vet but we live in a very small town and the vet only comes once a month. The closest city is 5 hrs away. Finances are also another issue. I will check to see when he comes to town again however Tess is concerned they will recommend putting him to sleep. So hard to see her upset like this- she is a true animal lover and hopes to be a vet herself one day. Any input at all would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Sandra

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you so much for the follow-up. I always wonder how things are turning out for people and their pets. I'm so glad Nike has Tess to look after him. That's wonderful!

Please don't regret your logistical and financial issues with getting Nike to the vet. The important thing is that you do the best you can for Nike within your unique situation. Tess will learn a lot from you about love, care, and unselfishness as you go through this.

I understand Tess's desire to avoid a trip to the vet because she doesn't want to hear bad news. This is an opportunity to help her gently learn that news - whether good or bad - does not change the reality of any situation. Because she loves Nike, we want her to know he is being taken care the best that's possible. Because you love Tess, we don't want her to fret over him.

So -as you've already done - continue to listen to her concerns. Yes, it is alarming to see this lump getting larger. It's also scary to think that a lot of hamsters don't live much longer than a year or two. It's possible this lump is part of a problem that will eventually bring Nike's life to its close. That's heartbreaking because it's been so wonderful to be able to love him for this long. Because you love him so much, make sure he is able to do the things he needs to do every day. If it's getting harder for him to move around the cage, make sure food and water are close to where he likes to lie down. If he's having trouble cleaning himself, gently help with that. If he is puffed up and shivering, shine a heat lamp (or even a desk lamp) on him. Make a variety of favorite, nutritious foods available within easy reach.

If this is some kind of problem that will heal on its own, doing simple nursing care tasks like that will ensure you've done all you can to help him get over it as quickly as possible.

If this is the beginning of the problem that will eventually draw his story to a close, Tess will be able to rest assured she did everything to help him through this stage of his life as comfortably and loved as possible.

If there comes a time when Nike stops eating, is struggling to breathe, or is really weak and skinny, reassure Tess that euthanasia (I prefer to avoid using the words 'putting to sleep' with young children who might become afraid of sleeping - you know her best) is a most loving, compassionate and unselfish choice. As much as it would break her heart to have to consider having Nike euthanized, she would need to love him enough and be strong enough to put his needs ahead of her own desires. If needed (and available), euthanasia is a blessing.

For now, however, it's wonderful that Nike is still acting otherwise normal. That makes me hopeful this is something he may get over on his own.

I wish I could give you better advice as to the exact nature of Nike's problem, but it's impossible without a hands-on physical examination. I'm sure you understand and I know you aren't asking me for that. I still want to be as helpful as I can because I know regardless of the outcome, Tess is worried about Nike and is likely to remember her time with him for the rest of her life.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much- your thoughtful letter brought tears to my eyes, just the fact that you would take the time to write such caring thoughts will make things easier for Tess- she is almost 13, so I will be able to read it to her. You expressed it in a way that I couldn't and she will value your thoughts regarding this because of your sensitivity, education and experience. I am glad him being so active is a positive sign as I thought. If circumstances change though, I know Tess will definitely take comfort in your caring words. I'm so grateful! Sandra

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your kind words. It's a pleasure and privilege meeting people who love their pets and want to do their best for them.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
< Last | Next >
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    522
    2003 Graduate
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    522
    2003 Graduate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2337
    Vet Tech for 30+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    273
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    157
    12 years of experience in emergency, surgery and medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Pet Expert/Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2916
    40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    Voice for your pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    1132
    Veterinary Technician for 15 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jadedangel57/2011-11-8_193134_janenewsm.64x64.jpg Jane Lefler's Avatar

    Jane Lefler

    Behaviorist, Breeder, See Qual.

    Satisfied Customers:

    884
    15 years Breeding Experience, Former vol. Vet Assistant, Dog Behaviorist