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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19029
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I just noticed a small cut on my hamsters foot - hes so quick

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I just noticed a small cut on my hamster's foot - he's so quick though that I can't tell if it is swollen or not, but there is dried blood. The cut isn't affecting him tho - he is running on his wheel, climbing, etc without seeming to be in any pain. I cleaned his cage and bedding, but I am not sure what else to do - I don't want it to get infected, etc. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to get him to a vet until Monday, as most are closed on the weekends, however I didn't know if a vet would even be able to examine him because he is so small. I'm very worried.
Thank you for your question.

I know how worrying injuries of this nature can be for a wee hamster like Hammy. But if he is not actively bleeding and otherwise acting as normal, then it is likely the wound is not severe or life threatening for him.

Therefore, to keep infection away over the weekend until you can see your vet (who can surely see a hamster regardless of size) on Monday, you will want to keep this laceration clean and prevent further trauma. To do this, you may first consider removing any shavings in the case and replacing this with a soft substrate (ie washcloth, newspaper, etc). This will be more hygienic, less traumatic for the injured foot, and easier to monitor him and manage. If you see any bleeding in the hamster wheel (which would suggest that the running is traumatizing the foot), then you may need to remove it to restrict his activity while this wound is healing.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX treatment of the wound, do consider bathing the cut foot with a mild astringent (ie salt water -1tbsp salt to a pint or warm water, dilute chlorohexidine or betadine) three times daily. Since he is likely small and wiggly, you can use a cottonball dampened with one of the above to clean the wound. Afterwards, the wound should be dried thoroughly. And while it may be tempting to use antibiotic creams, do avoid doing so (since ingestion of these can cause serious GI side effects for this species).

If you do this and monitor the wound over the weekend, we will hopefully see it settle down. If you do see any puffiness, pus, or lack of healing come Monday, then that would be your cue to follow up with Hammy's vet for hamster safe antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to aid its healing.

Just in case you don't already have an exotics vet, and wish to find one near you, check http://www.aemv.org/vetlist.cfm or HERE (http://www.guinealynx.info/vetlist.html) . If you are struggling also check here (http://www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html), as rabbit vets often see our wee pocket pets as well.

I hope this information is helpful.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
If you have no further questions, feedback is greatly appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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