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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  12 years with dogs, cats, exotic, wildlife and zoo animals, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.
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I have had a Russian hamster for 10 days. He drinks and eats

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I have had a Russian hamster for 10 days. He drinks and eats well. He is active on his wheel and spends a lot of time out of his 'home' which he made with cotton (sold at pet store). He never bit me and does not even jump when I put my hand in his glass aquarium (24" long by 12" wide and 12" high). He is the most social hamster I have ever seen. I really want to keep him!
Today, there is a very pink chunk of skin hanging from his mouth. I tried to put it back in with a Q-Tip, thinking his pouch is inside out. At least that is what it looks like. He still eats and drinks and goes on his wheel. He is still very social with me. But I worry about that pink 'empty-pouch-like' skin. He tends to pull on it and he stretches it out to a full centimeter+.
Do you know what this is? What can be done? The pet shop offered to take him back, but I really like his friendly, calm disposition and I would really like to keep him.
Please let me know what you think.

Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.

Does the pink skin seem to be hard like a mass or does it bleed easily?

Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your quick response.

No the skin is very soft and full of tiny folds. It is very loose/flabby. It seems to be dehydrating, but it becomes a 'healthy pink' when I put a drop of water on it. I am surprised to see the hamster eats well with this thing. There is no blood at all. It actually looks like healthy 'inside pink skin' when I wet it.

Thanks for the information, one more question, do the non-dehydrated parts seem like they are swelling?

Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

There is no swelling, and no dehydrated 'parts'. The loose skin hanging out of his mouth just seem to require an hydrated environment. It really should be INSIDE somewhere!

Thanks for the information, that is what I thought but everyone observes and describes differently so I wanted to be absolutely clear. This is a herniated cheek pouch also called a cheek pouch prolapse. The pouches in the cheeks can become unattached kind of like a hernia in a human. The reason I was asking my questions is that cheek pouch tumors can occur too. An prolapsed cheek pouch must be replaced. If pushing it in with a q tip does not keep the tissue in then it has to be surgically stitched in. This is a very quick and successful procedure but it does require a very brief anesthesia and a vet so there will be costs involved. If this goes untreated and remains out of the mouth then eventually the tissue will become damage and infected and then eventually fatal. He either needs veterinary repair or to be returned to the pet store. In the meantime keep the tissue as moist as you can. DO NOT put human triple antibiotic ointment on the pouch as the neomycin in the ointment will cause fatal diarrhea.

Dr. Dan
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks a bunch for your assistance.

Much appreciated.

Good luck to you both!