Sparkle the hamster is adventurous and loves to climb and clamber about. On one of her investigations of her cage, however, she got her leg stuck on the connecting edge of her slide. When her owner found her, tragically her back leg was broken and the bone was coming through her skin.
Sparkle’s owners brought her straight down to 387 Vets as an emergency on Saturday morning, and by Saturday lunchtime she was in theatre.
Hamster bones are incredibly fine, which means repairing fractures is very complicated and fraught with problems. Furthermore, ‘open’ fractures (where the bone comes through the skin) are more likely to have healing difficulties because of infection.
Because she was young and her owners loved her very much, they took the brave decision to have her fractured leg amputated. The other option would have been to put Sparkle to sleep.
The operation went exceptionally well, and Sparkle was so active when she came round from anaesthesia, that we found it hard to take a good photo!
A week after her surgery you wouldn’t know she is missing a leg unless you look closely. One happy, adventurous hamster again!
When dogs and cats are admitted to theatre, they are anaesthetised using an injectable drug via an intravenous cannula followed by a gaseous anaesthetic mixed with oxygen. This is administered throughout surgery through a tube inserted into the trachea (wind pipe). However, rodents have much smaller airways. Therefore, to ensure the highest levels of safety as well as effectiveness, if they need an anaesthetic, we use a breathing chamber which fits over their head and round their neck and looks similar to an astronaut’s helmet! This way we can control the depth of anaesthetic throughout the procedure.