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O2010-31

Dear Harry Hamster

Daphne, my hamster, suddenly developed a swollen cheek and lost her appetite yesterday. What’s her problem, and what can I do about it?

Harry Responds

We hamsters store food and other “valuables” in our pouches. I like nothing better than to sit on Mom’s shoulder, chew off a lock of her hair and store it in my pouch until I can return to my cage and line my nest with it.

It sounds like Daphne may have filled her cheek pouch with so much “stuff,” perhaps even food, that it became impacted there. If that’s the case, your best bet is to call your veterinarian to schedule an immediate examination.

Describe Daphne’s diet and ask your vet if the type of food she eats may have contributed to her cheek pouch impaction.

Your veterinarian will gently manipulate the food or other material out of her pouch while ensuring that it doesn’t block her airway.

If the swelling isn’t an impacted pouch but rather a mass, abscess or infected tooth, your veterinarian will be able to treat it appropriately.

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