Inflammatory Lesions in Hamsters
Skin abscesses are essentially infected pockets of pus under the skin. In hamsters, they are usually caused by bacterial infections from wounds received during fights with cage mates or from injuries caused by sharp objects found in the cage such as wood shavings.
When encountered, skin abscesses should be immediately assessed and treated by a veterinarian to prevent the infection from spreading throughout the hamster’s body.
Skin abscesses are often located around the hamster's head, though they can occur anywhere on the body. The swelling may be felt or seen beneath the hair, and the area will be red and sensitive to your touch. If the abscess has ripened then it pits when pressure is applied. A hamster's cheeks and lymph nodes around the neck may even be swollen if the infection is severe. If the abscess ruptures, pus may ooze out and soil the surrounding hair.
Skin abscesses may occur after bite wounds or other trauma sites become infected. Injuries received from sharp objects such as wood shavings can also lead to infection and abscesses.
A physical examination will be used to differentiate from other common skin conditions such as cysts and hematomas. The examination will include puncturing the abscess and collecting blood and/or pus samples to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection.