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Mr. Nibbles

Mr. Nibbles the hamster wearing a cone to prevent chewing on incision

Nibbles or Mr. Nibbles as we refer to him, had a serious exercise wheel injury, fracturing one of his front legs and causing damage to its circulation. If we were to save his life, surgery was needed to amputate his tiny leg. When your patient is a dwarf hamster and only weighs 50 grams, not only does the equipment become a challenge but it is also difficult to measure the micro-doses of drugs necessary!

The Surgery Process

Mr. Nibbles receiving oxygen before being anesthetized
Here Mr. Nibbles is receiving oxygen before being anesthetized. His induction chamber is actually a canine anesthetic mask
Nibbles wearing mask, made using a rubber dental dam stretched across the opening and with a tiny opening cut into it.
Once Nibbles is asleep, we move him to our smallest mask, made even smaller using a rubber dental dam stretched across the opening and with a tiny opening cut into it.
Nibbles is anesthetized and about to get his leg shaved and prepped for surgery.
Now that Nibbles is anesthetized, we will quickly shave and prepare his leg for surgery.
Nibbles having his leg being operated on leg by Dr. Claudia.
This is the smallest leg that Dr. Claudia has ever operated on! Thankfully, she could wear her operating loupes which are special glasses that magnify the surgical field. She also used her ophthalmic or eye instruments because they are much finer and smaller than our regular surgical instruments.
Mr. Nibbles awake after surgery, wearing a "cone" to prevent him chewing at the incision.
Surgery is complete and Mr. Nibbles is awake. Now he must wear his own Elizabethan collar or “cone” to prevent him from chewing at the incision. Of course, these tiny collars are not available for purchase so we made our own from cardboard.
Mr. Nibbles eating a treat after waking up.
We were pretty excited to see Mr. Nibbles eating a treat within 1–2 minutes of waking up! It is very important for hamsters to eat right up until surgery and very soon afterwards.