Polycystic disease causes fluid-filled sacs, called cysts, to develop in a hamster's internal organs. The hamster may develop one or more cyst -- usually in its liver -- each of which is 3 centimeters in diameter. Other internal organs that can develop these cysts include the pancreas, adrenal glands, accessory sex glands (in males), and/or ovaries or tissue lining the womb (in females).
If left untreated, the cysts may continue to grow and could potentially burst, placing the hamster's life in danger. However, treating polycystic disease can be quite difficult. The only effective treatment for hamsters which develop cysts in the ovaries and uterus, for example, is spaying. Therefore, polycystic disease requires immediate veterinary care.
Polycystic disease is caused by a disturbance in the production of hormones. Typically, it affects hamsters that are 1-year-old or older.
In addition to palpating the abdomen for cysts, a veterinarian can confirm polycystic disease by conducting X-rays and/or ultrasound scans on the hamster.
The hollow bodily organ that holds the embryo and fetus and provides nourishment; only found in female animals.
A gland that aids in both digestive and insulin functions