Mr. Nibbles: No Pet Is Too Small for Veterinary Care

PetMD Editorial
Published: April 23, 2018
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On Prince Edward Island in Canada, a very special, very small furry pet got some much-needed veterinary care to help him live his best life.

Mr. Nibbles, a seven-month-old pet dwarf hamster, sustained a very serious injury while exercising on his hamster wheel. His tiny paw got trapped while running, and he had broken it. After an evaluation by Dr. Claudia Lister, DVM of New Perth Animal Hospital, it was decided that the only way to ensure that Mr. Nibbles made a safe and healthy recovery would be to amputate the paw.

While Dr. Lister may be used to performing surgeries on pets, those pets are usually dogs and cats, not teeny tiny hamsters. According to CBC News,
Dr. Lister says, “This is definitely the tiniest animal I have ever taken to surgery. When you’re talking something that’s so tiny, the anesthetic risk is much greater, but also the equipment is not really designed for something that is so tiny.”

That meant that Dr. Lister and her veterinary staff had to get creative. They refashioned medical equipment to accommodate Mr. Nibbles, who is about the same size as two cotton balls, so that they could perform the surgery safely.

The equipment wasn’t the only thing that Dr. Lister had to worry about, though. She also had to carefully research the proper anesthetic dosage for a creature of Mr. Nibble’s size. After consulting veterinary journals and other veterinarians, she felt confident that she could provide the tiny dwarf hamster with the proper anesthesia to ensure his safety.

Luckily, all their preparation and hard work paid off! Mr. Nibbles’ leg was successfully amputated, and a tiny, makeshift Elizabethan cone was formed out of cardboard to prevent him from chewing at his wound.

Mr. Nibbles didn’t even seem too bothered by the whole experience, because he was more than happy to chomp away at a treat after waking up from the anesthesia. This little hamster and the dedicated veterinary staff at New Perth Animal Hospital prove that there is no pet too small when it comes to helping a pet in need.

UPDATE: Dr. Lister says, "Mr. Nibbles is doing great, sutures are out, surgery site appears to be well healed and he is having no trouble getting around. It doesn't appear to have slowed him down at all!" 

Image via New Perth Animal Hospital

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