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Impacted Cheek Pouches in Hamsters

Hamsters are often presented to the veterinary surgery with swellings on the face. This can be due to dental problems but is much more likely to be due to impacted cheek pouches.

Hamsters have a cheek pouch on each side of their face. They use these pouches to store food. Because the lining of the pouches are dry some foodstuffs may stick to them. The cheeks then look swollen either on one or both sides. Many owners who see this for the first time are very concerned that their pet may have a tumour or abscess.

The situation is easily remedied by gently massaging the food out of the pouches, (this should be done by the vet) the pouches may then be gently flushed with water, but in my experience this is not always necessary and may stress the hamster.

Some hamsters are really prone to suffer from impacted cheeks and I have experienced some cases where the hamster returns week after week with this problem!

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