Lexi the hamster’s eyeball removed after accidental squashing
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Cape Town – The accidental squashing of a 2-year-old hamster named Lexi, which caused her left eyeball to bulge out of its socket, has raised concern for the Animal Welfare Society of SA (AWS) which states it has seen an increase in injuries on small pets.
AWS spokesperson Allen Perrins stated that Lexi’s owner's only noticed the severe trauma to her eye several days after the incident. He explained that while hamsters are active little creatures, they are often accidentally injured when gripped too tightly.
“Exophthalmos or proptosis is the bulging of one or both eyeballs from the socket. It is common in hamsters but the risk can be effectively mitigated by learning the proper way to handle them.”
The society said they have seen an increase in accidents and the intentional harm of household pets in recent months, resulting in their launch of several educational social media posts.
Perrins stated that since the start of the year, AWS had performed 62 orthopaedic operations, many of which were complicated surgeries on small animals.
Perrins explained that while injuries among hamsters and smaller household pets were common, exophthalmos and a number of injuries can be avoided by owners handling animals with care. He advised that owners should never allow young children to play with pets without adult supervision.
Many hamster injuries may also be avoided by owners being considerate to the needs and pairing potential of their hamsters.
“Syrian or golden hamsters are solitary, territorial animals who need their own space. If this basic need is neglected they will fight and can inflict serious injuries on one another. If there is more than one hamster per enclosure (regardless of the breed) then owners should keep an eye open for squabbles between them.” said Perrins