A hamster from North Devon has made the record books by becoming the first hamster in the region to undergo a hysterectomy.
Tinska Octavia Gough first hit the headlines back in June 2021, when her uterus fell out unexpectedly. Since then it has fallen out a further five times and Tinska has become quite the celebrity at the emergency vets.
Speaking to us from her palatial residence in Georgeham, Tinska said “It was quite a busy June and July with all those late night trips. It’s a good thing I live with a night owl.”
Night owl Caroline said “Much as my body clock is programmed to stay up late, round trips to Roundswell are not how I like to spend my evenings. Tinska’s uterus would always wait until at least 10pm before it fell out. She was always treated like an absolute princess at the vets, who declared her to be the nicest hamster they’ve ever met, whilst due to covid rules, I had to wait in the car park, hoping my hamster was still alive and calculating how much sleep I would be able to get before waking up to go to work the next day. We never got home before 2am, and the week it happened twice in three nights I was so tired I accidentally poured the milk directly into the packet of Cornflakes instead of the cereal bowl.”
The late night trips had quite an effect on Caroline’s bank balance. “Not a lot of people know this, but if your hamster’s uterus falls out after 10 o’clock at night, it costs £159 to put it back in. Apparently it would be cheaper at 10 o’clock in the morning, as that is considered a much more sociable time for a uterus to fall out.”
Caroline and Tinska were told that they could save money by putting the uterus back in by themselves with vaseline and a cotton bud. “I really wasn’t keen on that,” said Tinska. “We did try it, but I just didn’t like it. The only time it worked was when Caroline’s friends Katie Lola and Mira were visiting from London, then there were enough people to cuddle me and syringe milk (my favourite drink) into me so that I almost didn’t notice what was happening down below.”
Whilst Tinska’s uterus remained in tact for the whole of the summer holidays, it then fell out again to coincide with Caroline’s first week back at work in September. “It was particularly bad that time,” said Tinska. “There was blood everywhere. I’d never seen blood before. It doesn’t taste as nice as milk does.”
It was decided that the only option was for Tinska to have a hysterectomy. “Previously the vets had advised against this,” said Caroline “because giving anaesthetic to a hamster is quite a risky thing to do. Also no vet in North Devon had ever done a hysterectomy on a hamster before, nor had the qualification to do it. So Tinska was literally going to be a guinea pig.”
Happily, the operation was a huge success and Tinska emerged from the operation missing not just her uterus but also an entire underside of hair. “I didn’t know I was going to get shaved as well,” she said. “It was a bit chilly for a couple of weeks whilst I waited for my hair to grow back.”
Caroline’s bank account is very pleased that the ordeal is over. “With all those vet trips and then the final operation, that uterus has cost more than £1000. Which is crazy when you consider a hamster uterus isn’t even as big as a penny.”
Tinska said “Being a guinea pig for the day was quite dramatic. I much prefer being a hamster.”