Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What are Gerbil Health Problems?

Gerbils are really cute furry little creatures that make great pets because of their gentle affectionate nature, small size and daylight activity. These make excellent pets for beginners because they are not high maintenance. However, they are not suitable for very young children as they are sensitive and fragile. They require careful handling and the formation of a strong bond with their owner. Gerbils are quite hardy and do not require a lot of medical care costs. As with the case of every animal, they do have weaknesses so gerbil owners should be aware of the ailments their pet may develop. This article lists the common health problems gerbils are susceptible towards.

Respiratory Problems

Gerbils might have trouble breathing normally if they develop respiratory illnesses. Symptoms include excessive coughing, labored breathing and a peculiar clicking sound.  This is a contagious disease so keep your other gerbils away to avoid spreading the illness among them.

Scent Gland Tumor

The scent gland is a bare oval patch on the underside of an adult gerbil and runs along the midline of the body. Females do not normally use it for marking their territories but males use it often especially if there are many adult males living together. Symptoms of a scent gland tumor include irritation, excessive grooming or scratching, rough patches and bleeding. Females are less susceptible to them and elderly gerbils are at higher risk of developing them. A certified vet needs to examine the animal in case any of these signs are apparent. A surgery is performed to remove the tumor with hardly any risks or after effects.

Tail Damage

Gerbils are delicate little creatures and require care by a responsible individual who understand its sensitivity, habits and preferences. Never hold a gerbil by its tail because this will definitely hurt it as the tail is very much part of the rest of its body.


A substandard diet or inadequate hygiene considerations may lead to digestive problems like diarrhea. It is very important to scrub the cage clean every week with warm water and recommended soap along with a safe antiseptic spray. The vet should be consulted in cases of diarrhea so that proper medication may be prescribed. A large variety of pet meds are available online through comparison shopping sites like


Parasitic creatures like mites may attach themselves to your pet gerbil and live off their host’s fluids. It is important to get quality anti-mite medication recommended by a vet to remedy this problem. It should be powerful and effective but safe to use.

Dental problems

Gerbils are nibblers so they love to gnaw on everything! The trick is to provide them safe wood chips or branches which have not been treated with any sort of chemicals or pesticides. This will prevent overgrowth of your gerbil’s teeth and keep it satisfied and healthy. Any symptoms related to oral care must be reported to a vet immediately.


 It is very important to provide a stress free environment to your pet gerbil. It does not tolerate the presence of other rodent species readily. Larger carnivorous pets must be kept away from the gerbil at all times. It must have its private cozy little home where it can roam around under supervision and live happily. It is important to care for your gerbil properly at all times.


Elderly gerbils may get strokes so be very attentive to their needs and behavior. Strokes may result in paralysis. A vet should be consulted for appropriate treatment and care. Gerbils recover quite well from strokes if taken good care of.

Gerbils are very sweet pets and keeping them is very rewarding and simple. Rodent supplies for gerbils are easily available at US pet stores and online petsupermarket websites. 

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