One of the most important aspects of checking your gerbils’ health is knowing how they should look as they go about their day-to-day lives. As you become used to them and carry out their daily care, you’ll understand what they look like when they’re happy and healthy. If you see any departure from this, then this serves as your cue to investigate further.
Have a good read of the checklist below to get an idea of what you need to be on the lookout for
If your pet appears to be in pain or has suffered a serious injury such as a broken leg, then we recommend that you take your pet to the vet as quickly as possible. Gerbils can feel pain just as we can, and as their owner it’s up to you to keep them from experiencing pain as much as possible. Vets can offer treatment of the injury as well as relief of pain and symptoms, so please don’t delay.
- Checking Breathing
The first thing to do is to check that your gerbil is breathing correctly. If it is not, then it could be suffering from a health problem such as an injury, an allergy, or a respiratory infection. Whichever of these is correct, your pet will need to be taken to the vet, as any problems with breathing are both stressful and life-threatening. Get your pet to a small mammal veterinarian as quickly as possible.
- Checking Hair
Are your gerbils’ coats smooth and free of flakes? Are they free of lumps and bumps, as well as sores and scabs? Is there anything moving in your pets’ coats? If so, your pets could be suffering from an infection, a parasite or a tumour.
- Checking Eyes
Are your gerbils’ eyes free of lots of crust? Can your gerbils open their eyes properly? Are your gerbils eyes clear and bright? Do your gerbils have anything in their eyes? Are your gerbils’ eyes swollen or sore?
If there’s an eye problem, have a look at our common illnesses section to see if you can figure out the problem. However, we strongly recommend taking your pet to see a vet if there’s anything stuck in their eye. Owners with the best of intentions can often do more harm than good when attempting to remove debris from their pets’ eyes.
- Checking Ears
Ears should be clean and upright, and relatively free of wax buildups. Ears are susceptible to mites - it’s wise to have a look in them to make sure that your pets are free of irritating parasites. A symptom of ear mite infection is the presence of bald patches between the ears and the eyes. This is because the mites travel often between these two areas and cause the hairs to fall out. There may also be a thick wax in your pets’ ears.
- Checking Skin and Bodies
Does your gerbil have any lumps on it’s skin? Any swelling or redness? Any cuts or sores? Any limb problems such as limps? Depending on the severity of any of these issues, you may want to take your pet to the vets. Broken legs, large cuts and infections probably require treatment.