Buying a Gerbil

Most gerbils are purchased from pet shops. However, it is most likely that these are from a breeding farm, where they are not bred for quality. It is therefore not uncommon for purchasers to be given any information regarding age, health or background.

When purchasing gerbils it is important to consider the health problems they may experience, which may lead to pricey veterinary bills. Some of these illnesses are listed below:

  • Teeth problems – misalignment of teeth leads to problems including weight loss, drooling, and loss of appetite to name but a few.

  • Trauma – common injuries in gerbils usually from dropping or falling from a height.

  • Neglect – gerbils are sometimes neglected at breeding farms and pet shops causing dehydration, eating of bedding and stomach ulcers.

  • Epilepsy – between 20-50% of gerbils suffer epilepsy seizures, although they seem to have no lasting damage in most cases. A way to prevent this is to not blow in a gerbils face. (a method usually used for training)

  • Tumours – both malignant and benign tumours are common in gerbils over the age of two.

  • Tail-Sloughing – Result in a loss of the tail due to being attacked by another gerbil or injury. This usually heals independently with no lasting damage.

  • Tyzzers Disease – Common infection disease, caused by stress or bacteria. Commonly results in lethargy, poor posture, poor appetite, diarrhoea and death.

  • Deafness and Inner Ear problems – Usually detected by gerbils leaning to one side as this affects balance. This does not appear to affect the gerbil and they get used to it. Gerbils who a severe white 'spotting' colouring, particularly susceptible to deafness.


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