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Gerbil Won’t Move And Its Abdomen Is Soft

What is making a lethargic gerbil sick?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: January 27, 2012, 6 a.m. EST

Q: My gerbil, Spots, is flat and very soft in the middle. He is not active like usual. He is in his cage and not moving. What’s wrong?

A: What you describe about your gerbil are very non-specific signs of disease. Non-specific means that your gerbil is sick, but the signs do not point to any specific disease. Gerbils that do not eat, do not move very much and are weak may have almost any gerbil disease.

In general the categories of gerbil diseases include infection, cancer, toxin ingestion or even degenerative conditions. A visit to your veterinarian is invaluable to get an answer to this gerbil health problem.

Gerbils, like all small mammals, have a very fast metabolism, and they cannot go very long without eating. And most gerbils that do not eat are also not drinking enough to sustain themselves. Although it is not possible to determine what is wrong with your gerbil based on your description, I can tell you that if your gerbil goes for more than a few days without eating or drinking, it will be difficult to help your gerbil recover from this illness.

At the very least, your veterinarian can give fluids and nutritional support to help your gerbil try to overcome its present condition and return to health.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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