Gerbil abdominal pain – 6 reasons & treatment
Abdominal pain can plague your gerbil and cause significant health problems.
It is therefore essential to recognize the reasons for this pain.
In this article we will tell you 6 causes of gerbil abdominal pain and also give you care tips and treatment options.
Reason 1: Mal-fermentation in the intestine
Most often, this problem is due to food intolerance.
Also, it may be that your pet ate something spoiled or maybe even drank stale water.
In this case, it is helpful to consider if you have fed anything new lately that could be responsible for the fermentation failure.
Also, change out leftover fresh food every day. Water should generally be changed at least once a day, and more frequently in the summer.
Recognizing fermentation problems in gerbils
In most cases you can recognize a fermentation defect by the fact that your gerbil has diarrhea or at least very soft stool.
Usually this will also cause a very unpleasant, slightly putrid odor.
It is also possible that your gerbil eats less and sits in the typical painful posture with bent back, rapid breathing and narrowed eyes in the enclosure.
The right treatment
If it is only a slight fermentation disorder, it is sufficient to observe your gerbil and wait.
The next day everything should be fine again.
If the condition of your gerbil does not improve, then consult a veterinarian.
Reason 2: Constipation / Intestinal obstruction
Excessive feeding of pellets can lead to intestinal blockage.
You have plastic items in the enclosure?
If so, your gerbil may have eaten a larger piece of plastic, which can now lead to constipation or, in the worst case, intestinal blockage.
Replace all plastic items with wooden items!
Dehydration can also quickly become a problem.
How to recognize constipation in your gerbil
If your pet is constipated, it will have trouble defecating. If your gerbil does manage to defecate, it will usually be noticeably dark and hard as a rock.
In case of an intestinal obstruction your gerbil will not be able to defecate at all.
The right treatment
If you notice that your gerbil suffers from constipation, you can feed a lot of fresh food with a high water content, such as cucumber, to soften the stool.
Gently remove your pet from its enclosure and gently massage its abdomen.
If the condition does not change or your gerbil already has an intestinal obstruction, you should consult a veterinarian immediately!
Reason 3: Infections
Your gerbil may have contracted an infection from another pet.
This cause is of course only possible if you have other pets that are suffering from an infection.
Otherwise a lack of hygiene or a dirty environment can be the cause.
It is also possible that your gerbil ingests the pathogens with its food, which is why you should always wash fresh food very well before feeding it.
Recognizing infections in the gerbil
If an infection is responsible for the abdominal pain, this is usually manifested by diarrhea.
In addition to the abdominal pain, there are usually other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, apathy, etc.. Depending on the infection, the symptoms can vary greatly.
Infections should always be clarified by a veterinarian.
The earlier treatment is started, the more suffering you can spare your gerbils.
If you suspect that your gerbil has an infection, take it out of the enclosure immediately and separate the animal to avoid infection.
Reason 4: Tumors
Tumors that grow larger and larger can cause severe abdominal pain, depending on the location where they are growing.
Especially if the tumor becomes so large that it presses on surrounding organs.
Tumor diseases mainly affect older gerbils, but in principle they can also appear in younger animals. There is no real reason for the development of a tumor, because they can affect any gerbil.
However, you can prevent a little bit with the help of a species-appropriate attitude and feeding.
How to recognize a gerbil tumor
In some cases, tumors can either be recognized from the outside or they can at least be felt.
Carefully palpate your gerbil’s abdomen for lumps, indurations and bumps.
In some cases, however, the tumors can neither be seen nor felt from the outside. It is therefore possible that your gerbil has a tumor even if it does not show any abnormalities other than abdominal pain.
Treating tumors in gerbils
In case of tumors you should never treat them on your own, but always contact a veterinarian immediately.
The vet has to clarify if the tumor is benign or malignant and if it has to be removed or if it can be treated differently.
Reason 5: Parasites
Intestinal parasites are not uncommon in rodents.
In addition to an unsanitary environment, there are many other factors that can be a cause.
Especially if your gerbil is older or has a weakened immune system, parasites have an easy time.
Recognition of gerbil parasites
Besides diarrhea, you will usually notice a few other symptoms.
For example, your gerbil may well start scratching more, change its behavior, or develop inflammation of skin, eyes, etc.
Also it can be that the parasite infestation does not lead to diarrhea, but to constipation!
Separate the animal in question from the others and clean the enclosure thoroughly.
The facility should also be disinfected.
Also consult a veterinarian to determine the parasites and discuss further action.
Reason 6: Too fast food change
Gerbils have a very sensitive digestive system, so a food change should always be taken slowly.
If you change the food too fast, the stomach and intestines of the animal can not adjust so quickly to the new food and abdominal pain is the result.
New food should therefore always be fed in very small amounts at the beginning and the portions then slowly increased within a few days or even weeks.
This cause can be recognized by the fact that your animal shows symptoms of abdominal pain and possibly diarrhea or constipation a few hours after feeding.
If this is the case, remove the rest of the new food from the enclosure immediately, wait a few days and feed much smaller amounts of the food in question from then on.
If the problems return, your gerbil is most likely simply not tolerating this food – so you should leave it out in the future.
The right treatment
In most cases it is sufficient to wait one or more days and to completely abstain from new food for this time.
If there is no improvement, a visit to the vet is advisable, because he can safely rule out other causes.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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