Gerbils have small and sensitive eyes that you should check regularly for injuries.
Every now and then you will notice that your gerbil’s eyes are sticky.
In this article we will tell you what four common causes of glued gerbil eyes are and what you can do about it. In addition, there are proven care tips around this topic.
Reason 1: Injuries
Gerbils are very cautious animals. Nevertheless, it can happen that they are frightened and get caught with their eye on the edge of a fixture, for example.
Thus it can come to smaller and larger injuries at the eye.
Depending on the severity of the injury, your gerbil’s eye may become swollen, stuck shut, or even impossible to open due to inflammation.
If you observe your gerbil sustaining the injury, the diagnosis is clear.
If you notice that your gerbil has a stuck eye, carefully remove it from the enclosure and examine the eye for potential injuries.
Sometimes the injuries are so small that you really have to look closely to spot them.
Be sure to avoid touching your pet’s eye to prevent infection.
Take the animal to the vet and get special ointments to help the healing process.
Especially if your rodent has open wounds, it is essential to disinfect the wound.
If the injury is already infected, the administration of antibiotics is important in many cases. Do not wait too long to visit the doctor, because the sooner treatment is started, the more suffering and pain you will save your gerbil.
Reason 2: Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis in gerbils can be due to either too dry indoor air or too dusty litter or sand.
It is one of the more common diseases in gerbils, but can be treated quickly and easily.
If you suspect that your gerbil suffers from conjunctivitis or if it happens repeatedly, it can be helpful to put a bowl of water in the room where the gerbil enclosure is located.
In addition, you should consider changing the manufacturer of the litter and/or sand. Hay can be moistened to minimize the risk of dust.
The animal’s eye is usually swollen, oozing a reddish secretion, and as it progresses, the eye becomes more and more congested.
Conjunctivitis can affect either just one eye or both eyes. Especially if the air in your home is very dry and the eye shows no external injuries, conjunctivitis is very obvious.
The rodent usually shows no behavioral abnormalities, is fit, eats normally and is active. Pain and itching may or may not be associated with conjunctivitis.
If conjunctivitis is suspected, a visit to the veterinarian is essential.
It is treated with special eye drops and/or an eye ointment, with which the eye is carefully smeared daily.
Make sure that you treat your animal only with freshly washed hands to avoid infections.
You can also carefully remove the sticky secretion from the gerbil’s eye with a kitchen towel. It is helpful to have a second person by your side to hold the gerbil so that you can fully focus on the treatment.
Reason 3: Bacterial infection or fungal infection
Bacterial infections can bring on eye infections, among other things.
Likewise a fungal infection.
The pathogens usually get into the enclosure through the food, collected branches, etc. and infect your gerbils there. Therefore it is important that you always wash fresh food well before you give it to your gerbils.
If you want to give your gerbils branches to gnaw on during a walk, it is best not to use branches that you find on the ground – this is where most pathogens are found and the risk of infection is particularly high.
Usually bacterial infections are accompanied by diarrhea, fatigue, eye inflammation and other symptoms.
If the eye inflammation is the only symptom and your gerbil is otherwise behaving perfectly normally, a bacterial infection is unlikely.
If the rodent’s eye is inflamed and your gerbil also suffers from increased fur loss and bald as well as skin patches, a fungal infection is very likely.
Again, eye inflammation is never the only symptom!
Take your gerbil to the vet and treat not only the affected eye, but also the infection or fungal infection.
The eye infection will most likely be treated with an antibiotic and eye drops or ointment.
Separate the affected animal from its peers until it is fully recovered, as both the fungal and bacterial infections are contagious.
Also, clean the enclosure thoroughly and disinfect the furnishings to kill the pathogens.
Reason 4: Foreign body in the eye
Hay, straw or even other objects can cause injuries on the cornea of the racers, which are not necessarily obvious at first sight.
As a result of the injury – respectively also if a smaller foreign body is not removed in time – an agglutinated eye occurs, which can possibly also be accompanied by an inflammation.
Larger dust particles or small wood splinters can also get caught in the animal’s eye. Since a foreign body in the eye can be not only very unpleasant, but also painful, you should not wait with the treatment in any case!
In many cases, the foreign body in the eye can be detected during a thorough examination.
If the foreign body is not removed and does not work itself out of the eye, as a result the eye becomes more and more swollen, inflamed and a purulent secretion comes out.
In addition, the animal plugs its eyes together and often sits in the typical pain posture in the enclosure.
This means it breathes fast, arches its back and is not as active as usual. Increased aggression towards conspecifics can also be a sign of pain.
A foreign body should always be removed by a veterinarian, as a layperson can quickly injure the eye even more.
To “mess around” with the eye yourself is therefore an absolute no-go!
Once the foreign body has been successfully removed from the eye, the inflammation is treated with ointments and drops so that your gerbil will soon be fit again.
However, depending on the type of foreign body and the severity of the injuries in the eye, the gerbil’s vision in the affected eye may not recover (completely).
So, unfortunately, it can also happen that your animal goes blind.
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