View Full Version : Is my gerbil dying?

09-15-06, 03:55 pm
I have a singular male gerbil who is almost three years old. He lost his brother about a year ago, and since then I've been letting him out in a safe room every day, making sure he's not too lonely. Lately I've noticed he seems depressed, or maybe just really old. On the rare occasions he's awake long enough to let him out, he is active enough, he will run around, but quickly finds a spot and stays there. In his cage, he eats and drinks less than he used to, he never eats his sunflower seeds treat, and never chews a toilet paper tube anymore. He mostly sleeps, for hours and hours. His eyes look more squinty too, but I don't think he's blind.

Okay, I know it sounds pretty obvious, but ... is he dying? Is there anything I can do? I feel so bad for him, just sleeping all the time. He's not cuddly at all, he hates being touched. (Unlike his deceased brother.) I just wish there was something I could do. I want him to die peacefully in his sleep, and I wonder if anyone has been through this who can give me a sort of timetable.

His brother died in an accident, that's why I have no idea how this will go.

09-15-06, 04:10 pm
Can you check his teeth? If he's not chewing hard foods or cardboard then he may have tooth problems which isn't entirely uncommon in older gerbils. He may just need a vet to trim a tooth or 2 and he'll be acting normal again.

3 is getting old for a gerbil. I have had some live past 5 though. If he isn't losing any weight and doesn't seem actually ill with anything then I would just say it's old age and provided he still looks like he's enjoying life without any pain I'd let him be. It's a tough call on when it might be right to put down elderly pets. If he's losing weight you could try finding some sunflower seed oil to put on his food or deshulled unsalted sunflowers. Sunflowers are extremely nutritious and high in fat which makes them very good for elderly or ill gerbils.

09-16-06, 08:48 am
I think you're right, I think it is his teeth. He is very active when he's awake, the only difference is his chewing habits. I'll take him to a vet.

Thank you so much!

09-19-06, 07:13 pm
So I took Panda to the vet today and it turns out he broke two of his top teeth! I can't imagine how he did that. They did trim the bottom a bit, and it seems to have helped, since he did eat a little. I crushed a bit of his favorite pellets. Hopefully he can gain some of his weight back.

Thanks again for your help.

Has anyone heard of a gerbil breaking teeth?

09-20-06, 04:45 pm
Yes, my friend had one that jumped off the table and broke its teeth.

Has anyone heard of a gerbil breaking teeth?

09-20-06, 06:48 pm
Occasionally. Sometimes they'll take a fall or bang their mouth while racing about their cage. They also on rare occasion think their teeth are stronger than they really are and attempt to chew through something they really can't such as metal bars or metal food dishes. Not much besides metal that a gerbil can't chew through. lol You can moisten food pellets with a bit of water and if he needs it try a little baby food but he should recover fine now and be eating normally within a week.

09-21-06, 11:11 am
Thank you all so much for your input. I don't know why I didn't think of his teeth; I just got hung up on his being older, and didn't wonder any further. I bought him a trail-mix type thing a little while ago and watched him slowly eat a cashew. He seems to be learning to chew more with back teeth. He also likes peeled grapes. (Yes, I'm aware he's spoiled.) He didn't like the baby food (never thought I'd have to buy THAT again!) but I might try oatmeal too.

I'll fatten him up.

09-21-06, 05:23 pm
Glad it helped. Some dislike or love various flavors of baby food. They can be a bit picky about it but if he was really hungry he'd eat it so he's probably fine without it. Like I said I've had some gerbils live to 5years so I wouldn't consider him really old yet. Just starting to become elderly.

09-28-06, 09:50 am
I'm glad he's ok!

09-28-06, 01:30 pm
He's much better. He's much more active now and gaining weight. He even chewed on his tube a little! One thing I did was bought him nuts to fatten him up. He loves the cashews. He wouldn't eat much of anything else, except apple.

09-28-06, 03:43 pm
Occasionally I give mine almonds or hazelnuts still in the shell. They spend a good part of the day dragging them around chewing the shell open.