So I came home last night to my gerbil all lethargic, eyes closed, cold, pale, dehydrated and his body was all twisted and his back end all stiff. I gave him some fluids/stuff to try and hydrate him and give him some energy and he did a little. His eyes even opened at one point but when he tried to walk it was like he was swimming. His chest was puffed out and he was all bony. He was so fragile to pick up..like a broken glass. You could feel all his bones. I just let him crawl into his box, made a "warm corner" and he died this morning.
The thing is, this happened practically overnight. He was fine the day before and his body was normal. He was almost 5 years old. but still. This came out of nowhere. I don't understand how his body can go from normal..to a twisted, starving mess. It's like, did something eat him alive from the inside?
Poor gerbil,what was his name? I'm not sure what could've been wrong with him. Almost 5 is a great age,I'm sure it's hard to lose him after that long. I bet he's chewing all the toilet rolls he can over the rainbow bridge.
I'm sorry about your loss. A stroke is a real possibility. Usually after a stroke you will notice that they can't use their limbs correctly if at all- depending on how bad their stroke was. If it was a bad stroke they will decline quite rapidly. They will usually stop eating, some will take a sip or two of water if you bring the water to them. Almost 5 is a nice long life for a gerbil! I'm sure he had a wonderful life with you.
It sounds like it could have been a stroke. Strokes are often sudden events, although a few gerbils are more lethargic than normal for a few days before a stroke.
My Nutmeg who has survived a stroke, but became very thin (he had never been a thin gerbil and no matter how many peanuts I gave him, he couldn't put the weight back on). The stroke had also really twisted his body.
Soon after a stroke most gerbils are very lethargic and often have their eyes closed.
I have a feeling that the coldness is a sign of a dying gerbil, rather than a direct effect from the stroke and when you find that it is a coldness that cannot be warmed, all you can do is keep your gerbil warm and comfortable.
I think that you must have been one amazing owner to have a gerbil live a healthy life to nearly 5 years old. I myself have never managed one past 3.5 years.
Just a quick note on strokes...I had one die a few years ago from one, but after she had it she lived for about three weeks and made a huge improvement but unfortunatly died when she had a second one. I feed her her seed mix crushed up in some plain or fruit yogart. I believe that the yogart is what kept her going so long because it was more like a treat so she was more willing to at least try and eat it and get stronger. If anyone trys this in the future though...make sure you do not feed a lot of yogart as it can make them even sicker if they eat to much. I let mine have a few licks a few times a day on top of shelled sun flower seeds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds. Also you can try what ever treats they will eat because I also believe the key with her was to get her eating again! She eventually by the second week went back to mostly a normal diet though i still gave her a little bit of yogart once a day. Had she not had a second stroke I think she would have lived quite a bit longer. after the first she could barely move her hind legs, and right before the second stroke she was almost back to normal, though she did not go very fast on her wheel anymore!
Similar thing happened to my Gerbil, Nugget, yesterday. His eyes were closed and he was very lethargic. Not himself. I did get him to eat some of his favorite seeds, but he would turn his back on me and just wanted to go hide in his nest. This morning his eyes are closed and he has no appetite and just wants to sleep. He did drink a little water, but I'm worried.... He's so special. I don't know what to do....
I read some of the posts and went online to get some more info. I ended up putting a heating pad under his cage where he sleeps in his nest and after about 1 hour he got up. His eyes opened, and he ate some peanuts and some of his favorite seeds and drank. He still seems a little wobbly, but he's getting up and about and eating and is more alert. He looks at me when I call his name and doesn't scurry into the corner like he did yesterday. He's not making any clicking sounds and he's not cold, so I don't think its respiratory. All of his symptoms seem to indicate a stroke. I'm going to keep a close eye on him....I read that it can traumatize the gerbil further if you do take it to the vets, so I am going to keep him put and baby him for now. I am not sure how old he is as I adopted him. I've had him for a year now, so he could be just getting on in age....I'll keep you posted. Thanks for your concern!
I think my gerbil Dustie had a stroke yesterday. The onset of his symptoms were sudden. He began making what looked like involuntary bodily movements (such as kicking his legs occasionally), and he displayed lack of mobility and closed eyes. He also stayed mostly to himself and stopped eating and drinking. He even lied down in the running wheel at one point, which he never does (because he's a very energetic gerbil). Just earlier in the day, he was running around and climbing up the cage.
We have been feeding him what we can and giving him water through a 2 mL pipette. He looks better today (has been moving around a bit more and has opened both of his eyes), so I'm hoping he recovers and doesn't die soon.
Unfortunately, Dustie's condition has taken a turn for the worse today. We are barely able to get him to move, and he is keeping his eyes closed. He also will not eat or drink. He is now lying on his side just outside of his little plastic igloo. His breathing appears shallow, and I think he probably will die by the end of the day.
Dustie died yesterday. He just stopped breathing. I'm glad he didn't seem to go through discomfort like our previous two gerbils did. They died of pneumonia. We spent hundreds of dollars at the vet trying to save both of them. This time around, we had no money to take Dustie to the vet. However, I honestly think it would have been a waste of time and money. I'm fairly certain he had a stroke, and there's little that could have been done about it.
As for their plastic igloo, yes, they do chew it (just as they chew on any wood items around), but we purchased the igloo from Pet Smart so I'm assuming it's not harmful to gerbils or hamsters. I also found several other websites that recommended plastic igloos for gerbils or hamsters. However, I'd be interested to see any information you can provide that indicates plastic igloos are harmful to gerbils.
Just because it's from a pet store doesn't mean its safe. Plastic items can't be digested and can also cut the internal organs. Even the AGS says this. Pet stores also sell pine and cedar chips and those are proven to be deadly. If you get more gerbils, get either a wood house or a cereal box. We've had several members here whose gerbils died of ingesting plastic.
Well, thanks for sharing that information. However, we've never had problems with our gerbils ingesting plastic. And it's kind of messed up that a store like Pet Smart uses plastic igloos with their hamsters and gerbils if they're harmful. It encourages new pet owners (such as my wife and I) to follow the same practice under the assumption that the pet store (especially a national chain) follows safe pet guidelines. I also checked the AGS website because you mentioned it: