Post by LilyandDaisy on Jul 9, 2020 8:10:56 GMT -8
Daisy had porphyrin round her eye today, the second time I've noticed it in a few weeks. Last time it was on a really hot day, and she struggles with heat, so I put it down to stress from the heat. Today it's not hot at all. Her nose looks fine. Could a bedding allergy cause a porphyrin deposit from the eye, without causing a sore nose? Their bedding is a mix of Chipsi Classic wood shavings, aspen wood shavings, carefresh, Tiny Friends Farm Eco bedding, beech wood chips and hay.
Post by LilyandDaisy on Jul 9, 2020 9:41:56 GMT -8
Well this is weird. I'm pet sitting another pair of gerbils (they arrived on Tuesday). I've just noticed one of them has red staining round the eye as well. I've contacted the owner to ask whether it's happened before. They're on Pets at Home antibacterial wood shavings with hay. I noticed when they arrived that this gerbil had a slightly swollen eye and I was meaning to have a look at it at some point. Of course it could be a coincidence.
I've had a quick look around and the usual safe list is the egerbil one - but it doesn't mention Beech in EITHER the safe or unsafe list?
Perhaps this is why I have never used it. Would be GREAT to find out more from any gerbil keepers on here who HAVE used it so we can decide which way to go on it?
Also, I found a jird forum where cherry wood is recommended as a safe wood - but this has always been told as toxic for gerbils? Perhaps, we need to create a safe wood thread on here only with woods used by us lot more than once and with no issues ever connected or possibly connected to it?
Post by LilyandDaisy on Jul 9, 2020 13:02:20 GMT -8
The boarding gerbil's owner got back to me and said that the gerbil has always had trouble with one eye. Apparently it was very swollen a couple of months ago and she saw a vet, who said it was fine. She hasn't had red staining before though. The antibacterial wood shavings they are on contain triclosan which apparently can be an allergen. The shavings make me itch and I'm usually fine with ordinary softwood shavings, and triclosan doesn't seem like something that belongs in gerbil bedding. I'm going to switch the boarding gerbils onto aspen and see if the eye improves.
Daisy never had this problem when they were on Pets at Home wood shavings, hay and shredded paper, only since I added the other substrates. As their tank is due a clean anyway I'm going to switch my gerbils back to just aspen too, and add other things one at a time (I don't have any Pets at Home shavings right now, or I'd use them).
I've found mixed information on beech so for the future I'll probably steer clear of it.
The boarding gerbils' tank is about a metre away from my gerbils' tank. Is it possible Daisy could be reacting to their bedding from that distance?
Sorry for the delay in replying - but that sounds like it might be the cause of the problem. Great to take it back to basics for 6 weeks and see if the whole thing clears up?
As for the scent being ok from another tank - well just as with humans reactions to different things can be mild or severe, but unless your own gerbils really kick up a dust or you have ventilation specifically pulling the air that way - I am not sure it would be a problem - but if you want to be extra sure either block the way between them, or discontue its use in both for the 6 weeks 9to be sure to get rid of any residue in the entire room and then when you ass it back with the originals - you will see if the boarders are affected?
Mind you, if they are only boarding - 6 weeks might be longer than you have anyway?
Post by LilyandDaisy on Jul 13, 2020 14:54:50 GMT -8
The boarding gerbils are staying for 5 more weeks. I changed their bedding to aspen on Thursday night and on Friday morning Sparkle's eye looked normal (Sparkle is the one that had a funny eye). But by the evening it was slightly swollen again, like it has been for months, according to the owner. It seems like she has some sort of chronic issue with that eye, but it's odd that it cleared up for a few hours after changing the bedding. This is what it looks like:
The boarding gerbils are in a Savic gerbilarium, and kick their bedding out the tank all night, whereas mine are in a tank and can't kick their bedding out, so I was thinking it was more likely my gerbils were being affected by the boarding gerbils rather than the other way around.
Daisy's eyes have been fine since Thursday. I emptied their tank today and refiled it with just aspen. I'll wait a few weeks and see if has any eye problems, before adding any other substrate.
I would perhaps try Sparkle on a shallow layer or long-thread paper-based bedding for a week or two if you see an improvement. If there was a moment of calm in there it could be ANY type of dust particles. Only an idea, as it could have been linked to where Sparkle was while you were cleaning the enclosure?
Post by cmcsrthea27 on Jul 18, 2020 1:09:43 GMT -8
I just want to add that I had three gerbils in the past-two of which were sensitive to bedding. I've also had the same problem with my two now. Most beddings haven't worked for them, but for both sets I've used Aspen, which really seems to be the only kind that has made an improvement. It is used as a reptile bedding, but if you get the right kind it is absolutely fine for gerbils too. They were sniffly and had funny eyes, but when I used aspen it seemed to go away. It might not work for yours, but for mine it's worked just fine. It can be a little more expensive than your classic bedding, but definately worth it if it stops irritating them. I get mine from Pets at Home and it is around 2 bags for £9. Really I just have happy gerbils now
"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened"
Post by LilyandDaisy on Jul 19, 2020 16:53:15 GMT -8
I switched Sparkle and her sister to just shredded paper (the softer kind you can buy for pets) and the same thing happened. Her eye looked normal for a few hours, now it's swollen again, although I think it looks a bit less swollen than before. The first time I changed their bedding, they were in a carrier with some old bedding, in the same room. The second time, I put some sand in the carrier for them to bathe while I changed the bedding.
I think she has some kind of chronic problem with that eye that probably isn't caused by allergies or dust, but might be exacerbated by them. I'll probably advise the owner to stay away from scented or treated beddings, like the antibacterial shavings, and to be careful with dust levels.
Perhaps Daisy has a similar issue that means one eye is quite easily irritated (it's been the same eye with the staining both times), although her eyes look completely normal when they're not stained.
Well great that you have been keeping a close eye on her as everything changed - that way we have been able to sort of rule out a few things that were previously thought to be quite likely.
Like you say, short term - none of the bedding seem to make an difference - it comes and goes whatever?
However, potentially when you rehome them - the new owner can try something for a longer period of time and see what happens over a month or two rather than being more reactive like we were at first before we understood it.
Fingers crossed if it IS chronic, that it isn't too uncomfortable for them as they age.
Post by LilyandDaisy on Jul 23, 2020 6:15:38 GMT -8
It gets stranger and stranger. Today four male gerbils arrived (I'm a pet boarder hence the stream of animals). Two of them had a similar eye issue, with swollen, droopy eyes and some red crusting. In these cases both eyes are affected. 3 out of 4 are quite fat gerbils, one is grossly obese. I've never seen such a big gerbil, in real life or online. They were originally a group of 4 and declanned into 2 pairs, and the fattest one was dominant so I suspect there might have been some food hogging going on. The only one that isn't fat was bottom of the hierarchy.
Are gerbils with red eyes more prone to eye problems? I ask because of the 6 gerbils staying, 3 have red eyes and 3 have black. The 3 with eye issues are the red eyed ones.
These gerbils come from a smoking home so it's possible that was contributing to the eye issues. I actually had to change their bedding and wash the tanks when they arrived because the smell of smoke was so strong. All the gerbils have had these problems before entering the house, so it's not anything in my environment.
I mean you are totally right that the smoky home probably isn't doing them any favours - but why are you becoming sore eye central? Unless there is currenly a pollen-fest in your home area (like over in the UK the rapeseed mass flowering event in May often sends people with hayfever into a frenzy?) - similarly - council-run weed killer chemicals sprayed on the ground and in parks can sends dogs and cat to the vets!
And yes, although red-eyed gerbil are more prone to eye trouble - it is all personal to the deleterious effects of the pink-eye gene - not necessarily external factors.
Post by LilyandDaisy on Jul 24, 2020 10:47:35 GMT -8
It is very strange. Both owners and myself are in South London, all within a 5 mile area, so the pollen theory is plausible. But Sparkle's owner said her problem had been going on for a while, and I would expect it to be more seasonal if it was down to pollen. I'll be updating the new gerbils' owners in the next couple of days and I'll try to find out when their eye issues started.
Here is one of the gerbils with the eye problem:
This is the really big gerbil I mentioned, but the photo doesn't really do his size justice. He requires two hands to hold. At 10 months, he weighs 160 grams and gets out of breath and tired easily.
WOW - 160g is the biggest gerbil I have ever known - and I have had some big ones.
Is he in proportion - like a giant - or does he have the fat neck hump of obesity? There is a gene in mice that creates ginger obese/giant mice, but I don't think that same gene has ever been seen in gerbils!!!