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How to Tell if Your Gerbil is Sick

October 15, 2014

Do you have a pet gerbil in your Fort Collins home? These charming little pets are quite bright, and are very cute to watch. To keep your gerbil healthy, you’ll want to monitor his behavior, and take note of any changes.

Just like any other animals, gerbils can be susceptible to illness, disease, or parasites. These little furballs aren’t always very easy to read, however, especially when compared to a more expressive animal like a dog or cat. Healthy gerbils will be playful and alert, and will have a good appetite. They often like being held and played with, and will be quite aware of everything going on around them, and will react to different stimuli. Signs of sickness in gerbils can be subtle, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on your pet gerbil in order to know if your little buddy is sick.

Here are a few symptoms of illness in gerbils:


If your gerbil is in pain, he may squeak or nip at you.


Like many animals, gerbils sometimes hide when they aren’t feeling well. If you notice that your little one is hiding most of the time, he could be feeling ill.

Runny Eyes/Nose

Gerbils produce mucus that has a reddish tint. If you see red around your gerbil’s eyes or nose, this could be a symptom of illness.

Fur Loss

If you notice your little buddy has bald patches, something is very likely going on with your gerbil.


A gerbil that seems listless, over-sleepy, or lethargic may be ill.


While a gerbil may on occasion get an upset tummy, diarrhea should not be a normal occurrence in your little pet.

Problems Eating

If your gerbil seems to be having issues eating, or can’t properly open or close his mouth, he could be having issues with his teeth. Gerbils need to chew to keep their teeth in good condition, so make sure your little buddy has plenty of things to chew on.


If your gerbil feels too hot or too cold, he may have heat stroke or hypothermia. Gerbils are very sensitive to temperature changes, and something as innocent as keeping your buddy’s cage too near an AC vent can cause problems with your little pet.

Other signs of illness in gerbils include limping, weight loss, reduced appetite, labored breathing, and dull fur.  Contact your Fort Collins vet immediately  if your pet gerbil shows any of these symptoms.

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