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Another potentially unwell gerbil :(

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by Thea_SRA27, Jan 7, 2021.


  1. Thea_SRA27

    Thea_SRA27 Thea

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    Hi, I haven't made my own thread for a couple of months now. I made a thread about Storme, my girl who passed away in late October, but rarely talk about Rolo. She is my lone girl who has been getting on better than expected by herself.

    I'm just going to talk about change in behaviour I've been noticing in her recently which I don't think is too good.

    She's kind of been on and off. Active one day, and then not herself the next. It's just so weird. I've never seen this in my gerbils before.

    I first noticed it two or three days ago, when she wasn't sleeping in her coconut nest like she always does. Sounds weird but it's the only place she really sleeps, and I could sense something was off. Then I took her out and she sat fairly still, and she was a bit colder than usual. I put her heat pad on the side of her tank, and she perked up a bit. I assumed it was because she was cold

    This morning, she was active, happy and interested in what was going on. She was eating and drinking fine. She had big, wide eyes and was digging around as normal.

    But just in past two hours, she's really dropped in her behaviour. She's not sleeping in her coconut anymore, and hasn't touched the cardboard I left in there for her (she normally shreds it in minutes!! and she finished off a toilet roll just this morning). She's a bit colder than usual too, when it isn't really that cold in my room. She accidentally rolled over on her back a few minutes ago, and wasn't able to get up, she did try though. I found her trying to push herself over, and I had to help her. It broke my heart.

    I'll take her out again tonight. She may perk up again, I can't be sure, but she looks worse than last time. I will book her in to the vets if she is the same tomorrow I think.

    What does everyone think?

    I'm terrified. Her second birthday is in two weeks, I was hoping she would make it to 3 like her brothers did because she's always had such good health... if I had two gerbils both die at one, even if it's their genes that's the problem, I think I would struggle to allow myself to have more gerbils like I had always planned to after Rolo. I know it isn't my fault but it sure feels like it. I never have favourites, I've loved them all the same, but Rolo and I have had the closest connection that I've had with any of my gerbils. She is such a wonderful girl. I just hope she can hang on a little longer, she really is my everything :(

    Thank you for reading, replied would be appreciated more than you could know.

    Thea
     
  2. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    For as long as she is healthy, I'd get her a friend, she is still young for a gerbil, it could 'just' be loneliness and possible depression. Gerbils need company and she has been alone long enough to have grieved and it does sound like, if not an illness, she feels lonely.
     
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  3. Thea_SRA27

    Thea_SRA27 Thea

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    I've thought through this too. I would say from what she looks like though, it is illness rather than loneliness. Even with when she fell over and couldn't get up, she's always able to get up so it would be quite a coincidence if she just suddenly got stuck. She's also had fairly half-shut eyes for most of the afternoon, but seems to have perked up a little bit.

    I'm thinking that I'll give her some metacam tonight or tomorrow (is this the right thing to do? I have some on me but I don't want to give it to her unless she would benefit from it) and if she hasn't perked up in a couple of days I'll probably book her in to the vet, but if the vet doesn't find anything wrong with her and her behaviour is just sleeping a lot and acting 'off', I think I'll try to get her a friend.

    I don't want to wait too long if she IS lonely and that's the problem - even though it doesn't look like it - but at the same time I don't want to be too rushed and get her a friend and have her pass a couple of weeks later, because then I would have another lone female.
     
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  4. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Please phone the vet before giving the metacam, you could do more harm than good medicating without knowing what is wrong, especially if the metacam was not prescribed for Rolo.

    It's hard to know what is the right thing to do.

    With my previous pair I lost one suddenly and I didn't know what to do for the best (the one that died was about 2 years 9 months ish), I decided due to age and how much more friendly the one left was that I'd keep him on his own and give him extra attention, he ended up at the vets about 2 or 3 months later and after battling what the vet called a mild illness, he sadly had to be PTS. The vet suggested that he was lonely and depressed and just didn't have the want to fight :(

    I hope you can get an appoint very soon and can decide what is the best thing to do.
     
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  5. Thea_SRA27

    Thea_SRA27 Thea

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    Hi, thank you for your reply again!

    Thankfully Rolo seems to have significantly perked up. I started noticing she was better around 8 last night. She is now sleeping in her coconut and hasn't slept on the bedding for hours, and is eating and drinking well. She has also been super interested when I took her out this morning, her normal self. She seems very close to her normal self now so I don't think I'll book her in to the vet just yet because from looking at her and handling her there seems to be nothing wrong. I'll be keeping a good eye out though because she may go down again. But she's now got nice bright eyes again, and rather than flopping on my hand she's up and asking to go on to my other hand.

    I'll update if anything happens, and if she seems a bit off again I won't hesitate to take her to the vet.

    I'm so sorry what happened to your little one, that's so sad :( I just wouldn't want to create another lone female if Rolo was ill and passed away. But if in a couple of weeks she's continued as she is now, I'll have a look in to rescues as I've discovered one not too far away from me that occasionally has lone females that need pairing. It may be that she does need a friend if when I give her the extra attention she perks up.

    Ah - and I won't give her the metacam (she really doesn't look like she needs it right now anyway) but if I think she does I'll go in to the vet or ask if I can give her some.

    Thank you!
     
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  6. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    That is good news that Rolo has perked up :)

    I understand not wanting to end up with another lone female, it is a difficult decision to have to make.
    It does sound like she is lonely due to perking up when you get her out. If you choose to go down the rescue route, please remember that, especially as you will be pairing females, you need a baby, trying to pair adult females together is, from my understanding, not going to work out. So it must be a baby.

    I hope Rolo continues to be bright eyed and perkier and you don't need the vet.
     
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  7. Thea_SRA27

    Thea_SRA27 Thea

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    It is great! From the looks of it she won't need the vet, at least not for now :)

    It's very interesting that you've said that, because funnily enough I've heard not to pair adult to baby in females but you can in males. But thank you, I'll remember that (and I trust you of course, not saying I believe what I've seen) ! To avoid Rolo passing and being left with a 1 year old gerbil, is it possible to pair two babies or is that just not okay? If I did end up pairing, I might ask if there's any rescue/breeder who could do it for me, because I've never paired.

    Also, I completely understand that perking up suggests that she was lonely, but what she was doing just really didn't suggest that as I said...? For an example, she tried cleaning her nose and couldn't really do it oddly, but is that something a lonely gerbil would do? I do get what you mean though.

    I'll see how she gets on for a bit, then make a decision on what to do with pairing, whether or not I should etc.
    I'll try to update if anything happens since you can't be here in person! :)
     
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  8. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Sorry I've taken so long to reply.

    Hope Rolo is still doing well.

    That's intriguing, I've always heard that you should bond a pup (under 10 weeks old if I remember correctly) to an adult as there is more chance of success. Not 100% guaranteed I will point out, but a better chance. From my understanding, especially with females, two adults are more likely to fight .
    I really don't know I'm afraid re two babies, I know you can bond two babies with an older adult boy, in fact I've seen it recommended so the adult doesn't get bothered too much by the baby to play, I have no idea if it would be OK with females.

    Sounds like something was wrong, maybe an ear infection, or possibly a stroke? That would explain the being unbalanced.

    I'd love to be kept updated if you can. Good luck with it all.
     
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  9. Thea_SRA27

    Thea_SRA27 Thea

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    Rolo is still doing really well thanks. I haven't noticed anything weird at all, and she's seemed pretty bright and happy :)

    Ok, that definitely does make sense to me. I'm afraid I can't find exactly where I heard what I did, but I'll let you know if I find it. I do think though that an adult female would struggle with two babies, at least from what I've heard.

    I was thinking that she could have had a stroke, as I think they can recover on their own sometimes and she was unbalanced and sleepy as you say. I do hope that was it to be honest, not something that would come back. But it does make sense since she hasn't seemed bad for four days now.

    And of course, I'll update if there are any changes!
     
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  10. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    That's good to hear, long may it continue.

    The more I think about it she probably did have a stroke, recently one of my boys, Ash, I think had a stroke, my dog was acting odd and kept indicating the cage to me, Storm I could see and he was fine, then after a while Ash appeared and he looked 'drunk', he was very sleepy for a few days, then one day he appeared and you'd think nothing had ever been wrong, he has been fine ever since.
     
  11. Thea_SRA27

    Thea_SRA27 Thea

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    Wow, that's strange! Yes it does make sense :) Say she did have a stroke - could it cause any long term issues or is she most likely to be okay?
     
  12. Harriet Clarke

    Harriet Clarke PetForums Newbie

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    The exact same happened to one of my gerbils recently, very unbalanced, eyes closed, all puffy. I thought she might just be old as she is over 3 now, or that she might've been cold so I put a hot water bottle under the cage. Whatever it was she is healthy as anything now! I hope your gerb is doing okay.
     
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  13. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    I don't know, sorry.
     
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  14. Thea_SRA27

    Thea_SRA27 Thea

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    That's so strange! I wonder if it is a winter thing, as Rolo perked up when I put on her heat pad, too.

    Forestwomble- That's fine, I'll watch her for future in case it was a stroke, but I've heard they can recover from strokes by themselves and they don't normally cause anything to happen unless they have another one. or two afterwards.
     
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