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my gerbil is very lethargic and is having trouble breathing,the

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vet said it was just...
my gerbil is very lethargic and is having trouble breathing,the vet said it was just dehydration,but im concerned it might be worse. please help,she barely hanging in there!
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Pet
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/6/2010
Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 7 years ago
Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,600
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello,

Did the vet prescribe anything or give any fluids?

Is there any discharge from her nose or eyes?

How old is she?

How long has she been sick?

What kind of litter/bedding do you use?

Thank you.

Anna
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
subcutaneous fluids, antibiotic shot. no discharge from eyes or nose. unsure of age. aprrox. 36 hrs. natural pine bedding and litter. (LM animal farms brand)
Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 7 years ago
Thank you for getting back to me. If the vet gave fluids and an antibiotic, there isn't a lot more that can be done even if something more serious is occurring. I do have some recommendations for supportive care. First of all, get rid of the pine bedding. Despite the fact that pet stores sell and recommend these litters, they are dangerous. They have been linked to kidney/liver disease, cancer, respiratory problems, and skin irritations. The following links will give you more details on the cedar and pine problems in a variety of small animals:

http://www.arlgp.org/behavior/select_pine.htm


http://www.afrma.org/rminfo2a.htm



http://www.ratfanclub.org/pine&cdr.html

Paper-based litters, such as CareFresh, are best. Even if the pine litter isn't the cause of your gerbil's problem, it could be complicating her condition. Until you can buy a different litter, you can use plain paper towels.

You can give further help with dehydration by giving your gerbil some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Use a syringe to put a drop at a time into the side of her mouth. Don't put it straight down her throat or give her too much at once. You don't want it to be aspirated into the lungs.

To help with breathing, you can run a vaporizer in her room. The steam will help with congestion. If you don't have a vaporizer, a pot of steaming water near the cage will also work. Keep it far enough away that she can't be burned. A towel or sheet over it and the cage can guide the steam into the cage.

Since you don't know how old your gerbil is, there's a possibility she may be elderly. If that's the case, nothing is likely to help. I hope that isn't her situation. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY.

Anna

(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the ACCEPT button. Thank you.)

Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,600
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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