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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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What products and methods are best for a baby gerbil who needs

Resolved Question:

What products and methods are best for a baby gerbil who needs its arm to be disinfected and was rejected by its mother?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

 


Can you tell me if the stump looks skin covered (best case scenario) or does the dead tissue look like dried muscle material?

Does any of the tissue look open?

What are using for feeding at this stage?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As an amputated stump would look but with black (what I assume to be dead tissue) on the end. The arm is quite swollen but it's gone down a bit. Nothing opens and she doesn't seem to be uncomfortable by it, although she does topple over when toddling around. I'm only using warm milk and milky sweet tea on a cotton bud or bread, but I know it's better to get a formula of some type.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Imogen,

This poor wee pup!
Now as I am sure you can appreciate, based on the appearance of the tissue at the amputed limb, gerbil pup is damaged rather then suffering from a birth defect. This means a reduced chance of survival and this triggered mum's instincts and is the reason why she tried to eat her.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX care here, I do want to warn you that this wee one has a guarded prognosis. Still it is worth trying to help her if she has already made it this far post-trauma. Now with having had a wound open to the world at some point that is now closed, we do have to be concerned about bacterial contamination. Therefore, topical cleansing (using dilute chlorohexidine, betadine, or even salt water) is good but we'd also want systemic antibiotics (ie Baytril from her vet) to tackle any internal bacterial.

Furthermore, I am glad you are aware that your milk is not ideal (and could actually lead to fatal diarrhea in this poor wee one), Instead, at this age, the best substitute for gerbil milk (since milking mum is out of the question), would be kitten replacer milk. The ones I tend to use is KMR or Cimicat. With these, you can feed by dropper or syringe as opposed to using cotton buds. Hopefully, you can procure some today (it is sold over the counter at vets and some pet stores) now that the holiday is over. Do remember that when you feed wee ones this young, you will also need to stimulate her to pass urine and feces. This can be done with a damp cotton bud rubbed gently over the genitals.

Furthermore, if she is away from mum and her family, you will need to make sure she is kept warm (since she will struggle to do so on her own). To do so, consider making one side of her cage a "warm spot" by using a 40 watt heat lamp or heating pad under the half of the cage. Alternatively, you can make a safe warmer for her from a clean sock filled 2/3rd full with uncooked white rice. Tie it closed and microwave (approx 1-1.5 min). Make sure to shake it before adding it to the cage, to allow the heat to distribute. Make sure its not too hot (as we don’t want to burn her). If it cools, you can re-warm as required. Whichever you technique, you use monitor the temperature closely (~85 degrees F), since we don’t want to overheat her (and we cannot be confident she would move herself if she grew too warm).

Overall, this little one has a lot stacked against her but it does sound like she is fighting here. Therefore, do make sure she has a warm environment, switch to kitten replacer milk, and do consider speaking to her vet about an antibiotic course to make sure there are no bacteria within the wounded stump spreading into her blood stream.


I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
Hi again Imogen,

Please do excuse the wee typo, it seems the UK spell check is on the fritz today. :P
Take care,

Dr. B.


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I've already been using a heat lamp (I have lizards) and thank you for all that. I'm going to the pet shop today. I've been cleaning her wound with ordinary sanitizer which isn't very ideal I'm sure. I have betadine. (from the lizards). Do I just apply it with a cotton bud or dilute it in water? I'd also appreciate it if you had any specific products you recommend as for example there is a wide range of things like milk supplements?


Is there any way to calm the swelling?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

You are very welcome Imogen,

I am glad that you already have the heat lamp in place and that your lizards have you well stocked and ready to help this wee one. :) In regards XXXXX XXXXX betadine, I would advise diluting it to a weak tea colour before use and consider cleansing 2-3 times daily. Of course, do dry the stump afterwards.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX of milk replacement products, I actually mentioned those above. Just to note again, KMR and Cimicat are the two brands I would lean towards using for this wee lass.

Finally, if there is tissue swelling in a stump that isn't open, I would be again concerned that infection has already established itself. Therefore, this would be a case where gerbil safe antibiotics (ie Baytril) would be highly advisable. For soft tissue inflammation we'd want to use a gerbil safe anti-inflammatory (ie Metacam). Just to note, do avoid human pain relievers here since they can do more harm the good (most are outright toxic and the mild ones like aspirin can causes blood thinning which would be a terrible development for her situation).

So, do cleanse the wound with dilute betadine and do consider KMR or Cimicat as your milk replacer for this lass.

Take care,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Would I need to take her in to get the antibotics and anti-inflammatories or would they prescribe it anyway?

Thank you for all your trouble, I much appreciate all this!

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

You are very welcome,

The vet would need to see her to be able to determine her dose (since its weight based) and to be able to legally dispense those treatments. That said, most vets do offer lower consultation fees for the pocket pet species to keep it from being too dear for people.

Take care,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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