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Dr. Matt
Dr. Matt, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 5798
Experience:  13 years of experience including dogs, cats, and pocket pets
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I have recently purchased a gerbil who appears to be in a permanent

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I have recently purchased a gerbil who appears to be in a permanent state of 'fitting'. He has been off his food and has not taken any fluids. I have tried to syringe some fluids to no avail. Any advice would be gratefully received
Hello - I am Dr. Matt - I would be glad to help you with your question. I am very sorry to hear that your gerbil has developed fits and is not coming out of them. This is very concerning. How long have the fits been going on for? Is he responsive to you when you talk to him or touch him?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For some time, he has been with my parents over the weekend and therefore it is difficult to pin point exactly when they started. He does appear to be alert but the shaking has not eased to the extend that he is having difficulty in walking and looks as if he is leaning to one side.
Thank you for the additional information. About 20% of gerbils are prone to fits or seizures therefore this is an unfortunately common disorder to see. Most fits do occur as early as 2-3 months and are considered to be an inherited disorder. While the exact cause of what brings on the fit is unknown, many experts believe that excessive handling, sudden stress, or even a sudden change to a new environment can cause the fits. Most gerbils that have inherited fits, will eventually grow out of them by six months of age. Unfortunately some of the fits can be very scary and can occur frequently. Medications to stop the fits are usually not given since most gerbils do not develop any long term organ and brain damage. At this point, if the fits continue then I would consider taking him to your vet as your vet can give him a medication to help relax him to hopefully reduce stress. Supportive care such as making sure he is eating and drinking is important and providing things for him to chew on (toilet paper or paper towel tubes are great) and play with to keep him busy are the best ways to try to prevent more fits. I would also try to reduce the stress on him if possible such as minimizing the environmental changes and reduced handling for now can help reduce future episodes until he is a little older in which he will not be as prone. Hope this helps - please feel free to reply if you have more questions. Thank you.
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