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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18125
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have 2 sister gerbils who are about 6 months old. They've

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I have 2 sister gerbils who are about 6 months old. They've always got on but one of them is obviously more dominant. Just found them both covered in blood - the submissive one in the nest and the other in the bottom half of the cage where the submissive one never goes. The submissive one had a bite on her tail. Should I separate them.
They're not handled as the dominant one bites a lot and the submissive one is very timid although a lot braver than when we first got her as I can now stroke her.
Please help as not sure what to do

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

I am sorry to hear that Poppy & Suzy aren't getting along.

Sometimes female gerbils, especially siblings in a large enough environment with plenty of resources (including hiding spots, things to play with and chew on and plenty of food), get on well enough that they can live together in the same cage.

But when we have one that is much more aggressive and dominant than the other we can see bullying to the point that blood is drawn, and in those cases we need to separate them. I know it seems sad to live alone, but I suspect the dominant one would prefer to have everything to herself, and the submissive one would prefer not to be bullied. You can put their cages near one another so that they can see and hear each other for some company, but that way no one gets hurt.

If the one that was bitten will let you gently flush her wound with a very dilute mix of warm water and antibacterial liquid had soap, then flush again with sterile saline. If you do this daily, hopefully you can keep the wound clean enough to allow healing without a secondary bacterial infection occurring.

If the wound becomes very red and swollen, there is a foul odor, or a green or yellow discharge from the wound then that can indicate there is a secondary bacterial infection and she should be seen by a veterinarian for an examination and antibiotics. If you see evidence of an infection have her seen as quickly as possible as there is danger of her losing her tail with an infection.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I've just seperated them and given the dominant one on the bottom a bowl of water and food (which is usually on the top layer) which will hopefully be ok for tonight. will get a separate cage for the other tomorrow. So sad. Tried to get a look at the other one but she's just hiding in her nest and is very nervous. Will look at her again in the morning

You are very welcome. I know it's sad to think sisters can't get along, but I think both of them will be much, much happier living alone. I don't think it's crucial to look at her tonight. She's had a horrible day and there's no use giving her more stress on top of that. Perhaps tomorrow she will be relaxed enough to let you look closely.

I was notified that you rated my response as "bad service", and I am puzzled. Did you have further questions?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi. I pressed that button by mistake and then went back and pressed excellent service. I hadn't realised the incorrect attempt had registered.
Your advice was great and they are now in 2 separate cages next to each other and seem much happier. The dominant one seems much calmer too.
If you can, please do remove the 'bad service' rate. Apologies :)

Thanks very much for the follow up, I am pleased to hear that they are separated and happier.

Thanks also for following up and letting me know that the poor rating was a mistake. I was afraid I had missed a follow up concern.

I'll let customer service know & see if we can get things corrected.

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