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Susan MRCVS
Susan MRCVS,
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21
Experience:  Expert
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My gerbil is flat on her belly, breathing very heavily, and

Customer Question

My gerbil is flat on her belly, breathing very heavily, and barely moving. Is she dying?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. How long has the gerbil been lethargic? Any changes in her appetite?
Customer: I just checked and saw her this morning acting sluggish and not accepting treats, there were no signs of lethargy yesterday.
JA: Could she have eaten something unusual?
Customer: Unlikely as any time she was out of the cage the day before I had my eyes on her, she has nothing new or odd in her cage.
JA: And what's the gerbil's name and age?
Customer: Caddy, age 3.5
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: She has given birth before, no other health issues sited
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Susan MRCVS replied 19 days ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'm a vet in the UK.

I'm so sorry to hear that Caddy is feeling so ill. I think you are right that Caddy might be her final hours. Often rodents and gerbils will appear to be completely normal until their final day then pass away quickly. If there is no change in a hour please do call your nearest vets so that the suffering isn't prolonged..

Of course its possible that medical intervention may revive Caddy so please do call your vets and ask for an emergency appointment if your feel you'd like to find out if medical treatment is appropriate.

Take care.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
After I put the cold water bottle beside her she stopped laying flat, and stayed under the plush hiding area, she is slightly more reactive to my pets although mostly to adjust herself rather than moving away. I'm going to try feed her and offer her water in the mean time.When calling the local vet, should I contact the number of the nearest one that shows up on maps? Thank you for your time, Caddy means a lot to me as she supports my depressive disorder, I appreciate you giving me a warning if anything.
Expert:  Susan MRCVS replied 19 days ago.

Yes just google your nearest vet practice if you aren’t already registered at a practice.
Some will shut at 6, some 7 and some are open later hopefully google will tell you.
Usually a warm water bottle is indicated for gerbils that are not moving as usually they get hypothermic (low temperature) very quickly. It would be unusual for them to be too hot unless the cage was left in direct sunlight in a hot room.
I do understand how distressing it is have a sick pet. Unfortunately I have to be realistic that 3.5 years is a grand old age for a gerbil and that combined with the lethargy you describe makes me think it might be her time. However I cannot make a diagnosis or prognosis over the internet and recommend a physical exam with a vet to be sure we aren’t missing something.
Take care.

Expert:  Susan MRCVS replied 16 days ago.

Just checking up on how you are doing. I Hope you are doing okay.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
To our absolute shock, not only did Caddy survive but against all odds she made a full recovery and is playing and cuddling like she always has again. We have no idea how she managed to recover, it was too late for us to take her to the vet so we hoped she'd survive into the morning but by the morning Caddy was doing a lot better, even though we were expecting to find her on her lifeless. She's such a little warrior to push through and survive like that, especially when I needed her most while I was in a difficult place.Thank you so much for your help that day though, I was scared and panicking and I sincerely ***** ***** for being the person to help me figure out where to go next. <:)
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
File attached (Z44L643)
Expert:  Susan MRCVS replied 16 days ago.

Hello Caddy glad you are feeling better!
I’ve had many small pets myself I know how important they are. It might be a bad angle but Caddy looks a little thin? If you have digital kitchen scales you could weigh her every 3-4 days to keep an eye things.