To successfully check your gerbils’ health you'll need to know how they look when happy and healthy and going about their daily lives. Simply watching them every day will help you to know what 'normal' looks like. Any departure from this, and you should take that as a prompt for further investigations.
Get to know what 'normal' looks like in your pet gerbil - this one happens to be a Shaw's Jird, a less common breed
If your pet appears to be in pain, or is limping or bleeding, take it to the vet asap. Gerbils feel pain and distress every bit as much as we humans, and as their owner it’s up to you to keep them from experiencing such distress. Vets can offer treatment andpain relief, so please don’t delay.
Checking a Gerbil's Breathing
Is your gerbil breathing correctly? If not, it might be suffering an injury, allergy, or respiratory infection. Whichever of these it is, your pet needs veterinary treatment, as breathing issues are both stressful and life-threatening.
Checking a Gerbil's Fur
Are your gerbils’ coats smooth, clean, and free of flakes or parasites? Is their skin free of lumps and bumps, sores and scabs? If any of these are visible, the gerbils could be suffering from an infection, a parasite, or a tumor.
A gerbil's eyes are very sensitive, and just like ours they can sometimes become infected
Checking a Gerbil's Eyes
Are the eyes free of crust or discharge? Can your gerbil open his eyes properly? Are the eyes clear and bright? Is there anything in one of the eyes? Are the eyes swollen or sore?
Check out the common illnesses section of this Guide to see if you can figure out the problem. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, take your pet to see a vet. Owners with the best of intentions can often do more harm than good when attempting to remove debris from their pets’ eyes.
Checking a Gerbil's Ears
The ears should be clean and upright, and relatively free of wax. Gerbil ears are susceptible to mites, so check for these. One of the symptoms is a bald patch between the ears and eyes. This is because the mites travel often between these two areas and cause the hairs to fall out. There may also be thick wax in your pets’ ears. The parasites themselves will be visible as dark dots.
Checking a Gerbil's Skin and Body
Does your gerbil have lumps or bumps on it’s skin? Swelling or redness? Cuts, sores, or scabs? Any problems with the limbs, such as a limp? Depending on the severity of any of these issues, you may want to take your pet to the vets. Broken legs, large cuts and infections will definitely require treatment.