My dying gerbil :(

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Jan 5th, 2008 14:23
New Hampshire
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My gerbil is almost three years old and is now dying.
I believe it had a stroke or maybe a mite got in its ear and that messed up his balance/coordination. (like vertigo?)
He has been on his way out for awhile. He has made a few comebacks where I thought he might fully recover but this morning I went to check on him and his health has completely deteriorated.
He throws himself on his side and rolls over like a tornado. I don't even know if he is aware of his state...if his mind is already gone. I know it is a just a matter of time before he passes but I don't know how to make him more comfortable...not to mention his poor cagemate.
The healthy gerbil keeps trying to stop the sick one from rolling over and laying on top of him like they would do when they slept over the years.
Any suggestions?
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Jan 11th, 2008 18:00
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It sounds like he did have a stroke, and then maybe another one. I had a gerbil die from a stroke. It affected his balance the same way.
Does he seem to recognize you when he smells your fingers? If he does, he probably still knows a little of what's going on.
If he can eat and drink, he may last a little longer, especially with the help of the other gerbil, who apparently is doing a major effort to keep him comfortable. You can help him by holding him up to the water bottle nozzle and seeing if he can drink. If he can't, then there's nothing you can do for him.
Remember that gerbils dehydrate easily, he may be badly in need of water right now.
But eventually, he won't even be able to do that little bit. That's the time to take him to the vet and lay him to rest. 3 years old is a good run. Most gerbils only live to 3 1/2 years.
Here's a major sign: If your sick gerbil leaves the nestbox and goes off in the corner on his own, he is going to die very soon. Every gerbil I had left the nestbox before he/she died. I think it's an instinct to get out of the home nest, so the other gerbils aren't endangered by a body in the burrow.
I'm sorry your fuzzling is so sick, I know how attached people can get.
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Jan 11th, 2008 18:06
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Poor baby. Its so hard when you know you can't do much for an animal you care about.
Like the other poster said though, 3 is a good old age for a gerbil, and you're doing everything you can to make him comfortable.
Its good that he has another gerbil friend too.
I know also . . . many "exotics" vets (and even some normal ones) will euthanize small animals like rodents, if you want to go that way. It just depends if you think he's in pain or not.
Good luck. I'm sorry for your expected loss (though not sorry for your gerbil, he has obviously been loved and cared for well!)
Have you thought about eventually getting another gerbil as a new friend from your other, once yours passes?
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