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Old 07-07-2016, 03:43 PM   #1
Mollysfriends
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Default Molly's scratching any ideas

Hi my gerbil molly has started to scratch a lot on her sides. She looks like she might be losing fur on one side as well. I'm taking her to the vets on Saturday but has anyone had this happen to their gerbil before. Is it possible it's down to her age as she is just 3. Thanks
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:53 PM   #2
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

It could be mites, sometimes they can get under the skin causing them to scratch.
When you see the vet, he'll be able to tell you what treatment is needed. You might need a few treatment over a 4 week period.
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:14 AM   #3
Mollysfriends
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

I did wonder about that but I can't think where she would have got it from
Molly does have hay but has had the same bag since Christmas without any problem. Can carefresh have mites in?
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

Hi. Molly is a good age so it may not be related to any environmental changes but her own body/immune system requiring some boosting. What is she fed on and has that changed or been added to? Gerbils love variety and I`m sure she would appreciate some new things in her diet that provide nutrients that can help the skin. Carefresh can be dusty but if that`s what she`s used to, changing it could trigger a reaction, so sometimes it`s better to look at keeping things as they are if no previous changes were made to her diet or environment.

As said, she may need a spot on treatment for mites that naturally occur when they become older. Some hair loss and thinning in older animals can be a natural occurrence but sudden irritation that wasn`t there before could mean something is changing. It could be her age yes, but sometimes these phases pass, sometimes they have a cause behind them. The vet you say may just give a topical mite treatment anyway unless they are rodent savvy and pick up on something we on a forum can`t see. Just make sure whoever you see tells you what they are dosing and what it is. Ivermectin is the usual topical mite treatment for rodents but it can also be bought in pipettes from the vet in the form of a product called Xeno50 mini. This is a good product and if bought online, comes with a safe dosing chart for mice, hamsters, gerbils and bigger pets. Vets usually dose it from a syringe from a larger bottle or they may give you the smaller pipettes to dose yourself. Depends on the vet practice really and how they do things.

Hope Molly is okay otherwise and enjoying her dotage! x
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

Thanks. I am going tomorrow as the vet I am seeing knows the most in the practice about gerbils
It does vary a lot depending on who you are seeing so I'm hoping he will know. I have realised that she actually hasn't lost fur where she is scratching it's just very grey (she's a black gerbil and appears to be going grey suddenly) she has lost fur by her nose though but she doesn't scratch there. I have recently changed her food to Beaphar gerbil food. She had it when she was younger but then I couldn't get it for about 18 months so just had a hamster/gerbil mix
Do you have any idea what I can add to give her extra nutrients for her skin?. She does have vegetables such as carrot red pepper and courgette and banana which she loves and will come out as soon as she smells it (even if she's been asleep. I have tried millet (she was not impressed with this)and sesame seeds which she quite likes. Any other suggestions would be fantastic.
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Old 07-09-2016, 01:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

As hamsters and gerbils age, their teeth can be prone to become brittle or they may find hard biscuits in a mix difficult to cope with and end up not eating as much as a consequence. I use a pestle & mortar to break up anything hard in a mix. Although extruded biscuits in mixes are usually never liked anyway. A good variety of things is good and trying different vegetables to see what she prefers. Nibblets of corn, garden peas, broccoli, carrot and anything that is `safe` for a gerbil. I would avoid any hard foods that she may be leaving in her dish. I find pearl barley is like a brick even when I try to bite it! So look for foods that are easier to nibble and enjoy. I don`t know if there is a Supreme Science Selective food for gerbils but there are hamster and mouse versions. These are heart shaped and smell like gravy bones for dogs! They are easily eaten and mashed up and wetted too and mixed with crushed nuts. My wee elderly hamsters gobbles up the treats I mash up for him as they smell nutty and because he`s older now and has lost some condition, he needs these `extras` to help keep his enthusiasm for nutrition.

Experiment really with blending and mashing foods together. Just small amounts. Look at the diet closely and determine if she`s really enjoying it and managing to eat it all without difficulty.

It`s a bit like us having chips and beans every day. We soon become bored with it! I also dry some small pieces of bread (wholemeal).

Vitamins are always found better in fresh foods like raw vegetables. Vitamins A and E are good for the skin and D for bone health as arthritis strikes in old age.

Let us know what the vet thinks, hope all is well. x
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Old 07-09-2016, 04:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

Hi ive just been to vets it's probably a parasite that lives on gerbils skin the whole of their lives that has multiplied for some reason. I have been given a tube of xeno mini which I have to give 5 drops today and again in a fortnight and then another fortnight after that. Hopefully I'll see an improvement in the next few days if not it may be due to diabetes, cushings or cancer. He's hoping g this isn't the case as she's quite healthy.
Molly weighs 86-90 grammes does anyone know how much a female gerbil should weigh.
Racing hamster- thankyou so much for the info about mashing foods. At the moment she's ok taking foods (she can take pumpkin seeds out of a shell) but it is certainly worth knowing incase she does start finding it difficult. I will look and see if u can fet a science selective for gerbils I'm always looking for a better gerbil food. A lot seem to be generic for hamsters mice and gerbils so finding one for gerbils is always a bonus.
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

That`s good that the vet gave you some helpful advice and some spot on. The Xeno is a good product. I only used it once on a female mouse that started to scratch badly and within a week, her irritated behaviour had stopped after applying the drop of Xeno. Those over the counter products are best avoided as many of them can be misleading with dosing.

Burgess make a gerbil granola but I havn`t looked for it in a while, so maybe give that one a google! I used to feed my gerbils Gerri Gerbil food, but if I had gerbils now, I would possibly be looking at buying a few foods and mixing them for added variety. Most mixes can be similar in product but sometimes ingredients can be better if you find one that has more grains and seeds than just flaked pieces.

How did Molly do at the vets was she good?!! x
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Old 07-09-2016, 03:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

No she wasn't good! She decided she'd had enough of being handled by the vet and bit him! Still it worked she did get put back in the carrier. Hopefully she will be it has free in a couple of days like yours. She looked a bit sorry for herself earlier as her fur was still ruffled from being wet.!
I'll look out for burgess when I next order it may well be worth getting a couple if they have different things in. I didn't go for geril gerbil food as I vaguely remember it had a lot of added colourants to it and I wasn't sure if this was safe for them. I don't know if this is the case now though. Did you buy yours online at all. ?
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Old 07-09-2016, 03:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Molly's scratching any ideas

Something you could do instead of adding foods which have artificial ingredients is look for natural forage mixes and herbs and things like that.Wild bird seed and various insects might be a good idea too,just to get a good balance of nutrients.
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