View Full Version : Emergancy with gerbil!

01-13-2004, 06:18 PM
Oh, I found this forum just in time to have an emergancy spring up!

Gimpy, one of the 2 gerbils I adopted from a teacher last Friday, has been batteling Wettail with medication. he's been stable, but very suddenly today his hind legs COMPLETLY stopped working! Now I'm really worried, because he can't eat and drink on his own, doesn't trust ME enough to easily take food and water from me, and because i don't know WHY he's paralyzed! As far as i can tell, he has no feeling at all. I pinched one of his toes (not enough to do any damage, but enough to hurt quite a bit) and there was no reaction. At best, I can get him into the vet tomarrow after school... But because my regular vet is closed, and I REALLY doubt my parents will drive me to the emergancy vet, he's going to have to hold on.

So, my questions: Any idea WHY wet-tail would cause his back legs to fail?
What can I do to make him comfortable?
Are there any food that can be eaten easily without hands, that he'll like enough to try and eat? (I gave him some plain oatmeal, he's not interested)

Thanks everyone,

01-13-2004, 07:17 PM
There is an over-the-counter medication called dri-tail you should be able to get at a pet supply store. Make sure the gerbil doesn't get dehydrated - give him water with an eyedropper. I couldn't find anything about parylization happening ...

Good luck and hope he is okay!

01-13-2004, 07:23 PM
He's on Dri-tail, he has been since Friday. It was working at least to the point where he wasn't getting worst, until now. We've been trying hard to keep him hyderated, but like I said, he does not trust me and it's very hard to get him to drink.

Thanks for looking for me, even if you didn't find anything about the paralization... I think it might not be related to the wet-tail.

01-13-2004, 07:53 PM
Here's some info. I wouldn't rely on Dri-tail, personally, as I've heard some very bad things about it. Apparently all it does is destroys the good bacteria in the intestines. I'll see if I can find some sites...


The most common form is an infectious disease called Tyzzer's Syndrome that prevents the intestines from properly absorbing water and nutrients, but the name "Wet Tail" generally covers all forms of diahrrea that are life threatening. For more information about Tyzzer's disease specifically, read this article. All forms are extremely serious, young gerbils will often die from it before any symptoms are noticeable. Although it can be treated, gerbils that are in the diarrhea stage will usually die anyway. You can save the cage mates. It is normally caused by extremely dirty cage conditions or excessive stress and spreads quickly.


*Can be from Tyzzers, which is happening more and more in the US. It can also strike other rodents. Tyzzers can lie dormant for months until the animal is stressed by factors in the environment around it, then go down. To test for Tyzzers they need blood, and because a gerbil is so small they usually have to sacrifice the animal. If you have a lot of animals and start having them go down for no reason for rampant diahrrea you may have to take an ill but still alive animal in and have them sacrificed (the vet will determine) to test. If you do have confirmed Tyzzers you have to treat EVERYTHING you own for it, and any animal ever exposed to yours has to be considered to be carrying it. So if you got Fred the Burmese six months ago, used him in your breeding, then had Fred go from Tyzzers, you have to tell those you adopted those two lovely litters out to they may be harboring. An animal can carry it without showing, and expose and infect all the ones around it without them showing signs too.
Something they ate or secondary symptom of an intestinal infection. Vet trip usually needed for an antibiotic to deal with it. You may also try feeding a drop or two of active acidophilius culture yogurt or the capsuled stuff (open the capsule and mix with a few drops of water and give them some) to help reseed 'good bacteria' in the animal's system every 4-6 hours. Give at least an hour before or after you do antibiotics, or they will cancel each other out, usually an hour after the antibiotics. Yogurt drops are TREATS NOT ACTIVE CULTURE.

Make sure to keep ahead of dehydration. Dehydration, the secondary symptom that lurks, will kill rapidly with diahrrea active
Gerbils do NOT get the hamster 'wet tail'. Gerbils CAN have diahrrea, with wet bottom and stained fur around the rear. Short term cause may be too much fresh food or the like, and the other likely cause is Tyzzers, which comes out when the animal is stressed.

Tyzzers Is a rodent disease that can strike most any small animal (hamster, gerbil, mouse, rat) and is showing up more and more in the US. The UK and European Continent have had it around for a lot longer. There is no way to quarrantine for it as it can lie dormant for many months in a carrier. The major symptom tipoff is diahrrea in the gerbil, serious and unrelenting. Not like the occasional upset from too much fresh food

01-13-2004, 08:06 PM
Thanks Wolfsoul.

Though I've heard a few bad things about Dri-tail, I've heard many more good things. I've talked personally to people who've had teh gerbils recovor on it even when they look as bad as mine did yesterday.

I was avoiding saying it's Tyzzers, because everywhere I look, that means there's little or no chance of Gimpy surviving. I don't expect him to live anyhow, But I don't give up hope. he's been alive since Friday morning (well, before that too, but that is when he got sick), and it normally kills in 48 hours.

I have him icolated from all my rodents, ESPECIALLY my rats because my bunch tends to get sick VERY easy.

01-13-2004, 08:24 PM
Originally posted by wolfsoul
Here's some info. I wouldn't rely on Dri-tail, personally, as I've heard some very bad things about it. Apparently all it does is destroys the good bacteria in the intestines. I'll see if I can find some sites...

http://pub5.ezboard.com/fhappyhamstersmessageboardhappyhamstersmessageboar d.showMessage?topicID=470.topic

It is sad that more and more people are beginning to believe in the "magical" effect of what dri tail does. The thing is, dri tail contains some antibotic which isn't even the ones given to a hamster suffering from wet tail by a vet. And it doesn't even helps the poor hamster from dehydration either

Cases of dri tail actually curing "wet tail" are infact cases of wrong diagnosis of the sickness in the first place. Hamsters do suffer from diarrhoea, and other sickness that leads to diarrhoea but that DOESN'T mean that they have wet tail.


Dri-Tail is a dilute solution of a weak antibiotic, neomycin sulfate; it can help with minor bouts of infectious diarrhea, but it isn't something to rely on for wet tail. If you've given this or any other medication, be sure to inform the vet.
From what I read, Dri-tail is good for diahrrea, but your gerbil should see a vet if you want to get some anitiotics that will help with the entire infection. :)

Here's what I found on paralisis...

This website won't let me quote lol. It's about hamsters, but I figure the diagnosis can be the same. It says that clogged intestines can be the cause of hind leg paralisis. I'm wondering if this is a side effect of dri-tail, because dri-tail apparently kills the bacteria in the intestines that aid in digestion. :confused:


. If your gerbil appears paralyzed down one side or is dragging its hind legs, it could have had a stroke. There is not a lot you can do apart from keeping it warm and making sure it has access to food and water. This may mean you have to feed it by hand. If the gerbil is going to recover, it should do so within a week. A slight disability such as a limp may always remain. If the gerbil does not recover sufficiently to allow it to have a reasonable quality of life, then it may be kinder to have it put to sleep.

01-14-2004, 11:47 AM
I got the dri-tail because his dierhea was VERY bad.

Thanks for all the links you guys, but Gimpy died this morning. In a week or 2 I'll start looking for a new friend for him father, whom is alone.. Don't worry, I KNOW how hard intro's can be. ^_^