Mites in Your Gerbil

Like many other pets, gerbils are susceptible to mite infestations. Some mites simply live on the skin but can irritate your pet by their numbers, while some bite the skin and feed on the blood, leading to serious health problems. Learn more about mites in your gerbil from a Fayette County veterinarian.

Causes of Mites

Any normal gerbil has a number of “passive” mites on his skin that don’t pose any problem whatsoever. However, due to stress, illness, contaminated objects, poor environmental conditions, or poor grooming, the number of normal mites can increase, leading to health problems. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you a likely cause of infection if your gerbil comes down with a mite infestation.

Symptoms of Mites

Sometimes, you’ll be able to see visible signs of a mite infestation, like white or black specks on your pet’s skin and in the hair. This isn’t always the case, though. Other signs include inflamed and red skin, dry patches, dandruff or dirt in the hair, or hair loss. You might notice your gerbil itching and scratching more than usual, or even rubbing parts of his body against the cage wire or cage objects in an attempt to relieve the inflammation and itching.


Call your Fayette County veterinarian if you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet gerbil. He or she will confirm the diagnosis with physical examinations and a variety of tests.

Typically, topical medications, mite-killing sprays, or oral or injected medications will be administered to rid your pet’s body of the infestation. Be sure to make yourself aware of the schedule and timetable for administering the course of medicine, and any other changes you’ll need to make to your gerbil’s lifestyle while he’s recovering.

If your gerbil lives with other gerbils, all will probably need to be treated for mites. In addition, you’ll have to completely clean and sanitize the gerbil’s cage and bedding materials. Ask your veterinarian about the best way to do this successfully.

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