Gerbils & Hamsters/Gerbil


Hi Sheila  Usually I'm speaking to you about hamsters but today I have a question about a gerbil. I already know I will be taking him to the vet this week but I didn't know if you'd come across anything like this before. Gerbils are usually very consistent "shredders". Chewing up toilet rolls and wooden chews etc. I've noticed in the past couple of weeks that he doesn't chew anything up any more!!?? He paws at his mouth quite a bit and I think he has lost some weight however, I never wrote down his start weight when I adopted him unfortunately. He is still a good weight at 114 grams. I've weighed him once each of the past two weeks and his weight is not dropping. I think I should get his teeth checked, that seems obvious, have you come across this issue with a gerbil before??? Thanks for your time, hope you're well.


Nice to hear from you again.

One of my gerbils stopped shredding - when I checked their teeth one of these was missing, so he couldn't bite any more.  In a way it was really sad as he desperately wanted to chew but couldn't.  Instead I needed to include a lot more things for him to do so he didn't get bored.

It is definitely worth checking his teeth first of all.  If one has broken, then it might grow back if you have the others trimmed, but with my gerbil it looked like the tooth had actually fallen out - in which case it would never grow back again and it was necessary to change the diet accordingly to make sure there were some easy to eat foods included.

Is there any sign of lumps around his jaw?  Another thing could be an abscess that is stopping him from chewing - but a thorough examination by a vet should be able to pin point this.

I hope you get on OK


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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