Gerbils & Hamsters/gerbil


My gerbil broke his leg and regretfully i took him to the vet and they in my opinion made it worse, but that aside they want to amputate his leg and im really worried about putting him under anistesia i was hopping you could just tell me a bit about what to expect.

Hi Kayleigh

I'm sorry to hear about your gerbil.

Firstly how old is he? There is always a risk with anaesthesia and this increases the older the creature however several of my gerbils had surgery and they were all fine although my vet was a small animal expert so he understood the dosage.

How bad is the fracture?

If it is straightforward with no circulation impairment then you might be better off letting nature take its course - you need to put plenty of bedding in the cage, only have a single storey as you won't want him climbing and make sure food and water are close by. It will take around 4 weeks to heal providing he doesn't use it. I've had several hamsters with broken legs and they all healed on their own. However if this is a bad break or there are circulatory issues then amputation is the best option. I suggest you don't have any woodchip in his cage for a while to prevent it infecting the wound - just use paper bedding and if he has a wheel he may not be able to use this due to repetitive use  - if it is a full amputation then he can once the wound has healed but if they leave a stump constant running could aggravate the wound.

I hope this helps you


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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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