Skin Problems and Rough Hair in Gerbils
Rough hair coat is not a diseased condition in and of itself, but is a common external symptom that accompanies many diseases and disorders in gerbils. A rough hair coat is seen in association with various infectious diseases, parasitic worms, and nutritional disorders. However, the primary cause for rough hair coat in gerbils is the physical environmental condition in which the gerbil is being housed. This is especially relevant when humidity levels are too high, which will cause the hair coat to become rough and matted. Rough hair coat is also often manifested in gerbils that are kept in tanks without adequate ventilation.
Symptoms and Types
- Skin and fur appear dull
- Rough and matted hair
- Scaling, flaking skin (due to excessive dryness)
- Skin irritation and redness (on occasion)
Rough hair coat is seen mainly as a result of various infectious diseases, parasitic worm load, and nutritional disorders. However, it can also be related to the gerbil's living area and environment. If, for example, the humidity levels are too high or the tanks do not have adequate ventilation, the gerbil may develop rough hair coat.
You will need to provide a thorough history of your gerbil's health leading up to the onset of symptoms to give your veterinarian a starting point toward making an initial diagnosis. Because there are so many possible causes for this condition, your veterinarian will most likely use differential diagnosis, a process that is guided by a deeper inspection of the apparent outward symptoms, ruling out each of the more common causes until the correct disorder is settled upon and can be treated appropriately.
However, to truly identify the underlying cause laboratory work such as a complete blood profile, urinalysis, skin scrapings, and microscopic examinations of hair samples may be necessary.