Tail Slip in Gerbils

PetMD Editorial
Jul 19, 2010
2 min read
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

Treating and Preventing Tail Slip in Gerbils

Tail slip is a commonly seen condition in gerbils, marked by a loss of fur in the area of the tail and a loss of skin that is often described as a slipping off of skin. It is mainly due to improper handling such as picking up the gerbil by its tail. If allowed to become more severe, the only treatment for rotting of the tail due to tail slip is surgical removal (amputation) of the rotted portion of the tail from the healthy part.

Symptoms and Types

  • Loss of fur on the tail
  • Slipping of skin on the affected area of the tail
  • Exposure of underlying tissue on the tail
  • Rotting of the tail tissue

Cause

The most common cause of tail slip in gerbils is the improper handling of a gerbil such as picking the animal up by its tail.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will diagnose tail slip by observing the gerbil's clinical symptoms.

Treatment

Tail slip has only one treatment and that is amputation of the part of the tail that has rotted away due to exposure. Your veterinarian will perform the surgery, and in most cases the affected gerbil will completely recovery. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections once the initial treatment has been accomplished.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will advise you in the proper post-operative care of your gerbil. The main post-surgical treatment is regular cleansing of the tail stump to prevent opportunistic infections from occurring.

Prevention

This type of damage can be prevented by ensuring that you never pick your gerbil up by its tail or handle the tail unnecessarily.

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