Tail slip in Gerbils | What is it and how to prevent it?

Tail slip in Gerbils | What is it and how to prevent it? 1

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Gerbil owners often contact us when they notice something wrong with their Gerbil tail. One of the best parts about owning a pet especially small cute ones like gerbils is the ability to handle and play with your pet. Tail slip in Gerbils is very common but it needs to be addresses asap.

However, with gerbils and many other small pets if the are not handled correctly and with care if can lead to health problems like Gerbil Tail Slip

If you have noticed something wrong with you Gerbils Tail it could be Tail Slip and it maybe, unfortunately, something you have caused by poor handling.

What is Tail Slip? Gerbil tail slip is a very common condition with pet gerbils. We notice this condition by loss of fur in the tail area, and we usually see it as rotting of the tail. Many owners think that this is a natural occurrence with gerbils. However, the main reason for this condition is the owner – improper handling and holding the gerbil by the tail too often causes the tail slip.

holding a gerbil

Why does Tail Slip occur?

Tail slip is actually a part of a gerbil’s defense mechanism and a way of getting away from predators. But unfortunately, as we often tend to grab them by the tail, this mechanism is triggered.

Sometimes, the only way to treat this condition is to remove the rotting part of the tail. In some cases, the tail will dry off and fall out on its own.

If you notice any sign of injury or harm to your gerbil or any pet for that matter you should seek the advice of a vet as soon as possible.

Like with most things in life treatment and advice can be expensive and one option is to ensure you have small pet insurance over. Even a small treatment like Tail Slip can run into hundreds of dollars.

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What Causes a Tail Slip?

In very rare cases, the tail slip will happen without an external force being applied to the tail. But in the vast majority of cases, it will be due to improper handling from the owner or from someone who held the gerbil by the tail.

As a part of their defense mechanism in the wild, gerbils have adjusted their tails to slip so that they can escape the predators. As their tail is exposed, most predators will try to catch a gerbil by grabbing its tail.

The result is this defense mechanism. The predator will get the tail, but not the gerbil itself. A handy mechanism for these small animals in the wild.

So the next time you’re handling your gerbil, avoid holding it by the tail at all costs. If you have to, do it gently and very briefly. The same applies to anyone that holds the gerbil at some point, essentially.

Tail slip in Gerbils Symptoms

Usually, you’ll be able to spot quickly that’s something’s wrong with your gerbil’s tail. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of this issue with gerbils and is a common problem in veterinary clinics.

But how exactly do we spot a tail slip?

These are the most common symptoms of a tail slip:

  • The gerbil will start to lose fur in the tail area. As the tail slip gets removed, there will be a sudden loss of fur in the tail area.
  • Loss of skin on the tail area. Yes, sometimes it’s not a pleasant sight to see, but you might notice that the skin will start to degrade.
  • Exposure of underlying tissue. In some cases that are more severe, you might notice that the only thing that’s left is the underlying tissue, which is a bone or the primary tissue of the tail.
  • The tail tissue will start to rot, and amputation of the rotting part might be the only type of treatment.

It’s uncommon to notice other behavioral symptoms, but in some cases, the gerbil will display signs of disease or illness. Although that will only happen when the rotting has advanced.

Treating the Gerbil Tail Slip

So now you know what a tail slip is, but can we treat it?

Yes, a gerbil tail slip is a common problem, and the best and most common way to treat it is to amputate the rotting part of the tail to save the rest of the tail.

In some more severe cases, the amputation will take place on the entirety of the tail. You might have to acknowledge that a part of the gerbil’s tail will be gone forever.

However, you will probably need to visit an exotic vet. But not everyone has access to one, so what to do in those cases?

As it turns out, the gerbil’s tail might fall off on its own. It will dry out and eventually fall off. But in case it doesn’t it can lead to some complications. So it’s best to amputate the part of the tail that is causing the problems and leave at least a part of the tail intact.

Quick intervention is key to save as much tail as possible, and to ease the aggravation that your gerbil’s going through.

However, you should never try to make any medical procedure on your pet without seeking the advice of a vet. We cannot stress this enough!

Tail slip in Gerbils
Poor handling of you pet Gerbil can cause Tail slip in Gerbils

Tail Slip Prevention

Prevention is key when it comes to tail slip. The best way to prevent this problem from happening is to avoid holding the gerbil by the tail. In any case, avoid holding them by the tail, or excessively handling the tail.

Also, make sure that if you have children that they don’t attempt to do this too often, or you might find yourself needing a vet to help you fix the problem.

In most cases, a tail slip will require surgical intervention, and that means additional aggravation and additional costs to you.

So, the best way to prevent this from happening is to be gentle when you handle the gerbil and avoid holding them by the tail.

Prevention is always better than cure.

Living After the Tail Slip

You’ll have to consult with your vet who carried out the surgery. Treatment after the operation will require close attention and intensive care.

The gerbil might be feeling weak for a few days after the surgery, so you might need to hand-feed it and provide it with comfort and close care. The recovery might take up to a week before the gerbil is back to normal.

In the future, remember to avoid holding your gerbils by the tail, especially if you have other gerbils in your care.

Conclusion: What is Gerbil Tail Slip?

Gerbil tail slip is a relatively common condition. It’s caused by holding the gerbil by the tail too aggressively or too often, and there are various symptoms that indicate this type of condition.

First, we’ll notice that the fur on the tail might be gone, including the skin on the tail. What is left is only the underlying tissue of the tail.

It might be a scary and intimidating sight but worry not. Act fast and consult your vet; in most cases, a simple surgical treatment might be in place. After that, take close care of the gerbil and help it recover fully. In the future, remember to not hold the gerbil by the tail.

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