Beans the Gerbil

Asked December 16, 2019, 11:02 AM EST

Hello, I have a pet gerbil (Beans), who I adopted about a year ago from the Humane Society. When I got him, he had already been diagnosed with a permanent head tilt and ataxia. Other than being clumsy and a little skittish, he behaves like a normal gerbil. Recently however, I have found him with blood around his left ear, and frequently scratching and grooming at that ear. At first (upon recommendation of an out of state aunt who is a vet) I kept the area around his ear clean with Zymox pet ear cleaner, and it seemed to go away. We thought it might be an ear infection, but the frequency of these incidents is increasing. Vet clinics in my area are obscenely expensive (over $150) for just an exam, and I am trying to find a more cost-effective alternative. Beans also gets very scared when he leaves his cage. My aunt the vet recommended contacting 4H, which is how I got here. She is guessing he may have a tumor or more serious issue in his ear. I know that gerbils have a limited lifespan, especially a “damaged” one like mine, but I would like to keep him as comfortable as possible. Is there a possibility of a more affordable examination, or a way to get appropriately dosed meds (painkillers, anti inflammatories) for Beans? Any help or recommendations are appreciated. Thank you!

Ingham County Michigan

1 Response

It is a tough deal to have a pet with health issues but beyond your vet, it just isn't wise and possibly harmful to make long distance diagnoses. You might seek out a "free" clinic or reach out to the closest Vet School. I put down a pet of mine 8 weeks ago...it is hard and I hope this is not the case with Beans. Michigan State may have a vet school....not sure but that is where I'd begin.