A common problem among most pets is fleas. Pet owners dread their pets getting a flea infestation as they know it can make their pet very uncomfortable and can also cause a flea infestation in their home. If you have a gerbil, you may have wondered if they can catch fleas or not. Similarly, you may have seen your gerbil scratching and questioned whether fleas are a possible cause. Here is what you need to know about gerbils and fleas.
Can Gerbils Get Fleas?
Like most animals, gerbils can get fleas and suffer from flea bites. They catch them and carry them in the same way that all animals do, but some gerbils are more badly affected by the flea bites than others.
How Do They Get Fleas and Is This Dangerous for Gerbils?
Just like other animals, gerbils can catch fleas if they are close to other animals with fleas or if they are living in a flea-infested environment. Your gerbil is most likely to get fleas if you have another pet that leaves the house, such as a cat or a dog. Fleas can easily jump from one animal to another.
Not all gerbils are affected in the same way by gerbils. Some will simply experience the irritation of fleas crawling on their skin and biting them. Other can have an allergic reaction to the bites and this will cause raised areas of skin around the bite.
The biggest problem caused is if the gerbil scratches the bites and leaves open wounds as these can then become infected. In most cases, the skin infection is minor. However, if not treated, skin infections are potentially serious.
What Are the Symptoms of Your Gerbil Having Fleas
There are some signs that you should watch out for that indicate your gerbil has fleas. These include:
- Visible sighting of a flea
- Raised lumps on the skin
- Open wounds
- Rubbing against its habitat or accessories
What Should You Do If Your Gerbil Gets Fleas
If you realize that your gerbil does have fleas, then you need to treat this as soon as possible. You can buy flea sprays, cream, or drops for rodents from reputable pet stores or online. This will kill the fleas on your gerbil and protect them from a secondary infestation as they stop any eggs from hatching.
Fleas do not always live on their host as they spend a lot of time off the animal in the surrounding environment. This means that you must also clean your gerbil’s habitat thoroughly. Remove all the bedding before washing out the habitat with disinfectant. Wash all the accessories in the cage, too. When the habitat is clean, add clean bedding.
You do not necessarily need to visit the vet for a flea infestation. You should only do this if there are open sores at the site of the bites that you suspect are infected. The vet can then prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. However, antibiotics will not resolve the flea situation, so you will still need to use an anti-flea product.
What Other Parasites Can Gerbils Get and How Are They Affected?
Fleas are not the only parasite that can affect gerbils as they can also suffer from flea infestations. Although mite infestations are not a serious health problem, they can cause a lot of irritation and discomfort for your gerbil.The symptoms are the same as for flea infestations, but you might also notice white dandruff in their fur.
Like a flea infestation, mites can result in the gerbil biting and scratching itself which will cause lesions that can become infected. Therefore, it is important to treat this as soon as possible to keep your gerbil healthy and happy. Like a flea infestation, mites can result in the gerbil biting and scratching itself which will cause lesions that can become infected. The only treatment for mites is antiparasitic medication which a vet can prescribe.
Tips to Avoid Your Gerbil Getting Fleas and Parasites
There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your gerbil catching fleas rather than treating your gerbil only after a flea infestation has occurred. Try the following tips to avoid your gerbil getting fleas:
- Use gerbil-friendly anti-flea products to protect your gerbil against fleas.
- Clean and change their bedding regularly.
- Keep in a separate part of the house to any other pets.
Gerbils can get fleas, just like most other animals. You should watch out for signs such as scratching, biting, lumps, and open sores along with seeing fleas on your pet or its bedding. You can easily treat a flea infestation yourself using anti-flea products available online or from a pet store and you should also treat the habitat and not just the gerbil. If the flea bites are infected, you should always seek the advice of a vet.