Long Answer - Gerbils can suffer from various illnesses. Signs of ill health may include, but are not limited to; lethargy, dull and ruffled coat, mucus or crusting round eyes or nose, diarrhoea, tilted head, itching and lack of appetite.
Epilepsy affects between 20-50% of pet gerbils, which can lead to epileptic fits. The fits can be brought on by a new environment, frightening sounds or actions, and handling. Usually the epileptic fits are not severe and are should not have any long lasting effects. In rare cases if the seizure is severe it may lead to death. Apparently, seizures can be brought on by blowing in your gerbils face so be sure never to do this. Tyzzer’s disease is another is an infectious illness which can be brought on by stress or an excess of certain bacteria – symptoms can include diarrhoea, ruffled fur and a hunched position. It can spread quickly so any potentially infected gerbils should be isolated and seek veterinary treatment. Gerbils can sometimes get diarrhoea if they have too much fat or carbohydrates in their diet, so extra hay and other fibre should be added and fatty treats reduced. If your gerbil is tilting its head it could possibly have an ear infection. Mites can also be caught from infested hay – use a spot on to prevent infestations. If handled incorrectly or if attacked by another animal a gerbil may lose its tail - be sure never to pick up a gerbil by its tail. If you are concerned for your gerbil’s health you should seek advice from a veterinarian.