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Libby Hanna and Cathy Bickel

Gerbils can have seizures. Just as epilepsy occurs in humans, it shows up from time to time in gerbils. Their seizures are usually mild.


If a gerbil is severely startled, she may seem to stop moving. Some will remain stiffly upright, while others fall onto their sides. The best way to comfort her and help her recover is to put her back home into her nest or sleep box.


Some gerbils, however, suffer from more severe epilepsy. It's pretty rare. In severe cases of epilepsy in gerbils, she will frequently fall on her side, eyes staring and legs moving as if running. Pick her up gently and put her home. Wait for a while. Most likely, your gerbil will come out of its state and stand up groggily. It will begin to resume its normal activities within, at the most, ten minutes of the seizure. Gerbils are very hardy animals. If your gerbil begins to show signs of epilepsy, don't worry. Gerbils who have seizures are basically just the same as regular gerbils. They run and play just like any other animal, and they are just as friendly as others. With the proper food, care, and taming, you won't even be able to tell the difference at a glance from a normal gerbil and one that has seizures.


Gerbils who have seizures should not be bred, as the condition can be hereditary.

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