Can My Gerbil Have A Stroke? {What Should I Do?}

It’s a sad day when we witness something wrong with our gerbils. What can you do about a possible stroke your gerbil has suffered? Is this even possible?

In this article, we’ll dedicate some time and effort into explaining the details into whether or not your gerbil had a stroke.

Can My Gerbil Have A Stroke? Paralysis in the legs or one side of your gerbil’s body could indicate a stroke has occurred. Keep your gerbil calm, warm, nourished and seek medical attention. Recovery is possible in some cases. Observe and assist for 5-12 days to notice improvement. 

How Do I Know If My Gerbil Had A Stroke?

You have grown accustomed to taking care of your gerbil. You enjoy watching its antics, quirky behavior and overall silliness that brings you some joy in between your daily routines.

Suddenly you notice that your gerbil is not acting the same. You have the right to be concerned about a possible stroke that may have occurred. Look for the following signs:

  • unable to move or dragging limbs
  • eyes closed or fluttering
  • lack of appetite
  • lethargy

Strokes happen out of nowhere and it’s hard to do anything about it at that moment. Visit the vet to make sure that a stroke has occurred. Your gerbil may have temporarily or permanently lost some functions and movement.

What Is a Stroke in Gerbils?

A stroke in a gerbil is similar to one that could happen in humans. The brain loses blood or the flow of blood becomes limited in certain areas. There are two types of strokes:

  • Ischemic: Blood flow gets blocked due to clotting
  • Hemorrhagic: Blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain.

A gerbil will lose its ability to move freely and may not squeak the way it used to. Eating may also become difficult and your assistance to hand feed might be necessary.

What Caused My Gerbil To Have A Stroke?

A part of the brain in gerbils known as the circle of Willis is made of arteries supplying blood to the brain. Research and studies have proven that gerbils have an incomplete circle of Willis.

The limited blood flow and brain artery function commonly results in a stroke for gerbils more than most mammals. Inbreeding over generations may have caused this to occur. Please do not blame yourself.

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Why Is My Gerbil Wobbling?

Your gerbil may be getting old. The simple explanation of old age is easy to understand and live with. Further explanations are as follows:

  • ear infection
  • internal tumor
  • stroke

Ear Infection

Your gerbil may have its head tilted. This gerbil could have an ear infection and you may also notice it walking in circles. Seek medical help to find out which medications are suitable to help your gerbil recover.

Internal Tumor

Gerbils may also suffer from tumors. Hopefully they are benign, but they can still affect the balance and movement of your gerbil.


Part of the brain may have lost blood. Look for the following signs:

  • leaning to one side
  • unable to move one leg 
  • no movement on half of its face
  • lethargic
  • loss of appetite
  • closed eyes
  • hiding

What Should I Do If My Gerbil Is Paralyzed?

You will have to notice how much paralysis has affected your gerbil. Multiple strokes may have occurred over a short period of time. Complete paralysis will leave your gerbil suffering or starving for nutrition.

If your gerbil gives up eating, barely opens its eyes and stops moving around, you may have to ask for your vet’s opinion on whether or not it’s time to say goodbye to your little companion.

How Do I Help My Gerbil Recover From A Stroke?

Sometimes, we can comfort our gerbils who have had a stroke. If we’re lucky, they may recover and resume independent functions. Until then, try to help out with the following tips:

  • Visit the vet.
  • Hand-feed your gerbil easily digestible food like bananas, apple sauce or oatmeal. 
  • Keep your gerbil warm with a heat pad or raise the temperature

Recovery is not up to us to decide. We may be providing palliative care with the notion that these are its last few days or weeks before it succumbs to the effects of the stroke. We can still provide comfort during these times.

How Do I Feed My Gerbil With A Stoke?

A gerbil who recently had a stroke may not be able to feed independently. Choose soft foods and help direct it into their mouths if they cannot use their paws like they used to.

  1. Let your gerbil lick the food off a spoon.
  2. Use an eye dropper to deliver water. 
  3. Offer apple sauce, baby food (no sugar), oatmeal or soft vegetables.

Recovery is possible. Once you notice your gerbil using its paws and trying the grab the food, begin allowing it resume normal feeding practices.

What Are The Signs Of A Gerbil Dying?

If you do not notice your gerbil recovering from a stroke, you may witness the opposite. The following signs of death looming may include the following:

  • very little movement
  • stops eating
  • breathes slowly or labored
  • fur is dull or shedding
  • loses weight
  • pees on itself
  • diarrhea
  • not drinking anything


Create a warm and comfortable space for your gerbil who has suffered a stroke. Make sure the vet has diagnosed it as such.

Provide extra bedding and a possible heat pad to remain warm when your gerbil isn’t able to maintain its body temperature the way it used to.

Hand-feed or use a spoon with soft food. You might get lucky and witness your gerbil recovering in 5-12 days. We hope this is the case.


Thank you for visiting for information regarding gerbils and plenty of other pets that we greatly enjoy caring for. Please check out more articles that may interest you. See you next time!