Degu diseases and health of small rodents

Degu diseases are not always immediately recognizable, because the animals usually cover them up. Nevertheless, there are ways to quickly find out if and what your darling is missing. A degu is often not noticeable when it is sick, so you need to check its health regularly. Image: Shutterstock / Sofia Kozlova

Even if there are Degu diseases, your rodents often do not show them clearly. As long as possible they come to the food bowl as usual and try to continue to participate in the social life of the pack. Only when the disease has progressed can the degus no longer hide the symptoms. Still, there are some preventative measures you can take to improve your pet's health - and know exactly whether it is sick or not. Below you will find the most common Degu diseases and preventive tips.

Prevent and treat wounds

Small wounds are one of the most common "Degu diseases". They can have different causes, for example biting each other. Important: Look for the cause and separate the animals if there are regular quarrels in the group. Put the injured animal in a separate box and line the bottom with unprinted kitchen paper. Now you can carefully disinfect the wound with a cotton swab. Saline is best for this. If the wound is deep or inflamed, a veterinarian should be consulted.

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How to recognize a cold

Since the rodents are relatively sensitive to drafts, the most common Degu diseases include the common cold. Wet bedding or a room temperature that is too low can also lead to symptoms such as purulent nasal discharge, eye infections or sneezing. However, these signs can also indicate other diseases. A veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis and take medication to prevent the cold from spreading to pneumonia.

Degu diseases: Heat stroke is one of them

The other extreme is a heat stroke. Enclosures with large glass fronts that are exposed to direct sunlight easily overheat. The rodents cannot compensate for the high temperatures and heat stroke occurs. If this is the case, the animal lies impassively on the floor and has an increased respiratory rate. Take it out of the enclosure immediately and move it to a cooler place. If there is no improvement after a few minutes, you should go to the vet.

Causes and symptoms of diarrhea

The cause of Degu diseases is usually found in the immediate vicinity. Diarrhea can be caused, for example, by excessive feeding with green fodder. If you notice typical symptoms such as porridge or low-viscosity faeces or fecal smeared fur on the anus, you should first change the feed. If this does not help, consult the veterinarian. He can determine whether the rodents' health is affected by Salmonella or coli bacteria.

Worm infestation despite keeping indoors

Parasites can occur even when kept indoors. They usually hide in hay or in non-hygienically packaged feed. Worms are one of the Degu diseases that initially do not cause any symptoms. Healthy degus hardly notice the worm infestation. In stressful situations or in poor health, the parasites can take over and your darling suddenly loses weight. The veterinarian takes a sample of faeces to detect the worms and then initiates appropriate treatment.

The small rodents are prone to diabetes

Degus are particularly susceptible to diabetes mellitus. Symptoms often include lens opacity caused by the high aldose reductase content in the lens. Animals that suffer from it can still get very old and have little to no problems with the disease. With an acute course, however, the degus can die within a few weeks. If you experience symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, you should immediately contact the veterinarian. A cure is not possible, but the rodents can live much longer on a low-sugar diet.

Precaution: How to check the health of your degus

So that you know immediately whether your pets' health is at risk, a regular check-up is also recommended in addition to species-appropriate husbandry. Degu diseases can be identified and treated more quickly. So take a little time every day and watch the animals closely. If you notice unusual behavior or other changes, you should initiate further investigations. A weekly health check includes weight control, palpation for thickening, tumors, gas build-ups, fur control and control of the eyes, ears, nose, teeth, claws and anus.

The following symptoms are a sign that the health of the degus is not optimal and a veterinarian should take a look at the rodents:

• apathetic behavior, degus are remarkably calm, do not react as usual or similar.
• Going out of the fur, possibly reddened or scaly areas of the skin, frequent scratching
• heavy breathing, possibly even accompanied by breathing noises
• Weight loss or weight gain
• salivation (possibly indicating tooth problems)
• soft droppings
• Cloudiness of the eyes
• watery and / or sticky, inflamed eyes
• crusted ears
• Secretions from the nose
• symptoms of paralysis, limping or similar
• Degu shows pain, possibly cramps