Are you the lucky owner of a degus – or probably several degus because these animals need the company of their fellows? You are certainly keen to provide them with the equipment, hygiene and food to promote a long and beautiful life for these animals, away from health problems. However, it is possible that one of them will still get sick. This article lists the 6 most common signs of illness to help you respond appropriately.
Sign 1: A change in usual behavior
Adopting a degus is a good choice because it is an animal that easily adapts to life in captivity and is very little subject to stress. It is even easy to breed the octodon in captivity, a sign that the animal is happy. Finally, children can handle it under supervision. Its taming is done without difficulty.
It is an animal that communicates a lot, with its congeners, but also with its master, through a whole range of cries, chirps and grunts with which you will gradually become familiar.
As you interact with your degus, you learn to recognize and get to know them. These animals have individual characters, beyond the specific character traits of the species, and you know what situation or what type of food may upset your four-legged companions.
Also, when one of them does not behave as you expect, if it lacks liveliness, energy, if it stays away and does not interact as much or not at all with its or with you, if he becomes aggressive (not a single bite attempt but repeated attempts), you must ask yourself why he is doing this and seek to identify what may be causing such a change in behavior.
You could simply disturb him or even wake him up in full sleep … Many humans show themselves in a bad mood in a similar situation. You must therefore first rule out any behavioral errors that you could have made, before asking yourself if repeated bites are so many calls for help to your attention.
Do not neglect the level of temperatures and take precautions when they rise a lot. In the natural state, a degus lives a lot in its burrow, in order to benefit from a stable temperature, generally around 24 ° C. The exits outside the burrow are then done when the temperatures drop. You will therefore easily understand that the domestic octodon does not support strong heat and can develop “hot shots”, Sometimes fatal.
Sign 2: Appearance of transit disorders
Whether it is constipation or diarrhea, transit disorders should be watched closely.
Diarrhea in particular can quickly degenerate into a phenomenon of dehydration. It is an emergency to consult the vet, without trying to solve the problem on your own and postpone the visit. This does not prevent you from thinking about the situation to help the vet to resolve this problem. Because diarrhea can have various causes:
- the diet is not adapted or poorly supported by the octodon’s digestive tract,
- parasites develop in the animal’s body,
- bacteria (colibacillosis, salmonellosis, yersiniosis, etc.) have multiplied.
You have more reaction time in the case of constipation since the animal is less likely to dehydration. Again, it may be a problem with the diet in which too much protein is present. You can try to relieve the octodon by giving your pet more fresh vegetables. Pineapple juice is also effective in hydrating the animal while unblocking transit.
This will however not be of any effect if the constipation is due to the ingestion of hairballs as it is a case of intestinal obstruction which can only be resolved by the vet.
Sign 3: Excessive drool production
A degus that’s drooling is often a degus with dental or oral problems. It is important to regularly check the length of your pets’ teeth to anticipate this type of problem. But other infections can also cause excessive drooling.
In addition, observe the possible presence of other signs: runny nose and eyes, presence of a lump under the jaw, weight loss… The consultation with the veterinarian being essential, it can help to make the correct diagnosis.
Sign 4: your degus seems to have a cold
Runny nose and eyes, noisy breathing are not signs to be taken lightly. In general, the octodon also lacks appetite. If bacteria are the cause of these symptoms, your rodent will die if you don’t start treatment quickly.
Common cold is a disease that causes sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. In general, the octodon is not very active and eats little. It is treated by administering antibiotics.
Pneumonia can be overwhelming and kill your degus in just a few hours. Under these conditions, you have very little leeway.
If you have the impression that your degus has a cold, do not seek advice on forums: run to the vet!
Sign 5: your degus is scratching excessively
If your pet scratches excessively to the point of pulling hair out and you see scabs forming or even sores appearing, they may be suffering from ringworm. It is a parasite that is more present around the muzzle, behind its ears or on the tail. Depilated regions form. Only an antifungal treatment prescribed by the doctor can overcome it.
Sign 6: Your degus is moving with difficulty
The underside of the octodon’s feet can become infected by the presence of bacteria that weaken the skin of the animal, which presents wounds and suffers. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often needed to treat the animal. If you leave the problem lying around, the limb can die off, making amputation essential.