Safety Of Chlorhexidine On Gerbils

Would this antiseptic spray harm gerbils?

A sudden lump on a gerbil should be checked out by a veterinarian to determine if it is something as simple as a cyst or as serious as cancer. AlbyDeTweede/iStock/Thinkstock

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS

Q.

Can you tell me if I can use chlorhexidine antiseptic spray on my gerbil? It is for a small cyst. I want to stop any infection. If I can’t use that, what can I use?

A.

I would be very hesitant to use any medication like that on a gerbil without knowing exactly what else is in the spray and the concentration of the spray. Chlorhexidine may be safe but if you read the precautions, it can cause in some individuals skin burning, skin blistering, swellings and pain. If what you are using becomes ingested, there may be further negative consequences to using this type of spray on a gerbil.

A cyst is an area on the skin that usually is benign and caused by an accumulation of fluid. There are many reasons that cysts occur and most of them are not serious. It is uncommon for cysts to become infected but it can happen.

The best way to treat this cyst is to visit your veterinarian and have him or her remove the fluid with a small needle, if that is necessary. In some cases, cysts have very little fluid and will disappear on their own.

Also, sometimes small lumps appear to be cysts but can be something else entirely, such as an early form of cancer. That is another reason it is worth visiting your veterinarian — you want to be absolutely certain this is a benign cyst that will cause no harm to your gerbil versus something as serious as cancer.

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Article Categories:
Critters · Gerbils