Tyzzer’s Disease in Gerbils

3 min read

Clostridium piliforme Bacterial Infection in Gerbils

Among the infectious bacterial diseases that affect gerbils, Tyzzer’s disease is the one of the most frequently occurring. The bacteria that causes this infection, Clostridium piliforme, is spread when gerbils ingest contaminated food or water supplies, resulting in severe abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Young or stressed gerbils are at an increased risk of infection due to a compromised immune system, and gerbils that are suffering from other previous illnesses or infections are at an increased risk of a fatal outcome.

Symptoms and Types

  • Hunched posture
  • Rough hair coat
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain from intestinal infection
  • Dehydration


The Clostridium piliforme bacteria which causes Tyzzer's disease is mainly transmitted through ingestion of contaminated feces, food or water, and/or contact with contaminated bedding material.


This infection is difficult to diagnose with current diagnostic procedures. A blood test can be performed, but the results are often not conclusive. Observing the clinical symptoms exhibited, through a process called differential diagnosis, may be the preferred method for your veterinarian in diagnosing this infection. This process is guided by deeper inspection of the apparent outward symptoms, ruling out each of the more common causes until the correct disorder is settled upon and can be treated appropriately.

Your veterinarian will also collect fecal and blood samples from your gerbil for culturing and possible identification of the bacterial species that is responsible for the infection.

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