Tumors and Cancers in Gerbils

An abnormal growth of cells in a tissue or organ is referred to as a tumor or cancer. And much like in humans, a gerbil is just as likely to suffer from cancers or tumors. There are basically two types of tumors: benign tumors, which do not spread, and malignant tumors, which spread and are usually referred to as cancers.

Tumors can be found in or on various parts of the body, including skin tumors on the gerbil’s ears or feet. However, regardless of the type of tumor or cancer, prompt veterinary care is recommended and improves the chances of successful treatment.

Symptoms and Types

The signs and symptoms exhibited by the gerbil will depend on the tissue or organ affected by the tumor. For example, tumors found in the gerbil’s ventral marking glands are common (especially in older gerbils) and appear as sores, but they rarely spread. Skin tumors are also visible and appear as masses on many parts of the body, including the gerbil’s ears and feet. Meanwhile, tumors located in the gerbil’s internal organs are harder to identify because external signs are rarely shown, however, some good indicators of these tumors are depression, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, occasionally with blood.


There is no known reason for most tumors or cancers, except that certain types have genetic dispositions and they are due to the abnormal growth of cells in a tissue or organ.


Benign and malignant tumors are diagnosed through physical examination, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, blood tests and biopsies.


Something that becomes worse or life threatening as it spreads


Not being able to cause harm; the opposite of malignant.

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