Tapeworms in their early stages
generally do not cause much harm or noticable signs in gerbils.
The problem with this is that it is very hard to detect them
until the parasitic infection has gotten out of hand. At that
point the gerbil will have a tough time eating because the
tapeworms will have practically filled their intestines. Since
the intestines of gerbils are not very wide it does not take
a great deal of tapeworms to plug them.
A veterinarian visit is almost always required for gerbils
that have been infected with tapeworms. There are some commercially
available products that claim to remove the tapeworms but
your best bet is to take it to the vet to ensure that the
parasites are removed completely.
Please remember that tapeworms can in fact be transferred
to humans so take care when handling hamsters that may be
infected with tapeworms. Since there may be very few signs
of tapeworms early on in the infection it is important that
you always wash your hands after handling your gerbil just
in case they do have this or any other infection. If your
veterinarian confirms the tapeworm diagnosis you are recommended
to have yourself tested as well.