Providing that your degus are well socialised, get plenty of exercise, have a stable diet and live in hygienic conditions, they should live healthy, happy lives.
Your degus should always be:
- Have bright, clear eyes
- Clean ears
- Glossy fur
- Clean tail.
Keep an eye out for:
- Discharge from the nose
- Difficulty breathing (this can be a sign of respiratory problems)
- White teeth — white teeth indicate vitamin A deficiency (teeth should be yellow)
- Whitening of the eyes — this can be a sign that your degu has diabetes.
Your degu should have access to a dust bath a few times a week to keep his fur coat in a good condition. Dust baths keep their coats clean and shiny. You shouldn't attempt to bath a degu with water as their fur may not dry out properly and could cause skin problems.
Always make sure that your degus are cool enough, if the temperature of the room gets any higher than 20°C they will overheat and are likely to suffer from heatstroke.
Degus are prone to certain illnesses such as:
- Diabetes mellitus — this is a result of rich, sugary foods.
- Cataracts — usually occurs if your degu has diabetes.
- Pneumonia — if your degu is wheezy, has a runny nose or is struggling to breath, consult a vet straight away.
- Overgrown teeth — always provide your degus with things to chew and gnaw on, their teeth grow constantly so it's important they are kept trim.
- Tail slip — never grab your degu by his tail. They can slip the skin off their tail when it is grabbed at the base.
- Tumours — like most rodents, degus can develop tumours. The risk of tumours increases with old age. Always check for any lumps and bumps.
- Diarrhoea — usually caused by excess green vegetables. Consult your vet if your degu has diarrhoea for more than 24 hours.
Always seek advice from your vet if you are concerned about your degus' health.