DISEASES AND TREATMENT
Tribbles are not susceptible to many diseases, since they had to be extremely hardy to merely survive in their original habitat. However, there are a few diseases and other problems that the tribble owner should be aware of.
SIGNS OF ILLNESS
You can tell a tribble is sick by its behavior. It will be very slow, sullen, and even lethargic.
Physical signs are a dull coat, loose skin, and a general 'sloppy' look.
If your tribble ever goes off its feed, call a vet immediately.
DISEASES OF THE SKIN AND COAT
Longhaired tribbles are more likely to have a skin or coat problem that shorthaired specimen, simply because there is more hair for the vermin to hide in.
If your tribble is loosing its hair, and its skin is slightly flaky, dandruff might be the cause. Dandruff is easily cured by washing the tribble in lukewarm water with a gentle anti dandruff shampoo. Always use lukewarm water, and dry the tribble immediately. Because the signs of dandruff are much like the first signs of summer itch, inexperienced tribble keepers should consult a vet.
Summer itch looks much like dandruff at the onset, but the flaking will soon become much more profound, and is usually located in a few area's only. Washing the tribble will not help, but the vet can give a lotion to be rubbed on the flaky spots once a day until the flaking stops.
A tribble is not preferred by lice or fleas, but if other animals in the household are infested, the tribble will probably pick some up as well. Anti-flea products for cats are safe for use on tribbles, but dog products should not be used. Always treat all animals in the household at the same time, and treat their cages, sleeping places, and favorite hide-outs as well.
Regular ticks can not penetrate the muscular layer underneath the skin, but the Bahner ticks in the Zehnar sector, and particularly those on Deneb III, can. Remove with alcohol and tweezers as you would any tick from any life form.
A tribble that is groomed too often will get bald spots, since tribble hair grows very slowly. Gentle grooming, with a large-toothed comb will work preventive in coat problems, but, as with everything, too much is never right.
Never leave foreign objects entangled in your tribbles hair (like a burr or a Symenn-his-hair-tangled). They can be removed using coat conditioner or regular baby oil to slicken the hair and prevent it from being pulled out.
DISEASES OF THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Tribbles can get a cold if they get wet and are not dried properly. They will not easily drown, but they hate water. They can be dried with a soft, dry towel, a blow dryer, or in a sonic shower. Tribbles are more susceptible to colds because their native planet is so dry and warm that a wet tribble in a draft has little natural defenses against it.
A cold is diagnosed by the tribble showing the general symptoms of disease, as well as a sniffing sound, which the tribble produces when foreign particles are excreted through the multi-functional canal.
You might also notice a coughing noise, which is produced when large amounts of air are being blown out of the multi-functional tube, and it closes with a pop. This is common when the tribble inhales dust or other foreign particles, and in and of itself not something to worry about, but if it persists for any length of time it could be a sign of a cold or even pneunomia.
A tribble with a cold should be kept warm, and given adequate food -which means a breeding tribble with a cold is often better sterilized unless particularly valuable. The tribble should be taken away from the other tribbles and kept in isolation until all signs of illness are gone.
If a cold is allowed to escalate, a tribble might catch pneunomia. Pneunomia in a tribble should always be treated by a veterinarian. The tribble must be isolated and given anti-biotics.
Tribbles can be allergic to some substances, but will usually know how to avoid them. This is why a tribble will avoid a Klingon at all cost; the tribble is allergic to the specific pheremones a Klingon excretes when he is either scared, highly active, or angry. As Klingons don't like tribbles, they get angry when one is near, and will excrete plenty of such pheremones.
DISEASES OF THE DIGESTIVE TRACT
There are few things that are poisenous to a tribble, and the tribble will know how to avoid most of them. Those substances that have no smell or taste of course are difficult to avoid, so the tribble should not have access to them. If poisoning is suspected, take the substance, residue, or container with you and take the tribble to the nearest vet office immediately.
All normal food substances carbon-based life forms can digest are safe for tribbles, but they can be slightly uncomfortable after eating large quantities of food high in fat. Take the fatty food away from the tribble and make sure it has some water to help in the process of excreting waste.
Over-eating is common in non-breeding tribbles. If it is only an incident, the tribble might appear somewhat uncomfortable, but no harm will come of it. A tribble that gets fed too much on a regular basis will get fat, become sluggish, and its coat will loose its luster.
Loss of appetite is unusual and very serious. If a tribble ever refuses to eat, do not try to doctor on it yourself, but call a vet immediately. The cause could be poison, or it might be a symptom of another, serious disease, like pneunomia.
DISEASES OF THE REPRODUCTIVE TRACT
There are not many diseases of the reproductive system in tribbles. One of the few things you might find in domestic tribbles is inflamation of the uterus. Inflamation of the uterus is most often caused by inducing abortion in a pregnant tribble. This can be done, but must always be followed up by a cure of antibiotica. When diagnoosed in an early stage, inflamation of the uterus can be cured by a longer cure of antibiotica, but when further advanced the inner walls will all be affected and the tribble willhave to be put down.
Spontaneous abortions are almost unheard of in tribbles, and if it ever occurs, it is a sure sign of a serious problem. Call a veterinarian immediately.