Neutering Question

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 7:33 am

So the recent talk about neutering has me curious. What are the pros and cons, and do you all think the procedure could be safe and worth it? The questions I'm asking are completely hypothetical for now, purely musings. But the thing is, I'm going to college next year, and if I get into Cornell, I plan to bring my mice with me. I have just Henry now, but I've become desperate for another small colony of girls, and if I get into Cornell, I plan to go ahead and get some. But I'm nervous about when college does come up because I'm unsure that I'll be allowed to have two tanks, one for Henry and one for a trio of girls, and if I end up still having mice from both groups alive by the time that happens, I may have to choose who to bring and who not to bring. I still plan on doing more research and talking to the ecology house director to try and work something out and figure out if I could bring two 10g tanks (their limit for dry aquariums is 30g but I believe it's only one tank), so this could be avoidable, but I'm curious.

If I get into Cornell and am only allowed to bring one tank, do you think that neutering Henry so he could live with girls would be worth it? That way, I would be able to bring everyone, and Henry could even enjoy the company of other mice. Humans still make him anxious, so I always worry about him having enough company. He just isn't as fond of me as mice can be. So what do you guys think? Note that I have absolutely no plans to go ahead with this at this time. I purely want to discuss the pros and cons and see if it would be a good idea so that all of my mice could come with me to school.

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Post by CallaLily on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 9:10 am

I'm pretty sure the article from TFM was brought over......yep, here it is. Smile http://www.petmousefanciers.com/t16-neutering-mice

Good topic though. I'm interested in hearing from any mouse owners who have had their bucks neutered or even just spoke with their vet about it. I hadn't even thought of asking my vet's opinion on it. How old is Henry?

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Post by AnonONIagent on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 9:29 am

I know that CreekValleyCritters on YouTube has had pretty much all of her male mice neutered without much incident, but she also sees a vet who is extremely experienced with small animals, which as we all probably know are quite rare.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 9:35 am

I don't know Henry's exact age since he's a rehomed Petco mouse. But I predicted him to be about four months in July (I know for certain he was at least two months at the time), so by now, he would be seven months. I know for sure he's at least five. My vet has a good amount of experience with small animals, but I would definitely have to call her and talk it over with her, make sure she's comfortable doing it. But for now, I'm more wondering if you all think it would be worth it.

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Post by CallaLily on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 9:41 am

I've seen that with CreekValleyCritters and I've seen it talked about in another mouse group. It seems to come down to how experienced the vet is. Edited to add though of course there's always a risk with any procedure, no matter how experienced the vet or healthy the mouse seems.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 10:49 am

If I get into Cornell, I'll discuss it with my vet to see what she thinks and if she can refer me to anyone. The risk definitely makes me antsy, but if she has had repeated success with small animal surgery, keeping Henry and all future mice with me could be worth it. Of course, if Cornell doesn't happen, it's a nonissue.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 11:36 am

Been doing a little more research in other mouse communities. Their standards aren't nearly as high as ours, but the general consensus seems to be that neutering bucks can be immensely successful, and your rate of success directly correlates with how skillful and experienced your vet is. I'm surprised! I legitimately thought that neutering was a high risk, low success procedure in mice that rarely does any good. That's how the TFM article portrayed it, that is, but now that I look at it again, it's not really that biased in either direction. I'm thinking about calling my vet sometime this week to ask her about her experience. When Little Cow had a tumor, she did seem very open to surgically removing it (which I turned down), so I'm wondering if she does have experience in small animal surgery. It feels too early to start asking around about neutering since I won't hear back from Cornell until December 15, but now I'm too curious!

But please, keep bringing in your input! I wanna know what everyone thinks about this.

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Post by CallaLily on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 12:04 pm

It's possible TFM's opinion on it was outdated. I remember it being said that at one point in TFM's history there was no vet care for mice and clearly that's changed. So I think it's possible times have moved along on the neutering/surgery front but old habits die hard? I've seen it happen on other pet forums - "facts" just get repeated over and over again without looking at how far things have come along or what we've learned (or many times, without anyone ever really even looking into it in the first place). Especially if members don't feel comfortable in speaking up or asking these questions.


Off topic but my vet was all for removing tumors too. He didn't have much experience doing it in mice but had a lot with rats and other small animals.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 12:41 pm

That's true Calla! Some of TFM's information in the care articles seem to be different than what we agree on today. For example, the neutering article seems to dabble with the fact that neutered bucks can maybe live together when we know for sure that isn't true. I feel like we should all comb through those articles and update them if need be.

My research was admittedly only 10-15 minutes, nothing extensive, but it seems like a lot of people are having success with neutering and many people even neuter all of their bucks. I'm not sure why, but that level of confidence doesn't come from nowhere. I don't think I would never neuter every male just for the hell of it, but I'm beginning to wonder if I should go ahead with neutering Henry just to provide him with female companionship. A lot of people expressed great joy that their boys could live with other mice. I wish I knew more about his health history so I could know for sure that he's strong and able.

And Calla, that talk also makes me wonder what the benefits could be of removing benign tumors from mice.

Let me call my vet and discuss with her. When I get all the information, I'm happy to share her opinion.

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Post by CallaLily on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 12:58 pm

On keeping nuetered bucks together. I feel like it's probably just like intact bucks in that some people swear they've kept them together with no problems, where others have had nothing but trouble. It kind of seems like asking for trouble, especially considering bucks living together isn't a natural situation for them. I mean I get the mice we keep are domesticated but imo looking at their natural behaviors can help a lot in considering what may work best.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 1:07 pm

I agree, Calla! I don't think it's ever worth the risk since you never know what can happen. I didn't pay attention to the people online claiming that neutering bucks is the long-sought key to keeping them together. I don't get why people are so adamant about housing their neutered bucks together to give them companionship when they could easily put that same buck in with a group of girls.

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Post by scaredymouse on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 1:42 pm

Neutering is an elective surgery, so some vets won't even do it unless there is a good reason, because it's just a bit more difficult on a mouse. Also, there is no way to keep them from chewing on the wound, it's not like they can wear a collar like a bigger animal can. That said, an experienced Vet can do it and it's no riskier than any other surgery. The only difference is that it doesn't need to be done. One needs to ask themselves, am I putting this mouse through a painful operation because he needs it or because I want to do it. Age is also a factor, I wouldn't recommend it on a mouse over 6 months old.

When I first got Goose, I considered neutering him because he was so high strung and seemed so lonely. I thought he would be happier with my females. I even talked with NM about it. In the end, I decided that it wasn't worth the risk. I got him a bigger tank, more toys, and spent more time with him. Also, there could be a lot of humping (lol)

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 2:01 pm

I've considered that, Scaredy. The thing is though, that I very desperately want to keep more mice and I really want girls again. I miss having a colony, and keeping one mouse just isn't as satisfying as keeping two or more. So I plan to go ahead with getting more mice, whether it be another boy or a group of girls.

But if I get into Cornell and end up with two separate groups at the end of next summer, I'll have to choose who to give up and who to keep. That would be really hard for me, but I also have fears about rehoming and whether or not finding a good home is possible. I know you offered to take in my mice, Scaredy, and you're still my number one go to, but the idea of transporting mice all the way to Michigan is harrowing. I'll either have to get them on a plane and pass them off as Chinese hamsters, or I'll have to find some way to drive them all the way to you, which would be a four day trip at least. There are people around here I can ask, but nothing is definite. My friend who has mouse experience is notoriously unreliable, and the only other mouse person I know around here is the woman I got the girls from, and last I heard she was putting mice on the backburner to focus on her senior dog. Of course, if Cornell doesn't happen, then rehoming will certainly have to, but if I do get in, I want to make the best effort to keep all my pets with me. Trying to bargain with the housing director and get permission to keep two tanks is the absolute first choice and first step. But if they absolutely don't allow it, then I feel like going through with the neutering (ONLY if I can find an experienced vet!) and keeping all my mice together would be better than rehoming for both me and the mice. Do you agree, Scaredy?

Age is the tough thing. When I find out the results from Cornell, he'll be eight months old. So it's a lot to consider, but at least I have plenty of time to think it over. I phoned the vet and am expecting a call back sometime tomorrow, so maybe she can provide more insight.

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Post by CallaLily on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 2:20 pm

@scaredymouse wrote:
 Also, there could be a lot of humping (lol)

That does bring up another point. If you did decide to go through with neutering a buck, it's still no guarantee he and your girls would get along. Just like some girls never get on.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 3:28 pm

That's a good point.

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