mousey cold

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Post by boofandkara on Mon 16 May 2016, 11:36 am

I am exploring the idea that Boofaloo has a cold, as his little nose sounds plugged up sometimes but he is still very active and eating lots. He chatters, but he's been doing that for a month, and I was told he had been doing it for three months prior at the pet shop, and had been put on antibiotics in the past (with no change in the chattering). I was told to give him some honey, so I drizzled barely any on a cheerio and gave it to him. He was immediately excited, but as soon as he touched the cheerio and got honey on his little hands and face, he freaked out, threw the cheerio, and ran as far away from it as possible. I think the stickiness was a little traumatic for him. How can I give him honey (or any other home remedies) without causing him distress? Also, how can I assess if it's too cold in the house for him? He's spent the past few nights sleeping in his new hammock, which is 'open air', meaning it's just a single piece of fleece strung close to the mesh top, so it's most likely to be the coolest place to sleep in his tank (he also has a plastic igloo, and a log cave that he can burrow deep underneath). I definitely want to make sure he's warm and/or cool enough, but given that he's choosing the hammock, I'm assuming it's the right temperature? This spring has had great fluctuations here - the other day it was 78 in my apartment, and last night it was 68. I made a vet appointment, but am still skeptical as to whether or not the vet can offer me anything given that Boof really seems fine apart from the stuffy nose.

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Post by MouseLover on Mon 16 May 2016, 12:35 pm

Not sure about honey as I've never given it. It does sound like a URI to me, so I think you were right to make an appointment. Better safe than sorry. Hopefully some antibiotics will clear things up.

Sometimes URIs can leave lasting damage to delicate mousey lungs, and they may never get 100% better. This was the case with one of my old mice, who suffered from respiratory issues pretty much her whole life. The good news is that it can still be possible for such mice to live happy, fulfilling lives, they just need a bit of extra care. My mouse seemed otherwise happy and healthy, and lived for about 2 years and 7 months, which is a very good age.

With regards to making sure he's warm - keep your house at a temperature that's comfortable for you, and just make sure he has access to lots and lots of bedding. Ripped up toilet tissue is nice and soft and warm for mousies Smile maybe even put some on top of his hammock if you like. He'll just kick it off if he doesn't want it there Laughing

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Post by scaredymouse on Mon 16 May 2016, 7:01 pm

I've never heard of honey being given. And as far as the antibiotics not working in the past...i never trust something unless I do it myself. Maybe they didn't give all the doses on time or maybe it was the incorrect medication for the problem of even the wrong strength. I'm glad your taking to the vet. If they offer antibiotics, you should try them again.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Tue 17 May 2016, 8:53 am

The honey treatment is one of those at-home treatments made up by people uninterested in getting actual veterinary care for their pets. It doesn't work. If Boofalo is sneezing, get him to a vet and get some baytril to treat a URI. Mice don't get the common cold, only URIs. If it's left untreated, it can turn into a pneumonia and kill him, so if this has been going on for a while, best get him in as soon as possible.

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Post by CallaLily on Tue 17 May 2016, 10:00 am

I agree with the vet appointment.

The temps in your house sound ok. Out of curiosity, what is the humidity like?

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Post by Soren on Tue 17 May 2016, 10:12 pm

It could be damage from a prior URI. Especially since the mouse has been treated for a URI before. But mice that recover from an URI could have airway damage that gives them URI-like-Symptoms for the rest of their lives.

You should make a vet appointment to be sure.
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Post by boofandkara on Wed 18 May 2016, 9:59 pm

So the vet said that Boofaloo probably has pneumonia. He said there were tests and things like x-rays they could do to make sure it's not a congenital malformation or something else, but it would be more expensive. He suggested starting antibiotics for 3 weeks and then have a follow up visit. He said the antibiotics could clear it out, or he could need more, or he could be on antibiotics his whole life. He said Boofaloo's prognosis is pretty good considering he doesn't seem very sick, but that the biggest concern is how hard he seems to be breathing and how much movement is visible in his sides when he is breathing (like it's labored). I mentioned that Boofaloo's been like this a month and likely his whole life, based on info I received, including that he'd previously been treated for a URI, and that his breathing looks normal when he's on the wheel. The vet said that he could go on living this way a while, depending on what it is, and that his lungs could be scarred from something in the past but the only way to know is to run the tests. They presented me with a plan to give him Baytril, which was priced at $25.08 for 136mg tab, and Doxycycline Mono50mgCap at $19.75. They are charging $39.60 to mix these medications into a syrup. They presented me with a bill for nearly $190 and I burst out crying. The tech offered to cut the visit fee in half so the bill would come closer to $160 with the follow up visit. I paid for this visit and said I'd have to think about the treatment plan. They said I could come anytime to get the medicine, once I've made my decision, and they'd show me how to administer it.

I would love some shared experience here. Has anyone been through this? Can I get the medication somewhere else? What if we do the meds and he doesn't get better? What if his lungs are just scarred or he's got a congenital defect?

I mentioned to the vet that he's seems so healthy other than the appearance of labored breathing - he runs on his wheel for hours, he eats a lot, he jumps, he loves to climb on stuff, he bit the heck out of me today (he was stressed - it bled, still hurts), etc. He's full of peach and vinegar. The vet agreed that it could be multiple possibilities but with the info we have, set the diagnoses at pneumonia. He was fairly brisk.

I could afford the meds, it's the mixing fee and the follow up visit that really bowled me over. I'd really appreciate input of any stories you have, experiences, or recommendations for treatment. Please no "if you can't afford it you shouldn't have a pet" stuff. I'm aware of what's at stake. I'll pay for it if I need to, but it would be a significant sum for me. I want to better understand and weigh the options and realities for both Boofaloo's best interests and mine.

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Post by Artistwolf on Wed 18 May 2016, 10:43 pm

The thing is, as a prey animal, a mouse doesn't want to show that it is sick basically until it's almost too late. These early warning signs are important. That said, I can totally understand the monetary stress on you. $160 sounds pretty high, usually I'd expect more around $75 or something, but then it is two medications and I've never actually taken a mouse to a vet so I'm really not the right one to talk to. I hope someone else can help more.

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Post by stephlisa on Thu 19 May 2016, 4:48 am

Oh no Sad that's awful! I'm afraid I'm not much help as I don't have experience of this (Colin is my first mouse) but I wanted to offer consolation and I hope that things get better for Boofaloo. Sad
$190 seems very expensive, though I'm from the UK so I don't know how our vet prices differ, but you did do the right thing taking him to the vet.
I hope thing get better for you.

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Post by boofandkara on Thu 19 May 2016, 6:48 am

@Artistwolf wrote:The thing is, as a prey animal, a mouse doesn't want to show that it is sick basically until it's almost too late. These early warning signs are important. That said, I can totally understand the monetary stress on you. $160 sounds pretty high, usually I'd expect more around $75 or something, but then it is two medications and I've never actually taken a mouse to a vet so I'm really not the right one to talk to. I hope someone else can help more.
Hi, thank you for your kind reply. Can I ask - I don't know how many mice you have or anything but I see you're a full member - how have you been able to get away with no vet visits? Just lucky with healthy babies? This is my first mouse and I'm already in the 'medical' system Sad

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Post by Artistwolf on Thu 19 May 2016, 7:45 am

Hah. I'm not that lucky! No, I just plain old don't have any mice. Never had but I will someday Wink Currently my parents are just saying no. I love mice and I've learned a ton about them from the fun mouse, but I have no other claims to special knowledge because when it comes down to it, I've never had mice and so there's a ton of things I've never experienced Smile

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Thu 19 May 2016, 9:39 am

The thing is that mice will need medical care. Boofalo is your pet, and thus it's your responsibility to provide him with everything he needs, including all the vet care he needs. Upon adopting him, that's what you signed up for. Mice are delicate, poorly bred animals who are susceptible to sickness and injury. Odds are this won't be the last time you'll have to pay for vet care. Without treatment, Boofalo could end up suffering, and this pneumonia will eventually kill him when his lungs fill with fluid. You can try going to other vets to see if they'll charge you less, but he will need treatment. There is no way around it. I'm sorry.

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Post by boofandkara on Thu 19 May 2016, 11:00 am

@CinnamonPearl wrote:The thing is that mice will need medical care. Boofalo is your pet, and thus it's your responsibility to provide him with everything he needs, including all the vet care he needs. Upon adopting him, that's what you signed up for. Mice are delicate, poorly bred animals who are susceptible to sickness and injury. Odds are this won't be the last time you'll have to pay for vet care. Without treatment, Boofalo could end up suffering, and this pneumonia will eventually kill him when his lungs fill with fluid. You can try going to other vets to see if they'll charge you less, but he will need treatment. There is no way around it. I'm sorry.
Yeah. I stated this in my post. Please no lectures, I am an adult and I do understand my responsibility for my pet just as well as my responsibility to pay my rent. Thank you though for your empathy.

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Post by Peachy on Thu 19 May 2016, 11:22 am

The rankings, like Jr Member, Full Member, are only post count related, just FYI. Smile


$190 sounds crazy! Asking your vet "What if..." might be best. I know both of my vets would help with the cost of additional medications if they were needed. That's what I would expect the next step to be... more antibiotics. A second vet opinion might be a good way to go, too.

I had two mice who were on and off treatment their whole lives. We tried to treat for a URI initially, going in with stronger antibiotics when the clicking came back, hoping it was something that would be resolved if we tackled it differently, but eventually... We knew she wasn't just talkative because the vet listened to her breathing, but we never knew for sure if it was myco/scarring/a super persistent infection/whatever because we opted to just treat the symptoms. We made sure she had clean air (no dust, no smoke, no incense or candles, no air fresheners, no drafts, etc) and the vet gave us a medication to ease her off and on clicking. One of those two mice actually lived to be over two years old. Smile

I hope things get better for Boof!
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Post by MouseLover on Thu 19 May 2016, 11:56 am

Yeah that sounds very expensive... I'm in the UK but a vet consultation plus medication usually costs me under £50, typically around £30.

URIs are very common, and as abeona says, you often can't be sure if it's an infection, myco, or damaged/scarred lungs.

The thing is... If it's a URI he needs antibiotics, or he could die. If he has one of the other problems, these are more chronic/lifelong and make him more vulnerable to bacterial infections on top of what he already has, which again, could kill him. Think of it like asthma in humans - people with asthma are much more vulnerable to chest infections etc.

Right now, to be safe, we need to assume it's a URI and try to treat him for that. If further down the road, your vet comes to the conclusion that he has damaged lungs, then he may need a bit of extra care throughout his life (being extra careful about clean air, extra foods to boost immune system, keep him nice and warm, and occasionally medicate when he has a bad "flare up").

As I said before, my mouse lived like this until she was 2 years and 7 months old, so it's not the end of the world, it's just harder work than your average mouse. At the end of her life, I felt proud that I had done my best for her, and had managed to get her to such a good age in spite of all her health issues.

Good luck to you and Boofaloo, I know how stressful it is having a sick mouse, it sucks.

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