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Fat Mice

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Fat Mice

Post by sweetlings on Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:28 pm

Hey everyone! I took my three girls to a small animal vet last week for treatment for what appeared to be mites (itching, fur loss), and after prescribing some mite treatment and antibiotics for the scratching, my vet advised that two of my girls (both ginger with brindle gene) were excessively chubby, and needed to be fed less. She advised I feed "About a quarter less" than whatever amount I'm feeding now. Problem is, I'm just free-feeding my girls and topping up whenever they're empty, so I'm not sure 100% how much that would be Confused

I'm feeding them Vetafarm Origins pellets (I live in Aus), which she said was a good diet, supplemented with fresh veggies (usually zucchini, cucumber, asian greens, broccoli or spinach) every night or two, and no fruit, corn, nuts, or sunflower seeds.

How much should three mice go through per day on average? I was under the impression that restricted feeding wouldn't really help and feel a bit unsure about the idea. Their sister, a black and white (no brindle gene) is a completely normal weight and has always been fed the exact same, but does tend to get pushed around by the other two occasionally and might be eating less because of this. I'm especially reluctant to minimise food since not all 3 of them are chunky!

**For reference, the brindle girls are completely disinterested in wheels (they have three different varieties, no dice), so I have added shelves, ladders and hammocks for climbing in their cage (which they use) and they get a fair bit of 'run around time' in their playpen or crawling all over me under a blanket most days.
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Re: Fat Mice

Post by chiroptera on Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:40 pm

From what I understand, brindles are genetically obese and limiting their food is not recommended as a solution.

I have a brindle girl and my newly-adopted boy who are both overweight, and so far they're doing just fine with unlimited food!

Perhaps your vet was simply unaware of the genetic component that contributes to your girls' being obese? I would bring that up with her the next time you see her.

I personally would not recommend limiting their food; the non-overweight mouse may lose too much weight, and it's possible that they will become more aggressive towards each other with a limited food supply. That said, I'm not a vet or an expert so I'd be interested in what others here would recommend.

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Re: Fat Mice

Post by sweetlings on Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:50 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Chiro! I will be seeing the vet again in about a week to follow up from their treatment so I will definitely chat to her about the genetic contribution to their obesity then - good call.

I hadn't thought about the possibility of food aggression but now that you mention it, I agree. My ginger girls are bossy anyway so I wouldn't be surprised Rolling Eyes
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Re: Fat Mice

Post by River on Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:22 pm

Brindle mice are genetically obese -- in fact, diet is rarely a contributing factor in mouse obesity in any gene. I wouldn't limit their diet. My excessively fat girl (who was a self black) lived a good 20 months despite being bred as a feeder. I never limited her diet, but I did make sure to feed food with the correct analysis. Fat should be 5-7%, preferably on the lower side of that for brindles if you can, and 12-13% protein. I also feed veggies weekly.

She and her cagemate ate the same amount and her cagemate is a tiny little thing.

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Re: Fat Mice

Post by CallaLily on Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:34 pm

I agree with what the others said. Really the only thing I would do is try to give them more out-of-cage exercise daily. You could also try placing the food dish higher, scatter feeding and/or food puzzles to make them work for it some.

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Re: Fat Mice

Post by CucumberMouse on Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:36 pm

I definitely wouldn't limit their food. Like the others said brindle mice have a gene that usually makes them overweight, even with the proper or limited amount of food. Definitely do try to get a diet with the right analysis (the one river described). The food your using now has 17% protein (from what I was able to find online), which I don't think is a big deal, but its best to try and get something that falls in line with the recommended analysis, unless told specifically by your vet to raise the protein, fat, etc. I've also tried to limit food for my mouse in the past- when I hadn't done much research -and it didn't hardly do anything good. In the end it actually put my mouse's health in a lot of danger and ended with him being underweight for a period of time. I'd say just keep feeding the amount that you're feeding now-- the fact that your mice are overweight might not even have anything to do with their food or food quantity.
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Re: Fat Mice

Post by sweetlings on Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:24 am

Thanks for your responses everyone! Definitely what I was thinking too, so I'm glad to have that confirmed!

River I have the same issue - their black and white cagemate from another litter is almost exactly half their size and eats exactly the same amount! Tiny little thing.

CallaLily I like your suggestion of scatter feeding. I already feed half their food in a tube puzzle some days but this might be a good addition!

CucumberMouse, good catch with the protein! I did notice this while purchasing the food but where I live there aren't a lot of options and this was the best pellet I could find (They're serial 'pickers' at any mixes or seed blends). I will keep an eye on it for sure though! i really appreciate you looking into it for me Smile

They're all running around in their out-of-cage playpen now hopefully burning off some chub, and I'll definitely be sticking to my usual feeding habits. Thanks again for all the helpful tips and input!
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