Lice > Rapid Breathing - Anemia/Iron Deficiency?

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Lice > Rapid Breathing - Anemia/Iron Deficiency? Empty Lice > Rapid Breathing - Anemia/Iron Deficiency?

Post by Akrasia on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 4:02 am

Hi,

One of our mice suddenly lost weight a few days ago. On close inspection, we found what we're pretty sure were couple of lice on her head, although there were no signs of excessive scratching. We've isolated her, and treated her with ivermectin, and her weight has stabilised at ~35g. We've also disinfected the tank and everything in it (which we do weekly anyway), and we're now baking this batch of Fitch bedding before using it (presumably that's the source). We think we've found lice on a couple of our other mice too since, although otherwise their health still seems good, so have now treated them all. Hopefully that means we're now clear of lice.

But... two days later the first mouse is still quite lethargic and breathing very rapidly. Is this a sign that the lice have made her anemic? If so, what can we do? We feed her mostly Science Selective, with sunflower seeds and dried mealworms as treats. Would some extra mealworms help to boost her iron levels? Or do the over the counter small animal vitamin supplements contain iron? Or is something else going on here?

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Post by MouseLover on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 6:41 am

Sorry to hear about your mouse. Unfortunately the only way to tell what's going on with her is to take her to a vet. I would do this as a matter of urgency, as lethargy and rapid breathing are really not good signs. She could very well be anemic, and it certainly won't hurt her to give her some foods that are high in iron until you can get her to a vet. Beef, fortified breakfast cereals, spinach leaves, anything high in iron and mouse-safe. I'm not sure how much iron is actually in mealworms.

The other possibility, which does happen sometimes, is that if a mouse is unwell any lice that they may have already had, become apparent. This is because a healthy mouse is usually very very good at grooming herself, and so she may have had the lice for a while, but you don't notice until she becomes ill and stops grooming herself as well. I have had this with a mouse that developed a tumour. When she was doing alright, she appeared not to have lice, but when the tumour took it's toll and made her lethargic (thus she stopped grooming properly) she "suddenly" got lice. So in a case like your mouse, it's not clear whether the lice made her ill, or whether an illness made her unable to keep on top of lice that she already had. Hope that makes sense.

I hope you find answers and that she feels better soon. Let us know how she's doing.

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Post by Akrasia on Wed 13 Feb 2019, 5:48 am

Thanks for the helpful response (and to whoever has changed the settings so I can now reply to topics in this forum). Sadly she went downhill again quite suddenly yesterday, and died early afternoon, before we could see a vet. I think she had a good life, but too short, and she'll be missed.

Thankfully there's no sign of any similar problems in the others, but we're keeping a close eye on them, and will be thinking through everything we do care-wise in case there's something we need to change.

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Post by MouseLover on Wed 13 Feb 2019, 5:56 am

Sorry to hear that Akrasia Sad mice are such fragile little things, it's just how it goes sometimes. When you think about all the lives a mouse could live... feeder mouse, lab mouse, wild mouse (only 5% of them reach their first birthday)... I think being a loved and looked-after pet is the best life a mouse could ask for, even if it was a short life.

Glad to hear the others are doing well.

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