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Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

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Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by ChaoSile on Sat May 21, 2016 4:09 pm

Yuri, my 10 month old female mouse, seems to be heavily breathing. She'll be fine, but then suddenly just hunches over, breathing heavy. She also seems to be quite lazy, sitting in her "nest" unless she's eating or drinking. Of which, she eats and drinks just fine (But doesn't eat treats). I don't think I was changing the bedding enough (Twice a week, in a 20 Gal long tank), which I am now changing it weekly. So, could she have a respiratory infection from ammonia build-up? If so, how can I treat it? (I'm 15 and can't afford to take her to the vet, and my parents refuse to take her since "it's just a mouse, who doesn't live long anyways")
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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by scaredymouse on Sat May 21, 2016 5:16 pm

What kind of bedding are you using? Bedding needs to changed one a week. Sometimes breathing issues can be allergy related. Ammonia would not be able to build up that quickly in a 20g tank. Also, what kind of food are you feeding them? Is Yuri making any noises when he is having his breathing episodes? Does Yuri live with any other mice? And if so, are they having any symptoms at all?

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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by ChaoSile on Sat May 21, 2016 5:50 pm

I use CritterCare Paper Bedding. I feed her the Sunseed Vita Prima Parakeet Formula. I do not fully recall, but I think she'll occasionally squeak when she does. Though, that may be the sound of her breathing. She lives with 2 mice (Vorona, Anri), around 3 weeks old (All females), but they don't seem to have any symptoms.
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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by CinnamonPearl on Sat May 21, 2016 7:42 pm

I'm not entirely sure about Yuri's breathing, but I did just want to chime in to say this. It would be a good idea to not get anymore mice until either your parents come around or you have the resources to get vet care yourself. Lack of access to vet care for mice, especially pet types, is very dangerous and unfair to the poor little creatures. Keep your mice and take care of them as best as you can, but at this point, acquiring any more would be unfair to any mice you take in. Keep working on your parents to allow you vet care, because I guarantee with pet types you will need it at some point, or try and figure out a way to take them yourself. Sorry to be so blunt, but I just thought it was important to mention to you.

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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by ChaoSile on Sat May 21, 2016 7:48 pm

I understand that. On top of that, though, we still couldn't really afford the 70$. Though, I just contacted another vet to find out how much they charge.
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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by Soren on Sun May 22, 2016 12:06 am

I agree, it shouldn't be from the bedding if you change it weekly AND use paper bedding. Paper bedding is the safest where lungs are concerned. In addition, does she click or sneeze?
You can't be sure what it is unless you take her to the vet.

It's unfortunate that your parents don't see your mice as vet worthy. I really hope they come around.

But lets say she does in fact have a respiratory infection and you CANNOT take her to the vet, you can try treating her at home, but there is no substitute for seeing a vet. It MAY only help if she has a mild URI. If she had a serious URI (or something else making her wheeze), the only thing that will save her is a trip to a vet. This is what I do for mild URI symptoms, and it works for me. But if it'll work for your mice, I do not know. The best thing to do is take her to the vet.
First thing you need to do is quarantine the sick mouse, if it is an URI, then it is contagious. Put her alone in her own cage.  
You can go to a pet store and buy Tetracycline (Fresh water fish antibiotics). I don't know if major chains like petco carry it, I get mine from Kahoots. You can call around and ask.
Here's a picture of the one I buy. It cost me $12.95, however I don't know what it will cost in your area/economy.

The tablet form is fine to, you'll just have to crush it.
I mix the dust into her water, just enough Tetracycline to make the water slightly yellow, but still transparent. If it looks like apple juice, it's too much. If you put too much, your mice wont drink it.  Shake the water bottle until its well blended. Then wrap the water bottle in something opaque, like a paper towel, as Tetracycline is light sensitive, and will loose it properties. Place the water back with the sick mouse. I shake the bottle every few hours, as it gunks up and settles at the bottom. It needs to be changed (make a new Tetracycline/water mixture) every two days. I like to get a first dose into my mice as well. You can do that by adding a drop of water to some Tetracycline powder to make a paste. I dab some paste on my mouse's hip, and she/he will lick/clean it off. I also add 1-2 paste covered cheerios into their food bowl for that initial dose. You can try this for two weeks, and see if the symptoms subside.

Please note there is no substitute for taking a mouse to the vet. And the instructions above is what I DO, and it works for me, but all mice are different and it may not work for you. As the saying goes... take my advice with a grain of salt.

I wish Yuri the best.
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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by Artistwolf on Sun May 22, 2016 8:13 am

Wait, we never recommend that you separate the sick mouse from her friends—because they've already been exposed to it so it wouldn't do any good at this point. I don't think we usually recommend the tetracycline either, but I can't quite remember why not. I'll let someone else chime in there...

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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by MouseLover on Sun May 22, 2016 9:11 am

Wait... this isn't the pregnant mouse is it? Because if it is, the heavy breathing could be a sign that she'll be having babies soon...

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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by ChaoSile on Sun May 22, 2016 10:16 am

Yeah, in the past I had rats who had gotten a URI, and I was told to use the fish stuff for them. I'd like to try using the fish stuff, but would it hurt her if that isn't what she has?

Also, this isn't the pregnant mouse.

I'm selling something of mine and should get the money in at least a week. It'll be enough to take her to the vet.
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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by CinnamonPearl on Sun May 22, 2016 11:57 am

Oh, that's so good to hear, ChaoSile! I hope it all goes well.

I'm with Artistwolf. I remember an old discussion on TFM where we discussed tetracycline and decided against it, but I can't remember the details for the life of me. Maybe someone else will. Also, if you decide to use this method, I would recommend providing them two water bottles, one with tetracycline and one without. When their water doesn't taste normal, mice will often refrain from drinking, which is very dangerous for them as they dehydrate quickly. Sure, they might avoid the medicated water, but I think that's better than them becoming dangerously dehydrated.

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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by Soren on Sun May 22, 2016 2:58 pm

What are the cons of tetracycline? I haven't come across negative effects in my research, so I would like to know if it is more harmful than beneficial.
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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by Brynne on Sun May 22, 2016 4:50 pm

Our mouse expert, "Norman's Mom," said that it was dangerous.

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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by ChaoSile on Sun May 22, 2016 4:53 pm

I won't use the tetracycline unless the vet recommends it once I'm able to take her.
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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by CinnamonPearl on Sun May 22, 2016 4:54 pm

That's the safest way to go. Honestly, I've never had a vet prescribe tetracycline to any of my girls. Most likely they'll give you baytril.

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Re: Heavy Breathing (Possible Respiratory Infection)?

Post by boofandkara on Mon May 23, 2016 5:00 pm

I had a big debate about whether or not to take Boofaloo to the vet because of sounds he was making and how his nose seemed plugged. I eventually took him to the vet and the vet said none of that mattered as much as his heavy breathing did. He pointed out how Boof's have significantly more movement when he breathes than other mice and it looks like he is working much harder because his system is either stressed with a URI or he has malformed lungs. So he is on antibiotics. It has been very expensive. I called every place looking for lower rates, I asked about discounts, I asked about work trades, I called national organizations and asked for a grant, nothing. I finally took him out of my own pay check. When they told me that he probably has pneumonia, I cried, and they felt so bad for me they gave me half off the visit. I suggest you cry.

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