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When solutions are problems in disguise.

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When solutions are problems in disguise.

Post by moosticks on Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:24 am

I spoke to a vet yesterday who suggested Collegno's frequent and unusual droppings could be due to parasites. They told us to bring in a fecal sample today and they'd test it and let us know by this evening. Having spent a massive chunk of my day organising this, they've now told me that they have to send it off as their in-house person is on holiday this week (something they neglected to mention at any point until they called me an hour ago), and that it's going to cost loads more to do it! They were also incredibly unapologetic in regard to their mistake and the inconvenience it has caused, so I told them where to shove it and have contacted another vet. Mad

Having spoken to this second vet, she seems to be of the opinion that the investigatory approach is probably going to cost far more than what a lot of people would consider reasonable to potentially get a list of what it isn't. We're talking £70-ish ($94) per test, with no guarantee any of them will even turn anything up. She said it all depends on how far we want to go/how much we can afford to spend (which honestly, isn't very much being a full time student and all). She said in this case my options are:
1. Keep my three new mice and my two old mice quarantined forever.
2. Have her put to sleep (on reflection I have no idea what this would mean for her cage mate).

It was hard to hear this second option, because I kind of feel like a vet's job involves saving animal's lives and looking after their health at any cost(!!!!!), but...I don't know. That's probably unreasonable of me. I guess she's seen it enough times before. Regardless, if we don't know what's wrong with her but I can't afford the tests, which is more cruel; putting her to sleep when there was potentially nothing life-threatening or painful, or keeping her alive when there is potentially something very wrong with her?

The issue with option 1 is that I literally don't have *anywhere* to keep the other two if I can't bring all the mice together eventually. I originally moved them in to my bedroom last week to begin quarantine, but they disturbed my sleep too much. At the moment I have turfed one of my kids out of their bedroom. This will only work short-term, and I haven't got any space anywhere else. Worry

I'm currently awaiting a phone call from the new vet giving me a break down of all the tests, prices and timescales, etc. I really love my new mice, but I regret getting them. We tried not to rush into getting any more after Tremolo died, but I thought I was doing a good thing seeing as Pizzacato and Collegno have been bickering a lot. Now I feel like I've failed five mice (six, if you include the deceased Tremolo). I just wanted to have some easy, small pets that the whole family could enjoy, but now I'm fraught with anxiety about them so much of the time. Sad

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Re: When solutions are problems in disguise.

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:56 am

Don't let this get you down.  Tough times always look better after you have vanquished them.

In science, there is a sort of rule that, in the face of many possibilities, you should start working with the simplest one, and hope it works so you don't have to complicate things unnecessarily.

So first, for little Collegno, is there any change for the better?  If so, I would say to continue as you have been doing, and maybe a good veterinary option will come up so you can take her in for a just-to-be-sure check up.  Meanwhile, for your own safety, you might want to wear gloves when working with her and her housing, and keep everything especially clean.

If Collegno is still in digestive distress, then perhaps now is the time to convert to a "hospital" tank set up, to make it easier to clean and easier to monitor strange things happening (or appearing) in the mousehouse.  To avoid adding more stress to the equation, you can convert in steps, rather than all at once, but don't draw it out for too long.

Also, introduce a bland, non-fatty food option, such as:  some plain (not flavored) powder or flake baby cereal, prepared with water that has been boiled first (to remove chemicals).  I would even go a little farther, and prepare it with a not-too-strong ginger tisane (tea made with ginger only -- nothing else) instead of plain water, to see if they will eat it.  The moist food will help to make sure they are staying adequately hydrated, and the ginger might do a little anti-inflammatory etc. work.  Don't deny other food -- just offer the "gruel" by itself to see if they will eat that first.  (My little mousie could just eat that stuff all day and all night!)

Great -- now I want a cup of ginger tea ...

For a treat, offer a fingertip-dab of non-fat active-culture yogurt.  I've read that vanilla is used in the lab, but peach was a favorite around here.

Watch for physical changes, such as bloating/swelling, discolorations, weight loss, or a strange smell.  Watch for behavioral changes, such as excessive scratching. lethargy or other change in activity level, sleeping in strange places and at odd times, a strange look in her eyes, or aggressiveness/passiveness/jumpiness that is not like her normal self.

Be sure to keep notes so you won't forget anything when you visit the doctor.  The lab tech from the first place will be back next week, right?  And, as usual, best of luck to you and your entire mouse colony.  I saw your new little girls in another thread, and they are lovely.

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Re: When solutions are problems in disguise.

Post by moosticks on Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:47 pm

@MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop wrote:So first, for little Collegno, is there any change for the better?  If so, I would say to continue as you have been doing, and maybe a good veterinary option will come up so you can take her in for a just-to-be-sure check up.  Meanwhile, for your own safety, you might want to wear gloves when working with her and her housing, and keep everything especially clean.
Unfortunately there is no change for the better. We thoght it was getting better, but then it went back to how to was. Using gloves is a good idea, though. I will sort this out asap.

If Collegno is still in digestive distress, then perhaps now is the time to convert to a "hospital" tank set up, to make it easier to clean and easier to monitor strange things happening (or appearing) in the mousehouse.
I don't know what this would involve? Shocked

Also, introduce a bland, non-fatty food option, such as:  some plain (not flavored) powder or flake baby cereal, prepared with water that has been boiled first (to remove chemicals).  I would even go a little farther, and prepare it with a not-too-strong ginger tisane (tea made with ginger only -- nothing else) instead of plain water, to see if they will eat it.
Intriguing, I will investigate!

We have been doing/looking out for the other things on your suggestions. She has had a bloated belly twice, but not currently, and not for maybe a week now. But the jelly-like poos do rather smell. We'll be taking a sample to the new vet for testing tomorrow.

I saw your new little girls in another thread, and they are lovely.
Thank you, I think so too! I just hope Collegno isn't contagious, because even though we are doing everything we can, I'm still so worried we'll make them all sick!

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.

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Re: When solutions are problems in disguise.

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:16 pm

You are welcome.  It's not a problem.

To make a quick hospital tank, remove the litter bedding, wash the inside with soap or vinegar (and water too), and line the floor with full sheets of paper towel.  Provide torn up paper towel or tissues (as clean bedding) and some sort of nesting box or hut.  Any of the furnishings that come out of the tank have to be washed and dried before putting them back, including the running wheel or saucer.  New cardboard tubes and clean plastic containers are also fine for play material.

Getting the bedding out will make it easier to monitor any weird things coming out of a sick mouse, and it will be easier to clean up soiled areas.  Don't be surprised if the little smarties figure out they can chew holes in the paper towel floor covering, start tunneling around under it, and then start trying to pull it out from under things.  Many were the times April woke me in the middle of the night wrestling with her base paper -- CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK! ...  A while later I'd see she had pulled it all out from under her food and water dishes and made a paper towel yurt in the middle of her house, under which she was now sleeping on the bare acrylic floor.

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Re: When solutions are problems in disguise.

Post by moosticks on Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:57 am

I will switch to this set up today. I wonder how long until they destroy the place! Is it best to limit the number of toys and furnishings so it's obvious what's happening in there?

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Re: When solutions are problems in disguise.

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:45 am

If one of the tank residents has parasites or a virus or whatever, it would be difficult to avoid having the other affected by now, so whether they sleep together or in different sleep-n-hide huts probably won't make a difference.  Even if you gave them separate sleep-n-hide huts, they might decide to both cuddle up in the same one anyway.  But one hut is easier to keep clean than two.

If there is any item they are particularly fond of, like a hammock or a ladder or a hamster tube or whatever, then let them continue to have use of it.  It must be cleaned first, however, so they may not enjoy having their lovely scents deleted from their special object.

As for toys, you don't want to make the tank residents feel deprived.  Boredom/unhappiness can have a negative effect on health too.  Setting up the hospital tank was precautionary -- to make observation easier and to make hygiene easier to maintain.  It isn't intended to be the cure, although sometimes a good scrub of the mousehouse resolves whatever the problem was in the first place.  So let them play -- it can be a way for you to watch for changes from their usual (pre-sickness) behavior.

I hope all the little mousies are doing well today.

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Re: When solutions are problems in disguise.

Post by moosticks on Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:56 pm

I set Collegno and Pizzacato up in a hospital-style tank yesterday. They actually seem to love it! I don't know if it's the extra paper towel to destroy, or the fact I created a puzzle maze from two packs of puzzle playground and put the sputnik on the floor for the first time ever, but they're loving it in there!

The vet got back to me with test costs (astronomical). She suggested we treat them both for parasites and monitor for a week, before paying out loads ofr a test, only to have to pay out for the same treatment in a few days time. Made sense to me, so I treated them last night too. Now..... we wait!

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