Enteritis ?

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Enteritis ? Empty Enteritis ?

Post by Wolfie65 on Mon 16 Mar 2020, 11:55 am

Scratch (male, PetSmart adoptee, possibly 5-6 months old ?) went to the VCA last Monday because he sat hunched over and squinty-eyed, sure signs of a sick mouse.
There really aren't ANY vets in my area who truly know what they're doing with 'exotics' (read: not cat or dog), the VCA is pretty much the only option, even more so on weekends, holidays or after hours.
He was examined by 3 people (!) - a burly nurse, a senior doctor and what I'm guessing was a doctor-in-training, all wanting a look at an animal they probably don't see very often - most people don't take mice to vets.
X-rays revealed nothing abnormal, diagnosis: enteritis, we got antibiotics (duh) and pain meds, 1 tiny drop once a day for 5.
All well and good until this morning, when I found Scratch almost lifeless and very cold in one of his hides (he was all kinds of lively just yesterday), I thought he was about do die.
After cradling him in my hand and blowing on him for a while, I prepared a hot water bottle, put it under my sweater and placed him on top of that.
He very, very weakly nibbled on some food (grains, puffed rice) and very, very slowly returned to life.
Got his medicine into him - now on day 8....-and massaged him.
Poop light-colored, almost yellowish, but not runny, no discharge, no sneezing or snuffling.
In cats, that would suggest rapid transit, malabsorption, possibly liver disease.
He does have a fairly prominent 'bony' spine, but a round belly.
He started to groom (good sign!) and his appetite picked up some more, ate about 1/4 of a peanut.
Made some echinacea tea, which proved to be a hit, he drank a good 3 or 4 insulin syringes full of that - probably a better antibiotic than the cream from the vet.
Also mixed up some kitten milk replacer with a tiny dab of honey, that went down well, he is now resting on my neck under the sweater.
I seriously doubt that another trip to the VCA would do any good whatsoever and I have very little hope of finding another 'exotic' vet who knows any better than they do (or me, for that matter....).
Over the years, and taking a wide variety of animals there, I never really got the impression that they know a great deal more about these animals than I do, the main difference seems to be that they have access to things like X-ray machines and drugs and I do not.
Any idea of what might be going on with Scratch?

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Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Mon 16 Mar 2020, 6:59 pm

Since the vet thinks it's enteritis, we'll start with that.

For a highly disturbed digestive system, it can be difficult to get nutrition through the inflamed intestinal walls.  You might want to try some meat and/or vegetable broth, no onion or garlic or fancy spices.  You can simply boil a piece of chicken, skim away the fat, and offer the cooled broth to Scratch.  Then finely mince some of the boiled chicken and offer him some.  Those plain little oyster crackers might also appeal to him, since not only are they easy on the tummy -- they are also the proper thing to eat with soup!

Offer dabs of pureed mouse-safe vegetables.  Just refer to the mouse-safe foods list on this site, and check what baby food vegetables are available at your grocery.  I remember sweet potatoes went over big with my little mousie April.

Porridge made from baby cereal powder is usually popular with mousies, no matter how puny their appetites are.  Rice might be best at this time.  Mash up a little ripe banana in it for extra flavor and nutrition.  If Scratch shows interest in just eating the banana plain, let him have at it.

A bloated belly, weight loss, and listlessness can also indicate an internal parasite load.  Was there a fecal exam?  If not, save some of Scratch's little poopies and contact the vets to ask if they think they should have a look -- and if not, have them explain the contraindications to you, so you turn it into a learning experience.  If you can see areas of pink skin, or if Scratch's eyes are pink, do they look paler than usual?  That would also be a sign of parasitic infestation, with the little bloodsucking stinkers causing anemia in your little friend.

Are there any bruise-looking areas around the belly?  Purple or blue or brown patches could indicate there has been an internal wound, and collecting fluids would be causing the belly to look bloated.  A mouse with an internal injury would be listless and lack appetite.  Unless such an injury heals itself spontaneously, it may not be possible to fix.

Finally, about hypothermia.  Mice have a very high surface-area-to-volume ratio, and the distance from their innermost parts to the outside air is very short.  Those two geometric facts, along with the relative hairlessness of their ears, nose, paws, and tail, can make it very difficult for them to recover from hypothermia.  In addition, they do not reason out that they need to take in more calories, and so eat more of the food they're given.  They just eat their regular amount and stay chilly.  So when my little April turned chilly three winters ago, I reasoned that I would have to add calories to her normal food intake volume.  I made her multi-grain baby porridge or buckwheat groat kasha, and stirred in a bit of maple syrup or honey before letting her have her food bowl.  By the third day, she was maintaining her body temperature again.  (She enjoyed maple syrup so much that the next time I made her porridge without syrup, she stared at the bowl, sniffed it forlornly, and then looked up to me with a look that said, as plain as if she said these words with her own mouth: "Where's the SYRUP?"  So I let her have some syrup in her porridge one more time.)  BUT one must be careful adding sugar to the diet of a mouse with an undiagnosed ailment -- something else to ask the vet about.

Also, make sure Scratch's mousehouse is in a warm (not hot) spot, no drafts, and provide either extra bedding or a mitten or a sock or something for him to crawl inside if he needs to.

Keep us updated.  We care.

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Post by Wolfie65 on Mon 16 Mar 2020, 8:15 pm

He's been eating today, sometimes normal, sometimes sluggishly - banana, kitten milk replacer with honey, some grains wheat groats, buckwheat, rye flakes, oats, etc. - drank LOTS of echinacea tea, there aren't any funny or discolored spots, sores, discharge or anything else externally visible that would indicate a problem.
His poops have gone from yellowish and fairly soft to almost normal, kept him on my person (lap or neck, under sweater) pretty much all day.
When I put him in his (very large) cage, he just sits there, obviously not feeling well.
I've left a message for the only local vet I trust, she doesn't do 'exotics', but knows what she's doing.
Many years ago, I was able to talk her into removing a tumor from the head of an elderly rat - which he actually survived for a few days.
We'll see if she wants to see a mouse.....or if Scratch is alive by the time she gets back to me.

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