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Post by Lexi468 on Sat 21 Mar 2020, 10:29 pm

Hello!
So I am the animal caretaker at a small locally owned pet store in the US. Most of the animals we sell are rescues, and we recently got a mouse that seems to be missing half her face. I took her her home to better care for her and because I didn’t think she would get sold, and I have a lot of questions. Apparently she came in with another mouse cage mate, and the animal manager assumed that her cage mate had chewed half her face off, although the woman that owned her before said she did it to herself. Her eye still seems to be there, just very sunken in, and her ear is gone. After reading through this forum, I discovered that she very well could have done this to herself, since she was eating oxbow food, which could have caused a hot spot (right?). So although I have her on oxbow now because that’s what she was eating at the store, I will switch her tomorrow. However, I was wondering if I should get her cage mate to be with her again, or if the mate probably did chew half her face off (I know hamsters do things like this, not sure about mice). I have also not seen her scratch her face once since I’ve had her home, but did witness it once very briefly at work. I should also add that I’m just guessing she’s a female but she’s less than a year old, and she seems healthy other than being a little unsteady on her feet. She’s eating well though. Thoughts?

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Post by Robin~ on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 7:08 am

Hello!

Would you mind saying which Oxbow food you’re feeding? The Adult Rat food is actually pretty ok, but the Young Rat/Mouse food is pretty high in protein.

However, I wouldn’t pin it on protein right away—I know it’s a bit difficult right now, but I would try to see a vet to rule out mites/a fungal infection, which can also cause irritated skin.

Unless the pairing is really bad (as in, the girls are fighting constantly), I doubt the other mouse caused this. Most squabbles only get to a small nip at most; never to full-blown ears coming off. If her companion is happy with her, I would keep them together unless you figure out the injury is caused by mites/ringworm which are very contagious.

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Post by Lexi468 on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 1:25 pm

So we do treat for mites as soon as an animal comes in, so she’s definitely been treated for that. Maybe she had them with the previous owner and was treated at some point, and that would explain why she’s not scratching anymore?
I’m feeding the oxbow garden select mouse and young rat food, which is what the previous owner was feeding. The protein is 18%.

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Post by Robin~ on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 1:44 pm

That’s cool that your store does that!

Yeah, 18% is a bit high for most mice. Generally you’ll want to stay below 14%—Oxbow Adult Rat is a great pellet to use as a base but it’s still a bit high in protein (15%) and pretty bland on its own, so most suggest mixing with a diverse bird seed or allergen-free (common allergens include sunflower seeds, peanuts, and soy)) hamster mix. I personally use Sunseed Vita Prima Parakeet.

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Post by Lexi468 on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 7:05 pm

I just bought some Lafebers Rascaly Rat nutriberries. It’s a new food at my store and all the ingredients and protein looked pretty good. Minus the carrageenan and beet pulp. What do you think?
P.S. You have been really helpful.

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Post by Robin~ on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 7:26 pm

Happy to help Smile

I’ve never seen them used before but they look pretty nice, just a little expensive. My other main concern would be the amount of sugar—there’s molasses, beet pulp, corn syrup, maltodextrin... it’s really a lot more than most pellets would have, so keep an eye out for weight gain.

Carrageenan is just used as a thickener, and beet pulp is a sweetener/natural dye (so if the urine looks a bit tinted, don’t worry, beet sometimes does that depending on how much of it is in the pellet).

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Post by Lexi468 on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 8:17 pm

Okay I’m realizing just how bad she is the longer I have her. She seems to actually be completely blind. She has some type of thickening/growth over her other eye. She could also potentially be neurological, as when I put her on the floor she leaned heavily into her left side and walked in circles a bit. Does this happen commonly with overbreeding? I know it does with dogs. She seems to tire easily and sleeps a lot. She doesn’t use her wheel either. So it seems she’s either much older than six months like the girl thought, or she’s just comes from bad genes. I “showed” her the water bottle last night by tapping it to make the water come out and make the noise so I know she knows where that is. Could that be a reason for the other mouse to attack her? Or maybe she really did do that to herself because it’s disorienting?

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Post by Robin~ on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 8:24 pm

Circling can be a sign of an ear infection, but also could be something neurological. Best to see a vet so if it’s the former it can be treated. I haven’t heard of it in terms of overbreeding mice but if it’s common in dogs it’s likely the same in mice.

Exhaustion can also be a sign of illness, but some of my girls are just naturally more lazy and don’t run/come out as often. Again, best to check with a vet if possible.

Did the other mouse attack her? Is she still with that mouse?

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Post by Lexi468 on Mon 23 Mar 2020, 8:42 pm

I don’t know if the other mouse attacked her. The previous owner said she did it to herself. When we got them in we thought the other mouse did it to her so we separated them. She’s been fine without her and the other mouse is acting normal as well (she’s still at work). I don’t think it’s an ear infection. I am pretty sure she’s just neurological, or it’s because she’s blind. Either way she seems happy.

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Post by chiroptera on Tue 24 Mar 2020, 12:51 am

@Lexi468 Hi! Robin's given you a lot of good advice already, but I just wanted to add a few things.

First off - I had what's called a "waltzing mouse," a mouse that walks/runs in circles. What my sweet, dear angel Trouble had was neurological, so it's very possible that this is, too. Especially since she's missing her ear, which means it's very possible that there's inner ear damage as well, which could affect her balance. If she's able to get to her food and water, she can still live a happy life, although it's very possible that she will die earlier, as mice with neurological conditions tend to be more susceptible to other issues. Still, I wouldn't count her out yet. Trouble was my 'heart mouse,' and she was the sweetest, loveliest mouse I've ever owned.

If you can get her to an exotics vet that's had experience with rodents, please take her in. But, with everything going on right now, and considering how she's a rescue, I know it might not be an option. I think it's very possible that it was mites, hot spots, or allergies, though if she's been treated for mites, and you don't see her scratching anymore, that could very well have been the cause. Or, depending on what bedding she was on and what she's on now, she might have had an allergic reaction to that.

I really, seriously doubt that the injury is from another mouse - assuming that she, and the other mouse, are indeed female. Have you double-checked? If the pair was a pair of males, then I would say fighting is definitely a possible cause. Males can and will fight each other, often to the death. If you're not positive, feel free to post a picture of her genital region and someone here can help you out! (Also, feel free to post pictures anyway, we love mouse pics!! Wink) Also, is her former companion with any other mice right now, or is she alone? If she is, has she fought with any of her new companions? If your little zombie IS a female, I would definitely introduce her to either her old cagemate or some new ones once she's feeling a little bit better, as female mice will get stressed when they're on their own.

As for blindness, I wouldn't be too concerned about that. Mice rely very little on sight, much more on scent and hearing. Many mice can lose their eyes/sight without much of an issue.

As mentioned, I wouldn't use Oxbow Garden Select - not only is the protein really high for mice, and I believe there's a lot of Timothy hay (could be wrong), but I've also found that none of my mice (or even my roommate's rats) really like it? They kind of absolutely avoid eating it unless it's the only thing they have. I personally use Science Selective Rat mixed with Vitakraft parakeet seed, flax, barley, rice, and sometimes oats, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and dried pasta.

Hope this helps!

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Post by Lexi468 on Tue 24 Mar 2020, 9:00 pm

You are all so helpful!
So I noticed today that she is scratching at her other eye today. I am going to bring her back into work tomorrow to treat for mites (apparently this wasn’t actually done, even though it is protocol). I will also treat her cage mate and the hamster that came in with them. I have other exotics so I am familiar with treatment and my vet is closed right now anyways. I know from experience that if it’s neurological there’s not much that can be done about it. She is still eating the oxbow food because I don’t want to change too many things at once for her. Her poops are a little distorted and discolored from the oatmeal and seed mix I’ve been giving her. She tires so easily that I’m really hoping it’s mites and can easily be fixed. Once she is doing well again, I will reintroduce another female or her cage mate if she’s still available. I will also purchase some parakeet seed from work. I don’t think she uses her wheel. Is that okay?

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Post by chiroptera on Wed 25 Mar 2020, 2:01 am

Definitely get her treated for mites right away, in case that is the cause (or even just contributing). I would be careful about the Oxbow, in case the protein is the problem, though if you mixed it into some of the parakeet seed that could help to lower the protein, without completely changing her off her food. Then after a while, remove the Oxbow and replace it with a different type of pellet/lab block.

If she has a neurological condition, she might not use her wheel, and I wouldn't really worry about it. You may want to offer her a flying saucer wheel - Trouble didn't run on a wheel very often, but when she did it was the saucer, rather than the silent spinner.

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Post by Lexi468 on Wed 25 Mar 2020, 8:51 pm

Okay will do. I picked up some parakeet seed today and got her treated for mites. I’m really worried about her. She has some loose stool from the diet change and I can’t tell if she’s drinking from her water bottle. It doesn’t seem like she is, as the water level hasn’t gone down from what I can tell. But when I offered her some from a syringe, she wanted nothing to do with it. She seems very exhausted all the time, and really can barely stand. I moved her food bowl closer to the water bottle and her house so that she can access it easier, and spread food around the whole cage just in case she’s walking around and gets tired. I’m hoping that she’s just seeming so bad because she’s adjusting to a lot of new things at once. Maybe having her mate back would perk her up? I’m just worried about adding the mate back while she seems so unhealthy. I just don’t know how the previous owner didn’t notice how bad she was doing. It makes me worry that I’m making her worse.

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Post by chiroptera on Fri 27 Mar 2020, 5:33 am

I don't think you're making her worse - she came to you in a very bad situation, and you're doing the best you can for her!

For now, I would probably hold off on reintroducing, but if it's not too scary/stressful for her, give her a lot of one-on-one time with you to keep her company.

One mouse drains a water bottle very slowly, so it may not look like she's drinking. But, you can also offer a bowl of water if you haven't seen her drinking from the bottle, in case she can't use the bottle for whatever reason.

I think you just need to give her a little bit of time to adjust, and hopefully you'll start seeing improvement. But if not, know that you've given her your best. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to do much for them, and it seems like you've been given a very tough case to try to work with.

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Love remembering: Trouble, Yahtzee, Checkers, Mahjong, Clue, Pumpkin, Peebee, Jay, Sid, Zola, Caramel, Hazelnut, Thyme, Olive, Popcorn, Shelley, Frida, Dragon, Beetle, + Pancake
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