This article is from the WSSF 2015 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
Alicia Dunstan, Facebook
Q I have had two mice this year, one was a rescued feeder, the other a pet store fancy. Both of them itch like crazy. The first I took to an exotic vet on several occasions and he was treated with topical mite treatments and it seemed to work, but he passed away a few months later from a heart problem. My newest one is about 5 months now, and she has just started itching a lot too with the hair loss and a few scabs. Any insight into this? I change her bedding weekly, use Carefresh® Ultra, she has a very balanced diet, I even make sure they don’t eat sunflower seeds in case of an allergy. I hate to put my new girl through all of the vet visits my first went through but it is so bothersome to see the hair loss and think she is uncomfortable. Suggestions welcome!
A It does sound like she needs to see the vet and get treatment. Mites can come in on food and bedding so it’s recommended to freeze these items before giving them to your pets. It’s always best to treat everyone together when you see a problem and treat any new animals you bring in. Also, keep wild rodents away from your pets and their food/bedding as they can bring in parasites as well. We have several articles on the web site on Parasites/Scabs www.afrma.org/rmindexhealth.htm#medbugs that you can read more about.
Melody Gee, Facebook
Q Are there any articles I can read on rodent dermatitis? My two males (Phoenix and Pegasus; housed separately) died recently ($1000 later and two vets mis-diagnosing them that didn’t know much about fancy white mice) having severe rodent dermatitis. Pegasus looked rather healthy and then about a month later just broke out into open sores and such. They seem to inherent this disease and since my males died from this horrible disease, I would like to know early on, should my female Athena show any signs of it, how I can treat it. My other mice I think had mites (the vets here weren’t trained to handle fancy white mice), and they had open bloody sores all over their bodies, they stopped eating and drinking, lost so much weight, and then died. I brought them to two different vets, one vet gave injections, and gave me oral antibiotics, the other vet gave me anamox, Neosporin®, and vitamin E liquid.
Tanya Larry Reeder, Facebook
Q You have been such a great help with my boys in the past that I’m hoping maybe you have some more advice for me. Hopper has begun with OCD. The scratching is on his back, neck, and behind his ears. I have consulted everyone and anyone but haven’t found a single person who has had this issue. But through all the advice, including my vets, I have taken every precaution to prevent his itching. From ointments to allergy reasons, to it being stress and keeping him occupied. I finally ended up taking him for a skin scrapping . . . it’s clear. My vet is treating him with Tresaderm®. I believe it is helping, but then he has bad days too. Do you have any advice forme? I hate seeing him this way.
Taylor Authement, TX, Facebook
Q I have a question. My mouse has a few open wounds from scratching that I believe are attributed to nervousness. Is there anything that I could put on those wounds?
Answer to three questions:
A The itching could be caused by various problems. When a mouse scratches and there are open wounds, it can be from different things—parasites, an allergy to the bedding or food, a fungus or bacteria, ulcerative dermatitis or other genetic condition. Having a vet take a look at your mouse to determine the cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment would be best. Mice won’t scratch and cause wounds from being nervous— there is something there causing it to itch. Even though a skin scraping is clear, treating for parasites should be done. Try changing the bedding and food to see if there are any changes. The Fancy Mice Breeders Forum has someone telling about their problem with ulcerative dermatitis in their mice and there are many other posts about scratching mice.
The Frizzie mice can have what is termed
frizzie rot that is
Frizzie Rot; or check
the Health pages for other articles) where they scratch so much around their
face/head they get bare and bloody. And we have another article
on skin problems,
Mouse with Cuts on Back.
There are several articles on parasites:
Contagions Between Mice And Rats
Bugs on Mice/Mites; Ectoparasite Infestations in Rodents
And online are the following articles on dermatitis (and more—do a search for rodent dermatitis):
Mice and Rats As Pets
Veterinary Medical Treatment of Rodents
Commonly Used Therapeutic Drugs in Rodents
OAR Informational Sheet: Ulcerative Dermatitis in Mice
Diseases Of Laboratory Rodents
Basically, if the dermatitis is not from mites or an allergy to food or bedding, then the most humane option for the mouse is euthanasia.