This article is from the WSSF 2005 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Carmen Jane Booth, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Lynn Lehman, Racine, WI
Q About a month ago, an older female mouse living with her three sisters started moving around real slow and kind of stumbling. She’s very unsteady too. Do you think she may have had a stroke and could be paralyzed on one side? She sort of has her head to one side all the time also. I thought for sure she would die right away when I first noticed this change, but she seems to be doing okay.
A The clinical symptoms described for this mouse suggest an inner ear infection or primary brain lesion such as a pituitary mass. Knowing the age of this mouse would be helpful. If all three mice are stumbling, than an inner ear infection would be higher on my list. Mice with a head-tilt (torticollis) usually are found to have a bacterial cause. Diagnosis can be made by taking radiographs of the mouse and seeing changes in the tympanic bullae. However, even without radiographic proof, treatment with Baytril can be beneficial if the cause is suspected to be bacterial.
There is no current recommended treatment for brain tumors in mice.
Ronny Sugarman, Denver, CO
Q Can you use hydrogen peroxide on a mouse? One of my girls had a patch of hair torn off on a wheel or something, looks like she’s been scalped. I am going to give her baby amoxicillin for 2 days. Do I need to dilute the hydrogen peroxide with water?
A In cases like this, if the fur is removed but the skin undamaged, I would do nothing. If the skin is slightly scrapped, than I would not use any oral antibiotics. The use of Amoxicillin or any other oral antibiotic for 2 days just promotes the development of bacteria resistant to Amoxicillin in your mouse. The wound could be treated with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide or dilute Betadine solution applied with a cotton ball or Q-tip twice a day for a few days—the same way that you would treat a skinned knee or other minor abrasion. The hydrogen peroxide that you can get at the store is 3% and has already been diluted. It is important that neither hydrogen peroxide nor Betadine get in the animal’s eyes.
Kathy Cail, Louisville, KY
Q I am a high school biology teacher whose students are using mice in a project. One female albino mouse has a problem which developed 2 days ago. Her vulva is swollen, protruding, red, and slightly bleeding. She is eating normally and behaving normally. Is she in estrus? Or is there something else wrong? I have never had female rodents (always male). This seems to be the only place I can ask a question online.
A The description sounds like either a prolapsed uterus or prolapsed rectum depending upon if the person is correct in their anatomy. A prolapsed rectum is often due to pin worms and can sometimes resolve when treated medically for pinworms. A prolapsed uterus is a more serious condition and may require that the mouse be spayed as soon as possible. My suggestion is that this mouse should be examined by a veterinarian familiar with mice.