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Mice/Spasms in an orphan mouse -- BETTER ANSWER


QUESTION: Two weeks ago, our cat brought in two mice, a male and a female,apparently unharmed.  They were still pink, with very little hair. At the end of the first week, we found the male dead,under the bedding.  The female is still alive, but has recently started what appears to be spasms when she eats. She will eat for a moment and then raise her head with her mouth open and shake. Afterward, she seems exhausted for a moment. This doesn't happen every time she eats, but seems to be increasing. Can you provide any insight into what's happening and what, if anything we can do about it?

ANSWER: Dear Don,

If she is aspirating some milk she may be gasping for breath. Is there any milk coming out of her nose? She may also already have fluid in her lungs and may already have pneumonia.

Baby mice are so very delicate that it is easy for something to go wrong. I am going to ask around to some people who have more experience with orphans than I do, and if I get a different answer I will add to this, and you will get an email telling you I have amended it.

I hope this symptom stops with a good result. I wish her the best.



PS although I answer tons of basic orphan and basic health questions, that is not my expertise. I have no medical training or experience.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So far, she's still alive. She continues to have the spasms or siezures. We're feeding her goats' milk and pedialite. She's in a terrarium with a heating pad underneath and soft cloth for bedding. We've reduced the amount we feed her at any one time, but have increased the frequency of feedings. We try to take her out prior to feeding to let her get some vigorus exercise. Is there anything else that we should be doing?

Dear Don,

The other mouse person I talked to agreed with me. I was hoping it was something else. But the little thing does have fluid in her lungs, and I'm afraid that does not bode well at all.

Orphans should always be fed every two hours.  I do not know how often you were feeding her. When they are very little, a tiny paintbrush lets them control the intake. If you ever see formula coming out of the nose, that means she is aspirating. But at this point she already has some in her lungs.

I wish her the very best of luck and health. I hope she is OK. Please, please let me know. It will help me help the next person. Use a follow-up question.




Talked to Tamarah, the other expert on here, and got a much better prognosis. The person I spoke to before basically said the mouse is going to die, which I didn't want to say right out (luckily, as it turns out). But Tamarah explains that if it were serious pneumonia it would be happening all the time, not just at meals.

Tamarah has two suggestions. First, when she is gasping, rub her ever so gently from abdomen upward to her tummy. She may even find this relaxing. Second, try changing the consistency of the formula. She wondered if it is either quite thin or quite thick, possibly leading to choking- - if too thin, she may be having trouble controlling the flow; if too thick, it might be sticky in her throat.

I am very glad to be able to change this answer. I do wish the little tyke the very best.




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I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: **** SEXING MICE: **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES:


I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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