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Mice/Head tilt in mouse


Hi Natasha,
I have three female mice (all from a breeder) that currently share a cage. I noticed today that the youngest one tilts her head to the right. At first I thought there was something wrong with her eye but it's completely normal and so is her behaviour. She grooms, eats, runs on her wheel, all as per normal.
From some of your other answers I've gathered it's likely to a bacterial infection so I've separated her from the other 2 and they don't seem to be showing any of the same symptoms.
Sadly, my financial situation don't allow for a vet visit at the moment, despite how much I want to. Another downside is that here in Australia, tetracycline isn't available in capsules - only liquid and importing it in capsule form also isn't an option due to quarantine laws. I've looked on ebay but I'm a little dubious of the products there.
Is it likely she has an infection and if so, can I make use of the liquid tetracycline or is there something else that's better that I may be able to get in capsule/powdered form?
Thanks in advance

Dear Nina,

Head tilt in mice is usually due to either an ear infection, as you suggest; or a pituitary tumor, which is less likely in a younger mouse. It is important for her to receive antibiotics right away so that she does not sustain permanent damage. If it a pituitary tumor, there is nothing to be done without a vet with extensive experience, giving complex medicine, and costing you a lot. And even then, it only prolongs their life a bit. But let's continue with the assumption that it is an ear infection.

If you get the liquid tet you will have to calculate and use a small syringe to measure the right dose for the water. For the initial dose by mouth, it may be easier to dose if you mix it with some other yummy liquid first. The initial dose to get in her should be about 25 mg. with head tilt I would give her that dose once a day for three days, along with the water supply. Please remember that I have no medical training and am not a medical expert; I am telling you what I would do.

However, another, better,  option is to see what antibiotics you can get at a pigeon supply store. The one I recommend is amoxicillin.  I guess you would have the same problem getting that from out of the country as the tet, but maybe you have it there OTC. If you can't get it that way, you may have an OTC version for people. If you get the pigeon strength, the dose is best described as "a drop." This you would give twice a day, with nothing in the water. It is a far better choice than tetracycline.

The next to try if you do not find amoxicillin is enrofloxacin, or Baytril, which in this country is banned for poultry. Not because it harms the poultry, but because it may harm the person who eats the treated poultry. This is better for a UTI caused by myco, common in mice but which does not affect the ears; but it works against other relatively mild infections in the body too. Again, "a drop" is the best guide to amount.

If you can't get amoxicillin or Baytril, but you can get another antibiotic in a pigeon supply store, let me know what you find and I will see if I can find out if it is a good idea to use it and how.

I wish her the best of luck. I hope you can find something to get her better. If you can't, try contacting a holistic vet, if you can. I stumbled upon a holistic web site for rats, and I can send you there if you need help.




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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.

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

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