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Mice/My mice are sneezing and making weird clicking noises


QUESTION: I just bought two female mice from a pet store and one of them has been sneezing (orange mouse/larger one) quite constantly while the other is making constant clicking noise (brown mouse/sounds like congested sniffing). I've been reading up on it online and Its seems like they might have a respiratory infection. I was hoping I could treat them using a home remedy (tetracycline) as I can't afford to take them to the vet and I rather not take them back to the pet store (as they most likely won't treat the mice). One of them is bigger than the other so I was wondering what would be the smallest/safest dosage to give both mice without endangering their lives? How long should I continue to give them the treated water? also what brands of tetracycline do you usually buy for your mice?

ANSWER: Hi Haleigh,

Yes, your little beauties are sick. You are right about the pet store-- many will just put them down if there is any issue at all. But please do tell them they are selling very sick mice.

If you are going to use the tetracycline, the dose in the water will be the same. Don't worry too much about the amount of the initial dose. Take about 1/2 a spilt pea and get it either into their mouths or on their fur.

Here are the directions for tetracycline, which you have already found, I am sure. You will have to use whichever brand your pet store has:

"Go to the FISH section of a pet store, or an aquarium store, and get tetracycline, sometimes called Fish Cycline.

"You are going to put some in her water bottle and try to get an initial dose inside her.  

"If you have the capsules, empty one capsule into a large water bottle or one half into a small one.  Shake extremely well.  If you have the powder,  1/4 flat teaspoon measure is the same as 1 capsule.  If you have the tablets, completely crush them into fine powder with the back of a spoon and use as powder.   This should be her only water source.  It's fine for any other mice to drink the water too, unless they are pregnant or nursing, so it is good that you have two separate cages. Cover the water bottle with tin foil,  because the medication is sensitive to light.  They may chew on the tin foil, because some mice love it. Don't worry about that. It's great for their teeth!  Clean the bottle and change the water every few days for 10-14 days.

"Next, take another capsule worth and mix it with one drop of water.  This will make a paste about the consistency of mustard.    You have plenty to play with, so if the mixture is too watery, try again.  Now pick up the mouse by the scruff of the neck.  This is the skin just behind her head.  This does not hurt her-- it's how her mama used to carry her-- but she will struggle valiantly.   Holding her gently but firmly,  quickly place a small amount, maybe 1/4 pea size, into her now open mouth.  This is hard.  Be careful of her nose!  Wipe a bit more onto her whiskers and chin.  She will ingest that when she washes herself.  If you couldn't get any inside her at all, wipe some more on her head and sides.  Put her back into her cage so she will wash herself.  Keep any other mouse from washing her, if necessary removing the other mouse for an hour."

Of course if they aren't getting any better-- after three days-- it is time to get better antibiotics. Hopefully this will do the trick.

Best of luck and health to both of them.



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

QUESTION: Hey Natasha I followed your instructions and I will be hoping for the best. (I have already mentioned to the petstore about the sickness they are carrying). I have not been able to seperate the two however as I currently have one cage, both are drinking from the same bottle. Is this all okay? I wasn't able to get the tetracycline paste in their mouth, just on the chin. What's the best way to get them to ingest it? Because they are putting up a great struggle as I hold them. Also is there anything else I can do to help them recover?

ANSWER: Dear Haleigh,

Even if only one were ill, you would not want to separate them. The water is the same strength; and even healthy mice are fine with it. No problem.

Yup, some mice just aren't going to let you scruff them. Make the paste just a little more watery and wipe some along their backs and sides. They should lick it off.

You don't have to worry about  overdosing them. Antibiotics aren't very dangerous.

I sure hope this takes care of the problem. Let me know!



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

QUESTION: I had another question on giving my mice the tetracycline, so do rub the paste on them once a day for 14 days ?
Also it doesn't seem like my brown mouse is eating  much, if I sprinkled some food around their cage would that encourage her to eat more?

Dear Haleigh,

I don't make that very clear-- thanks for pointing it out!

You only do the paste once, as an initial kick-start dose.

If she isn't eating, try buttered/salted popcorn, fried bacon, LIQUID peanut butter, cheese, crackers, pretzels, corn chips, etc.

Best of luck : ))




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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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