Mice/Mite treatment and allergy test for scratching mouse
QUESTION: My sons mouse eats, plays and sleeps well but he has scratched his neck raw and his ears off. We give him an oil bath and changed bedding. We even puck out the sunflower seeds and peanuts from his food. Can't afford a vet but what meds can I use on him? Sincerely a concerned mom. P.s thanku for your time
ANSWER: Dear Rosanna,
I am glad you thought of allergies. You tested for the most common ones; let's assume for now that he doesn't have allergies.
Without going to the vet, who could diagnose something rarer than mites or allergies, you are going to want to treat for mites.
You can't see mites. In fact, all mice have a few mites all the time. They only flare up occasionally, usually due to some depression of the immune system (other illness, age, depression, stress) or exposure.
If you had gone to the vet and they had diagnosed mites, they would most probably give the mouse each a drop of Revolution, which just goes on the back of the neck, nice and easy; and stays in the blood, killing ectoparasites, for a month. Very easy.
However, you may still be able to use Revolution. Although it is prescription only, you may find a vet who will let you have a kitten dose without prescription; or you may be able to get a vial from a cat or dog owner. All you have to do is put one drop on the back of the mouse's neck, gently rub it into the *skin* not the fur, and don't let it wash itself for ten minutes. Super easy.
If you can't get Revolution, treating for mites is less easy, but still possible. You will need to get a flea and tick spray from the company 8 in 1 (there may be other sprays as well, but this is what my breeder does and I used to do too). The following post is from a time before I knew Revolution could be safely used on mice, so the only option I offered mouse owners was the spray:
Please read my instructions carefully. If you have more than one cage of mice, you must treat them all, and clean all cages as I describe. Another pointer I have learned since I wrote this: if you have anything you can't wash but don't want to throw away, such as wood, you can freeze it for two days to kill the mites.
Don't worry if the scratching becomes worse soon after treatment. There are a bunch of wiggly, dying mites on him! If this gives the poor mouse no relief at all after 4 days, it is time to think about more subtle allergies.
Then you will take him and put him in a water-only-washed cage, with paper towels in the bottom, and either only oats or only cooked brown rice to eat. If the scratching subsides, you have found the problem-- in a very vague way. It is time to find the actual culprit.
You are going to introduce each element of his life back slowly, one or two (depending on how hard you want to work when the scratching starts again) things every three days. Start with the bedding. Then along with the oats or rice you will add just one of the kinds of seeds from the mix. This will be a job for your son's small hands, to separate the seeds. Before you put the seeds in, rinse them off with water (they can dry on a paper towel). Near the end do the corn-- a very common allergen. And never give him any raw peanuts. They contain molds, which can be toxic to mice.
If none of this does any good, and you followed my instructions to the letter, write back and we can rethink. You can also consider anything near the cage such as air fresheners, hairspray, furniture polish, glues, or other airborne chemicals.
Best of luck and health to the little guy.
squeaks n giggles,
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: If I try the flea spray and changing his diet at the same time, will that be to much at one time for our lil Tubby? Is it dryor cooked oats that we give him?
I don't see why not. In a mild case one sometimes wants to know what the problem is, but he is really in a bad way already. Sure, do both.
Use dry oats, like the kind you make oatmeal out of.
I wish the little guy lots of luck and no more itches!