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Mice/mouse allergic to cedar chips


QUESTION: Hi Natasha,

Recently I had to change bedding brands for my mice because the other brand I had been using had gotten to expensive to keep buying. I believe the old bedding had been care fresh or something similar and currently I am now using cedar shavings because my mom said it was cheaper and would last longer. Since using it though two of my mice have seemed to have some sort of reaction to it... the fur around one mouse's head has become patchy like she has been having some sort of reaction that makes her itch the area. Besides that she eats and drinks well. The other mice in her cage don't seem to be affected by it at all.

A different mouse seems to have one eye that gums up a little otherwise she is plump ad happy. I am also using a slightly different brand of food since my usual supplier had been out of what I usually buy at the time. Could they be having a reaction to the food as well? In case I forgot to mention but the bedding I am using currently is either a cedar or pine bedding.

ANSWER: Dear Dynal,

Even though pet stores sell cedar chips for rodents, it is absolutely terrible for them. The only wood chips that don't give them respiratory problems are aspen. You can get aspen in huge bags at Drs Foster & Smith. Considering it might last a single mouse a lifetime, it is very cheap.

This mouse seems to be allergic too. Thus I would expect the problems to clear up with the change. But if you do NOT see a clear improvement in 5 days you need to look a little further. It could be an allergy to the food, or it could be mites.  If it does not get better but does not get worse, test for allergies by removing the food and giving them just oats or just cooked brown rice for three days. If it gets worse at any point after the new aspen litter, or if it gets at all worse, write back and we will think about mites. It is important that they be dealt with if that is the case.
Go to the vet or contact me.

Best of luck. I hope the bedding is the only problem.



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

QUESTION: Thank you for your prompt reply Natasha.

Today was cleaning day for their cages so I used some spare money I had to buy a small package of Critter Care bedding (the brand of bedding I had been using before switching to pine) and completely changed their bedding to that. I am hoping that if using the old brand of bedding it will clear up both problems two of my mice are having. I will keep feeding them the food they have been eating in order to tackle each factor one at a time.

I was just curious though if it would be possible to trim a mouse's nails. I ask because one of them has really long nails and I am concerned that they might get to a point where they start to curl and might give her foot problems. I have never had this issue before. Is there a safe toy out there for mice that can wear their nails down naturally?

Hi again,

Some people do trim their claws. I would never try it. But if they are super long I guess it is easier-- depends on the mouse, really. You can just use regular nail clippers. Pull back on the toe to expose the nail.

To wear down claws, people put a brick in where they will walk on it, or even under somewhere that they have to go-- under the water bottle for instance, or on the way to the wheel. Of course it must be super clean. I recommend boiling it first.

squeaks n giggles,



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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:


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