Mice/At the end of my rope
QUESTION: Recently I adopted two baby mice est. age at about 7 days, both were apparently healthy (good size, active etc etc). One of them starting eating well but never pooped, no matter how long I stimulated his bum/tummy with a Q-tip. Eventually, 3 days after I got him (both his eyes opened around this time) he pooped like crazy, tons of diarrhea everywhere. Okay good I thought, he got it out of his system and now he can play catch up with his sister who by now was nearly double his size (they started out the same weight but his appetite sloped off after not eating well for those couple days. All was not well however, as he went back to picking at his food and down right refusing to nurse. I noticed that he was literally "blocked up" down there with a clump of poo's sticking to his bum. I softened it with water and removed it. He poo'd more and regained some appetite. Next poop it was the same thing. It's like he can't push them out beyond a certain point. He also goes back and forth from having normalish poops to mushy yellow ones. His bum almost looks stretched out. Everytime he eats now, I have to clean his bum up to prevent blockage. He's very thin and super dehydrated (I have him on Pedialyte and baby oatmeal mix for those times that he does eat). His sister is doing fine and hasn't "caught" whatever is giving him trouble so I don't think that it's a contagious problem. I've started giving him wet tail OTC meds from the pet store just in case and his poo's have become solider since but are still not exiting the building. I don't know if there is something internal going on or something I can do to help him, at least over the weekend until my vet opens back up. Thanks in advance for whatever input you can provide.
ANSWER: Hi Heidi,
I am sorry I couldn't help you with your question yesterday instead of today, as I had to ask around a bit to find how to best help you. Hopefully since today is Monday you have had a chance to get the little one to the vet and they have been able to help, but just in case, here is how I would proceed:
First, try to keep him on just the pedialyte. Gradually add in 10% kitten milk replacement, working your way up to half pedialyte and half KMR. I would refrain from the infant oatmeal for now, as our focus is keeping him alive, hydrated, and his digestive system moving normally, and the oatmeal is not necessary right now.
He should have his anal and genital region massaged (like you are stimulating him to go - gentle massaging motions like momma is cleaning him) before and after each meal to help encourage appetite and passing stools. You can also try gently massaging his sides and tummy before and after a meal - you can do so with your thumb and forefinger by petting from shoulders to hips. This should be very calming to him and will help him digest.
This does not sound to me like a disease that his sister could catch, but rather a physiological problem. I do not know what is in the wet tail OTC medication, so please discuss this with your vet as soon as possible to prevent accidentally making his troubles worse (for instance if it dehydrated him/his stool, making it harder to pass). There is something that happens in slightly larger critters called fecal impaction, where the muscles of the anus become stretched and weakened and they are unable to pass the stools that arrive there normally. These animals need help clearing their feces on a daily basis, but I believe it normally occurs when animals are older. I have no way of knowing if this is what has happened with your pup, particularly because I cannot examine him in person, but it may be worth asking your veterinarian if they think that may be possible. I have never seen it happen in mice, but I haven't seen everything! Your vet will be able to give a physical exam and rule out things like that, as well as testing fecal matter for parasites.
Please update me to let me know how the vet visit goes and how he is doing! Best of luck to you and him,
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QUESTION: Hi, thanks for getting back to me. I did manage to get him to the vets today and he has something called congenital megacolon. We are attempting treatment but the outlook and quality of life doesnt look great.
I'm so sorry to hear that. My thoughts are with the little guy, and hopefully treatment helps!
If you adopted from a breeder or shop that breeds mice, you may wish to let them know of his condition so they can be aware of it.
Again, my thoughts are with you both, and I am rooting for him! Best of luck!