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Mice/Injured Field Mouse

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Question
We found what we think is a field mouse lying curled up on our garage floor the other day. At first we thought he was dead, but when we picked him up to dispose of him he started to move very slowly. He stopped moving when we stopped touching him. He doesn't seem to be very old but his eyes are open. We put him in an old Altoids tin with a fluffy cloth nest in the middle, then put that in a small fish tank draped with an old sweatshirt to help keep it warm and dark. He slowly began to wake up and move around a little. Eventually he climbed out of the tin and started exploring the cage-at first we thought his back might be broken because he couldn't seem to move his hind legs, but gradually his quality of motion improved, though he still isn't walking right and doesn't move very much. We put out a shallow dish of water and some oats, but he doesn't seem interested. It seems like every time I check on him, he's asleep, but he is definetly still breathing. I'm not sure what's wrong, but I'm most worried about the fact that there still seems to be something wrong with his back legs and he doesn't appear to be eating or drinking. Is there anything we can do? I'm reluctant to disturb him because he doesn't seem to have very much energy at all and probably needs all the sleep we can get. Any advice you have would be very much appreciated. We think this happened because of a cat but we aren't sure-there are no external wounds.

Answer
Dear Isabel,

you need to nurse him. The two best options are kitten milk replacement or soy infant formula, both diluted by half. The easiest way is with a small paintbrush, though an older guy like him might be able to use an eyedropper or syringe. Get some pedialyte too.

His mom nursed him every 30 minutes. At his age you can get away with every 3-4 hours, after the initial period, when you should use 1/4 formula and 3/4 pedialyte and try once an hour for at least four hours to fight dehydration.

You may be able to get him to eat the formula as crisp bread soaked in it. But the formula will go bad and should be replaced after several hours.

Keep him warm too-- you can put a heating pad on low under a towel under part of his habitat. If he is not injured he will jump out of whatever you have him once he gains any strength back, so he needs to be in something with a lid - but a mesh lid, because even poking holes in something does not let enough air in. Even if he is injured he will drag himself out if he is in something small.

You may end up with a very sweet little pet. I hope he is OK. We have no idea what might have happened to him, how long it has been since he nursed, and whether ht has internal injuries.

Best of luck.

squeaks,

Natasha  

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Natasha

Expertise

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): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising **** SEXING MICE: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/sexing.cfm **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES: http://thefunmouse.com/info/index.cfm http://www.rmca.org/Resources/mousefaq.htm

Experience

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.

Organizations
I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

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

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