hi.i have two pet male mice from past 1.5yrs.just 2 days back one of my mouse died suddenly.dint have a single sign of illness.he suddenly started running and then tried to open his mouth as much as he could (may be he was trying to breathe)for like 4 5 times and then just died.all happened within 5 mins.just want to know what happend to him.he bled a little bit from his nose.dont want to lose my other mouse.please let me know if he had any disease so that i can take care of my other mouse.thank you.

Hi Megha,

I am so sorry for your loss.  The gasping you are describing is common when passing on - it usually means respiratory distress like you mentioned (having trouble breathing, or wasn't getting enough oxygen despite normal breathing).  Sometimes it is part of a seizure, in which case he may not have felt anything or been scared, he would have just been reacting.  The blood from his nose may not necessarily be blood, although if it was, it could be a result of that same respiratory distress, or burst blood vessels from the activity and oxygen problems.  What it might also be is a substance called porphyrin, which is a reddish, natural excretion from the mucous membranes that is expelled when a mouse is distressed.  

The only way to be sure what exactly caused his death would be to have a necropsy and histopathology report done by a veterinarian.  Unfortunately, this can be expensive and needs to be done immediately after passing, or with brief refrigeration of the body.  I truthfully cannot guess if a disease was involved, but since he had no other symptoms, I would be very surprise if it was.  My best guess with what you have told me is simply old age - 2-3 years is a typical lifespan for a mouse, and even though you have only had him a year and a half, he was getting up there in age and I am not sure how old he was when you brought him home.  A sheer accident, such as choking on something, is another possibility.

I would keep an eye on your other mouse and give him a lot of special attention in case he needs to mourn his friend's passing.  If they shared a cage, be sure to clean it thoroughly and throw out any toys that might be absorbent, as well as give the bedding a good change.  Watch him for any clicking, sneezing, or wheezing when breathing, as well as keep a close eye on his stool, activity levels, and how much he eats and drinks.  If anything contagious is involved, it will show up within the first three weeks and you will be able to swiftly put him on antibiotics or get him to a vet.

Best of luck, and again, I am very sorry for your loss,


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I can answer questions regarding mice as pets, mouse behavior, color and coat genetics, breeding techniques, and general health questions. I can help with caging and setup, nutrition, social issues, and what to do in most mouse emergencies (such as unplanned litters, injuries, fighting, etc.). I can also assist with questions pertaining to orphaned mouse pups, weaning litters, and questions of mating and birthing. I cannot answer questions about exotic or wild varieties of mice such as spiny or pygmy mice. *****FOR EMERGENCIES, anything requiring immediate medical intervention, PLEASE take your mouse to a professional veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator who works with mice as soon as possible! IMPORTANT RESOURCES: Raising Orphaned Mice: http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm Orphaned Mice Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising Natasha's Your First Mouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share General Mouse Help: http://www.fancymice.info/ Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds: http://www.hiiret.fi/eng/species/


I have enjoyed the companionship of mice nonstop since 2004, and spent a year caring for them in a lab where I learned a great deal about their breeding, social needs, and health. I spent a few years breeding them, specifically working with albinos, marked mice, angora mice, and satins. My education never stopped - I am learning something new every day from current and well-established research thanks to the wonderful folks at the Jackson Laboratory, as well as from my wonderful mousey friends online. I also love learning from my terrific questioners here on AllExperts - you folks keep my passion for these amazing animals alive and well!

East Coast Mouse Association - expired, American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association - expired

Partial University for a B.S. in Microbiology, Partial University for a 2-year degree in Veterinary Technology (RVT cert), C.E. classes in pathogens, aseptic technique, genetics, and applications

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