Mice/Very sick and itchy mouse
QUESTION: I have written to your site before regarding mu fancy white mouse. You suggested we give the 8 in one for the scratching due to mites. He was at the vet, was put on baytril and pred, but didn't respond as fast as he could have. we then took him in for the injuection and for awhile he seemed to improve slowly, not much, but slowly. But the scratching continued and he scratached part of his ear off. I immediately ran him to the vet yesterday, he gave him another injection, continue the baytril and gave me ointment to put on the back his ears to stop the itching and prevent infection. He was eating last night, playing, drinking his water, a slow progress. He had lost weight since the onstart. This morning I get up to check on him and he's breathing seemes short, lethargic, won't eat, very weak, I got some water with an eye drop down and he just wants to sit in his house. He doesn't fight me as he used to, he used to be very aggressive and rambunctious. Please help me, we had a blizzard and there are no vets around, what can i do in the meantime, I am a huge animal lover and been crying since this morning, he's my little boy and I have had animals all my life. I can't seem him like this, please help me.
ANSWER: Dear Marianne,
Poor little thing. Maybe your vet doesn't know that you can give Revolution to a mouse. You probably know the stuff from your other animals. The 8 in 1 is one of the best things you can do for mites without a vet, but the vet should have given him a better treatment. When you go to the vet please ask if you can have a kitten dose of Revolution, unless they have an open container. He just needs a drop, in the back of his neck, directly on the skin, lightly patted to make sure it is on the skin and not just of the fur. This will kill anything that bites him for a month.
It is hard to know what is making him sick, but when his immune system is compromised due to the mites, many other things can set in. When you see the vet, please ask them to put your mouse on amoxicillin for a secondary infection. Baytril is for myco, a disease that mice get often. But he is super sick and so we know he has a secondary infection. (I am wondering if you have the right kind of vet -- an "exotics" vet or one trained on "pocket pets"? ) He needs the amoxicillin AND the Baytril.
As for today during the blizzard, all you can do is keep him warm, warm, warm. You say he usually fights you- if this means he doesn't like to be held, then leave him alone. But if he loves you and likes to be held once you have him, simply hold him in your hand or under your shirt for as long as you can. This might sound strange, but it can save his life. And put a heating pad on warm, under a towel, under *part* of his cage/nest. This is so he can escape the heat if he needs to. A hot water bottle can work, or in an emergency a bag of frozen vegetables heated in the microwave. Of course, not where he can chew it.
The only other thing you can do now for his illness is put sugar in his water. It will give him extra energy.
Although I want the vet to give you Revolution, the itching might not be from mites. One other common cause is allergies. So at the same time as you are setting up his cage with the heating pad, I want you to wash out the cage with no soap, give him almost nothing but paper towels as litter and bedding, except since he is sick you can give him a nice warm piece of cloth, and feed him only oats or only cooked brown rice (and his sugar water). And then make sure there are no toxins in the air-- hair spray, furniture polish, glue or paint, incense, air freshener, etc.
You may not know whether it was the hypoallergenic situation that eased the itching, or the Revolution, if he does get better-- but for the moment who cares... His health is most important. Assuming the scratching stops, you will then reintroduce the various parts of his normal cage, one by one, waiting two days between, to see if the itching starts up again after something is added. No blocks yet: use a seed mix and add only one kind of seed at once.
So remember as soon as possible, vet: amoxicillin and Revolution. Oh, the vet might also not know that amoxicillin is fine for mice. Because it is toxic to guinea pigs and hamsters, some vets assume it is to mice too. It is not.
To tell the truth... I would put a mouse that sick on Baytril, amoxicillin, and doxycycline. But the vet may think that is overkill.
And keep him warm, love him if he likes it, sugar water, and make his cage hypoallergenic.
Write back if there is still a problem after doing all of this, or you have more questions, please feel free to write back. We can explore other possibilities such as OCD or another skin problem.
Best of luck and health to him.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your quick response. I knowit sounds silly because its "just a mouse", but my love for animals goes beyond the human heart. He likes small pieces of cucumbers, which he is not eating, I can feel the bones in his rib cage and I am still using the baytril. I asked the vet for the kitten dose of revolution, but he gave me animax ointment applied 3 x day for 10 days. He likes otameal as well, and sesame seeds, I am just beside myself myself, i'm crying, he used to be so playful, couldn't wait to get out of the cage, i keep the cage clean, and with soft bedding, he'snot hiding in his house. He has soft blankets that he loves to cuddle in even when I hold him and I had to "tame" him from biting. Now he's ok with it. I can't stop crying, he just want to sit in his house, I will try the sugar water, but like I said, it's hard getting him to eat or drink anything now. What am I supposed to do now? He looks so sick, I am so heartbroken. Myh other mouse had it first but had the injection, baytril and pred. Now he's a meatball! LOL Plese helpp me, i don't want him to die and I'm afraif he will. Had animals all my life and it doesn't get easier at all when you lose them. He's so tiny and fragile now. Thank you so very much for caring, for your support and understanding and your advice and if there's anything else I can do, short of a miracle, please please please help me. Thank you and God bless.
Without extra medication (amoxicillin), there isn't a lot you can do besides what I have already suggested. Keep him warm, love him if he likes it, and feed him sugar water through an eyedropper or syringe without the needle. I wish I could give you something else. You may not be able to save him. You need to get him to a GOOD mouse vet right away when the snow clears.
Your vet is not very knowledgeable if he thinks animax ointment is a substitute for Revolution. Revolution is an internal anti parasitic agent. Animax ointment is an external antibiotic and antifungal agent. There is no comparison. The animax ointment is probably a good choice to try on the skin to see if the problem is not allergies or mites. But it will not help with allergies or mites.
Unless this vet is ready to take suggestions, it really seems you need another vet. Is this one trained in "pocket pets" or "exotics?" if not, quick, find one who is. If he is.... Maybe you can find a better one.
As for trying to give him suggestions, please tell him I have no medical degree but I have experience with hundreds of mice, and work with people who have experience with thousands more; and of course I have my own excellent rodent vet who advises me too. Even if he thinks they will have no effect, beg for the Revolution and the amoxicillin, saying they can't do any harm. These are incredibly basic and simple remedies.
But I can't give you anything more for tonight and tomorrow. I am sorry. Because I have antibiotics at home, I would be able to deal with it. But before I had a source, I was as lost as you with a mouse that sick. I would just hold the mouse for 12-24 hours in my hand and, well, they usually got well, even when poisoned. I have lost very few mice to illness. It is almost always curable with love and antibiotics.
There is one thing you should know. If it is in his lungs and he begins gasping or clicking, he needs a steam bath. You will fill the bathroom with steam with the shower on as hot as it goes. Then he should be held close to the steam but not to get wet. He must not get wet. You might be surprised at the struggle he may put up, so hold him gently but firmly. He should breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes.
NOTE if he is really on the verge of death this may kill him due to stress. It would only be a half hour or so off of his life. But if he is savable at all, this will help. Only if he is gasping or clicking. Then you would be super, super careful not to let him get cold afterwards.
For the future, you want to have the important antibiotics on hand. If you have mice or rats, it is best to have their most common medicines because they can't always make it to a vet. The main antibiotics to get are Amoxicillin and Doxycycline, both of which you can get at any pigeon supply store; and Baytril (enrofloxacin) which you can only get from Jedd's Pigeon Supply (look online) if you telephone them. Best not to say it is for a mouse...
When you have these three on hand, I can help you figure out the doses for another time.
I am so sorry I cannot give you a miracle. I like to think there is a Mouse Goddess I can pray to.