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Mice/recuuring ailments and tetracycline


QUESTION: Ok, so I'm fairly certain my sick mice that I came to this site for before are a lost cause at this point, but I'm also fairly sure that they're sick with a respitory infection. I have a lot of new mice(1 week) and the issue is, that I was an idiot and introduced the sick and healthy mice, so now my other two females have begun, minorly, to sneeze and cough. I'm not sure if I should use tetracycline on them and definetly don't know how much to give them per ounce of water. My water bottle I believe is maybe 10-12oz but it doesn't say, sooo...I've changed their bedding to a dust-free paper bedding and eliminated corn from all of their diets due to unspecified allergies(skin) in one of the sick ones. One of my new mice also has rapidly changed in physical appearance and weight, possibly at fault of bullying.she is lethergic and acts sick, but doent sneeze or cough, and what is most horrifying is that she is terribly, terribly thin, although her coat isn't very roughed up, so to speak. I'm not sure what the problem is, but she won't eat very much, and I think she is in pain (she hunches her back when she walks and half-drags her hips sometimes,(meaning her hip joints aren't moving but her knees and hocks do)) sometimes she'll squeak, but she's almost always very quiet and hides all the time. I have no idea how old she is, by the way. Thanks!


This link has the instructions for how to give tetracycline, and will work for your water bottle size:  All of the mice should receive the tetracycline to be safe.

The mouse who has suddenly lost weight should be separated immediately and given the tetracycline as well.  The condition you are describing can result from several different things, and a vet may be the only way to be sure, but if bullying is a factor this is something you can help with.  A serious respiratory infection can also cause this appearance, as can major stress, old age, internal problems, parasites, or diseases, severe dehydration, and many others.  The most important thing is that she is kept comfortable and able to reach her own sources of food, water, and medicine, separate from any mice that may be giving her a hard time.

I hope I helped, but please let me know if you have any other questions, and hopefully these guys start feeling better soon,


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

QUESTION: Ok, so the afore mentioned seriously ill mouse died :( as did my pregnant female due to birthing complications, but now despite adding tetracycline to tha water the remaining female is not getting better, though she isn't getting worse either. I added 125mg of tetracyline to the 12 oz water bottle to dihlute it(I didn't go to the site aforementioned before I added it by its directions) should I up the dosage and quarentine her? Oh, and my remotley healthy mice have a confounding habbit; they twitch and shake their tails(only 2 so far do this out of 4) is that normal? My male does that too. Anyhow, thanks a lot!

There are different formulations of tetracycline, so the only way I can guess at a dosage is through the instructions I linked you to prior.  If you are using a different type, such as that meant for larger animals like at feed stores, the dosage may be different and you would need to consult a vet for help.  However, since she is not responding and it has been a few days, your best option all things considered would be to visit a veterinarian who works with pocket pets for a more targeted, specific antibiotic that will work faster.  Tetracycline is a great drug, but it is a very general antibiotic, and many illnesses may be resistant to it.

Quarantining may help her stress levels if she is being messed with in her current cage, but any and all mice exposed to her or the previous ill ones need to be on medication, regardless of if they have begun to show clinical signs.  I did not realize you had a pregnant mouse, so just in case you have others, do know that tetracycline is not safe for pregnant or nursing does, or juvenile mice (younger than 6-8 weeks).  For these mice, a vet will need to help you find the safest available drug to prevent clinical signs and respiratory damage.

I'm not sure what you mean by tail twitching - if they are just moving their tails it may be a learned habit that is just fine.  Mice pick up tricks and habits from each other all the time - I used to have one mouse that would circle around on the top bars of the cage upside down, and each mouse that I put with her would eventually learn to do the same and teach all the others.  At one point I had a room of upside down mice!  However, if they are buzzing them very quickly against something hard in the cage so that it vibrates and makes a rattling sound, this can be a warning to other mice to back off.  Mice will generally do this if they feel threatened, such as if games or chasing have been taken a little too far.  Since it can be a sign of stress, I'd recommend changing the cage dynamics (either who is housed with whom, or the sorts of hides and toys available) to prevent actual fighting or stress on immune systems.

Best wishes!


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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: Orphaned Mice Videos: Natasha's Your First Mouse: General Mouse Help: Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds:


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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