QUESTION: Hello again, Natasha; I wrote to you once before about my two mice who had a URI. I'm pleased to say they both recovered from it (after a longer dose of antibiotics from the vet, as you suggested). Their names are Phyllis and Meredith, and they were joined in mid-February by their new cage mate, Angela. The three of them get along very well.
Over the past week or so, I've noticed a chirping sound coming from their cage (besides the normal grooming banter). After watching a few times, I've concluded that Phyllis is the one making the noise, and she definitely sounds congested. However, she is not sneezing (which was the first symptom of her and Meredith's previous URI), and she only seems to make the noise while trying to sleep. She is otherwise behaving normally.
The other two mice are not chirping, and none of them are sneezing. When they were sick before, both mice had the same symptoms. And it occurred to me that I first got Phyllis and Meredith in autumn and didn't have them last spring-- is there any way that this could be spring allergies? Would that explain why only Phyllis is showing symptoms of anything?
I have been doing the tetracycline trick as a precaution (in case it is in fact another URI), and I have tried dabbing diluted Children's Benadryl on Phyllis' fur to see if it helps her congestion when she licks it off. So far, she's still chirping.
So my questions are:
1. Is it possible that, since it's been a week and only one of the three mice is chirping, this could be nasal allergies?
2. If it were to be allergies, is there anything I can do to relieve the symptoms for her?
I'm prepared to take them all back to the vet, but I just want to rule out allergies first.
Thank you for your help!
ANSWER: Dear Luna,
Actually, I myself have almost never had a sneezing mouse. The usual symptoms of the mouse with a respiratory infection are chirping, rattling, etc. Sneezing is less common (but more obvious to people).
The chance is that she is sick, and it would not be a good idea to wait around and see. Benadryl is an antihistamine and if Luna had an allergy, that should have alleviated the problem. Respiratory infections (I was recently told not to call them URIs, which most people do, because they are often located in the lungs) can kill fast. So Luna should be examined by the vet. The vet should see the other two as well. There may be sounds audible to a stethoscope but not to your ear, which would indicate that one of them is ill as well.
Best of luck and health to them.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: The vet couldn't find anything wrong with Phyllis, but he gave me some Baytril just in case. He was more concerned with her weight! Apparently she is very big for a female mouse. I'm going to start giving them all more pellets and less seeds in their food mix and see if that helps. The problem is that they tend to pick out the seeds they want and then pee in their food bowl so I have to dump the pellets out. Smart little babies.
Anyway, thank you for your help, and I'll let you know if anything changes!
I hope the vet was either an exotics or pocket pets vet? Did they listen to her lungs with a stethoscope?
Anyway it is good that she is on Baytril. Make sure you use it absolutely for two weeks, no matter what the vet said :). Vets tend to underestimate, which brings more clients back later... I don't really think each individual vet thinks of it that way, but it works out that way. They don't really understand actually not being able to afford a vet.
Anyway, if after one week she is still doing it (you still have to do two weeks because otherwise her myco, always present, will develop a resistance to Baytril), we will think more about allergies. I don't want to test for allergies at the same time as the Baytril, since it does not seem to be a grave case.
If we need to explore the allergy component, wash everything in her cage with plain water, use only paper towels for litter and Kleenex for bedding, and feed her only dry oats or cooked brown rice, for three days. Make sure there is nothing in the air- incense, candle smoke, furniture polish, air freshener, hairspray, etc. Then decide if it helped, and write back to me. I will help you to reintroduce the normal elements of her life to test what the culprit was.
Squeaks and best of health to her,