Mice/Super sick mouse (more info)
QUESTION: Hi Natasha! I too am an avid rodent lover and of course began to panic when my favorite mouse began to show signs of a respiratory infection. I had a very difficult time finding a vet in my area who sees pocket pets and ended up having to tell them what I needed when I finally got there (baytril). Everything I have read has talked about liquid baytril in the water, however they only had tablets and had some difficulty figuring out dosage. They told me to crush each 22.7mg into a fourth of a cup of water and treat the whole colony (3 mice). And to do the same for my rats and hampster as a precaution. I was wondering if you have seen anyone use tablets before? I'm also worried that they will be reluctant to drink the water! Maybe I should mix something in to make it taste better? Any help Is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
ANSWER: Hi Jessica,
The vet told you to treat your rats and hamster because the mouse was sick? That seems to me to be overkill. And an extremely haphazard way of going about it... I would also be surprised if a mouse could infect a hamster. I guess you found a vet who was willing to see a pocket pet but had no training. :(.
Mice and rats (I have no idea about hamsters) always have a low quantity of a bacteria called myco, which causes respiratory illness. When it flares up, due to any immune stressor such as depression, age, other illness, stress, or exposure to another mouse who is actively sick, it makes them sick. This is what Bayrtil and doxycycline treat. At that point they can also get a secondary infection, which is best treated with amoxicillin. Sometimes a vet starts with one and waits to see if the mouse gets better; or depending on how sick she seems, just starts with both. Both are liquid and given by mouth or on a treat.
Assuming the mouse is not very ill, you are right that an experienced vet would probably just give her Baytril. However, putting it in the water is very inexact.
The best thing to do is probably to get the correct liquid Baytril. Is there any chance the vet you saw could get another vet to give you the correct liquid? or phone in a prescription somewhere? There are Internet pet med pharmacies such as Drs Foster and Smith, and I think, 1-800-PET-MEDS.
If that isn't possible, you can still get liquid Baytril 10% (enrofloxacin) without prescription somewhat "off the record." Baytril used to be available at pigeon supply stores for sick birds, until it became illegal to use it for poultry; but one store will still sell it to you if you ask for it on the phone. That is Jedd's Pigeon Supply, online.
I really recommend this over putting it in the water. Of course it may be a bit expensive to have it delivered right away, which can't be helped.
I do not at all recommend treating the rats and hamster. I don't recommend treating the other mice either, unless they show signs of illness. Remember, they all have myco, and so the more it is treated (or worse-- incorrectly treated) with an antibiotic like Baytril, the less likely it will be to respond when you actually need it to. If you ever put a rodent (or human, really) on an antibiotic for any reason, you must do a full dose for a full two weeks to guard against the problem of resistance.
Once you get the Baytril, just give her one drop twice a day. Scruff her and force feed it or put it on or in a treat. Liquid peanut butter is an option-- peanut butter must be liquid for rodents so they don't choke-- or perhaps on a piece of buttered popcorn. Whatever works for her.
In the day or two until you can get the actual liquid, the best thing wood be to do your best to mix a 10% Baytril solution with the tablets and filtered water, and use that temporarily, one drop by mouth twice a day.
It's so unfortunate that there aren't mouse vets in every practice! I had the immense honor of having a mouse specialist when I lived in Berlin.
If you are on Facebook, join my rodent group Rats are Awesome (mice didn't make it into the name but they are definitely a part of the group). We have a number of helpful people, most of whom focus on rats, but I have found an awful lot of rat advice works for mice too. The other mouse expert is also a member. Of course tell me who you are :).
I wish her the best of luck- as well as the rest of your menagerie.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
Thank you so much for getting back to me! I have contacted the vet again and am waiting for a response from them to see if they can get the liquid form for me. None of the other animals have any symptoms up to this point, but my sick little girl was very active most of the day yesterday and now is reluctant to come out of their mouse house or to eat or drink anything, I've even tried her favorite treats. Can they get much sicker so fast? I tried an eye dropper full of water. Should I maybe try kitten replacement milk or something to keep her hydrated until I can hopefully get my hands on some liquid meds? (I obtained her before her eyes were open so this is what I used when she was a baby. So frustrating!
Thank you again!
I SAW THAT YOU READ THIS BUT I WANT TO ADD SOMETHING. I got too distracted by the medicine issue.
The best way to help save a very sick mouse is to hold her still in your hands. I have held mice for over 12 hours and saved her from illness and from poisoning. It is both the warmth and the love. I hope you see this,
Yes they can get sicker fast. You now have a life or death emergency. She has a secondary infection and she must have amoxicillin as well as Baytril.
Although you can also get amoxicillin from a pigeon supply store, I think your best bet at this point is to go to one of the pet med websites and do what it takes (your vet will have to be contacted) to get both meds overnight mail. I am sure they are used to this. And do what it takes to make sure your vet Ok's the prescription immediately. I am glad your vet is at least cooperative about listening to you; hopefully they will also understand when you tell them a mouse person with a lot of experience has told you your mouse is deathly ill and this has to happen right now. Get online right now and find out what you or the vet has to do. If necessary, call them up to make it happen faster.
If your vet happens to know that some rodents can't have amoxicillin, such as guinea pigs and I think hamsters, reassure them that rats and mice are fine.
I am going to give you something in the mean time, if you can't get something today (maybe call around to other vets to see if they have any meds on hand right now). Go to your fish supply store or pet store and pick up capsules or powder of tetracycline meant for fish. It may be called Fish Cycline. Open the capsule and mix the powder with a drop or two of water until it is something like mustard. Now you need to get it inside of her. This is extremely inexact, but it has saved many, many mice. If possible you want to put it right in her mouth. You are going to need to scruff her-- hold her by the loose skin at the back of her neck-- in such a way that her mouth opens. And just put a dab, maybe 1/2 of a split pea size, in her mouth. If it would be easier, you can make it into a liquid and use an eyedropper. Then take another capsule, or 1/4 teaspoon of the powder, and put it in her large; or half that in her small; water bottle. The other mice will get it too, but we don't care about resistance to Tetracycline because you will not be using it again.
If you really can't get it in her, the only other way is to put it on her where she will wash it off-- but she might be so sick she does not even want to wash herself.
This is a a kickstart dose. Don't worry about over medicating. After that, the medicine in the water should be a decent dose. I know I told you that putting it in the water was pretty inexact, but this is now an emergency.
As soon as you get the better meds, you will give her a two week twice a day treatment of both. Again I am just going to say one drop for the amoxicillin.
As for getting liquid into her, the formula is fine; but even better is soy infant formula.
I truly hope this saves her.
From now on, owning rats and mice, you should have these medications on hand. There is a third you would have- doxycycline. I am not sure how much you can push the limits of this vet's cooperation, but the very best would be if you had a standing order for all three. However, it would not be surprising if the vet does not want to do that! The next is to either have the vet now approve extra of all three -- you must get the spare amoxicillin as a powder and not yet mixed, because the liquid spoils after two weeks. Even if you can't do that, you can get all three from pigeon supply stores. When you call Jedd's for the amoxicillin, ask about the other two. Sometimes they don't have all of their products online.
Here is all the info you need to get these and treat your rats; mice are almost the same except that where rats get doxycycline, mice get Baytril.
It is a wonderful website; and if you are on Facebook you can also join the Rat Fan Club, run by the same author, Debbie Ducommun. She isn't infallible-- and many of her doses are a bit higher than others, including vets, prefer. But she has saved my rats' lives many times.
Good luck and good health to your mouse and all of your whiskered friends.