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Mice/Male mouse with Broken leg


QUESTION: Hello, I have had my male mouse, Mickey, for a little more than a year now.. We went to feed him tonight, and noticed he wasn't moving to his food dish as usual, so we pet him until he finally moved, and he was dragging his right leg behind him. I also noticed his tail is not moving.. The other leg seems ok, but i am not sure since it seems he can only move when he is really digging with his front legs.. I took everything out of his house, made his food and water easily accessible, and he seems to be content.. Will this heal on it's own, and if so, what steps do i take from here?

ANSWER: Dear Garrick,

Mickey should go to the vet. It is not clear if he has had a physical leg injury, a spinal injury, a stroke, brain tumor, or some other reason for paralysis. The most important thing may be to know whether he should be being treated for pain; and some of the above possibilities may be at least partially treated.

Bring him in right away, poor little guy. He needs to go to an "exotics" vet or a "pocket pets" vet.

If he remains paralyzed, you need to watch his eating. If he can't eat his seeds, you may need to go to softened foods, or even feed him by hand.  You may have to wipe the urine off of his belly several times a day with a warm washcloth. Give him fleece for bedding, so that there is no issue of litter sticking to him if he is soggy, or being uncomfortable.



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

QUESTION: Unfortunately There is no vet around that will see him.. I don't think it's anything other than a broken leg because he can move around, its just that on leg that drags behind him. I even saw him itching with the left leg this morning.. When i got a good look at the leg it seemed red like it was inflamed.. I wish we had a vet here that would look at him.. I feel so bad for him..

Dear Garrick,

Then what you need to do is alleviate his pain and reduce the swelling. You need liquid children's ibuprofen. You want to be pretty quick, considering the amount of pain he must be in. Give him one drop of ibuprofen every six hours. After a day, if the swelling is not going down, up the dose to two drops. The one drop should alleviate the pain, but the higher dose is for inflammation.

You may be able to get the ibuprofen in him by soaking a piece of salted and buttered popcorn. That is pretty much irresistible, unless the medicine tastes bad. Another option is to water down some (commercial) peanut butter, so it doesn't choke him, and mix it in that. That will mask the flavor. If you can't get him to eat the medicine, you will have to scruff him-- take him by the loose skin at the back of his neck- and put it in his mouth with an eyedropper. You really, really want to avoid this because it would be so easy to hurt his leg.

He should be in a one level cage. Take the wheel out. Try to figure out how he broke his leg and remove the danger.

Once it heals, however it heals, he may or may not be able to use it. Although it is worse to lose use of a hind leg than a foreleg, he should get used to having three working legs. Once he is healed enough to run around, he should have a solid plastic wheel like a Silent Spinner, because he is going to be clumsy at first. We don't want his leg to catch and hurt him far worse. Wait to see how he is at climbing over objects before you give him a multi level cage if he has one.

I wish him the end of pain and a speedy recovery. Poor little tyke.




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I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: **** SEXING MICE: **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES:


I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

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B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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