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QUESTION: Hi, up until recently I had 3 pet shop mice all under 6 months old. Last week the male, Oliver died suddenly (6am he was fine at 8am he was really cold and unresponsive, he was dead by lunch). Now Chocolate one of my (presumably) pregnant females back legs are splayed. She can still walk, but only just and it looks painful. Could it just be labour (even though theres no way she could be due until at least next week) or is she about to die of the same mysterious malady that Oliver died of? As a side note if this is just labour this is my and chocolate's first litter so im a little anxious.

ANSWER: Dear Kate,

The splayed legs have nothing to do with pregnancy or labor. Chocolate has to go to the vet immediately. In my limited experience and knowledge (I have no medical training) I can't think of anything that would both cause sudden death in one mouse and paralysis in another. My guess is that these are completely separate problems.

The death of Oliver could have been caused by something non contagious, like a stroke; but it also could be a fast bacterial infection. So the other females should go in as well.

My question is now if you are sure you want to breed. The problem with breeding mice is that since males often have to live alone, you end up-- if you have say 12 babies, half male-- with an extra six cages; or having to find six adopters. If you want more mice, and there are any private breeders near you, you should adopt some mice which have been carefully bred through generations for temperament and health (and probably beauty). Breeders breed as a hobby, and don't try to make money, so these incredibly special mice can cost as little as a $5 adoption fee. I am trying to make a list of private breeders, and if you tell me where you live I may be able to find one near you.

Another place to get pet mice is animal shelters. Often shelters won't know what to do with surrendered mice. I can also find you shelters near you, to call.

I hope Chocolate can recover. I had an incredibly special mouse named Chocolate when I was a little girl.

Squeaks,

Natasha







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

QUESTION: Thanks for the quick reply, but i don't think you could find me a list of breeders.  I'm in New Zealand, thanks anyways though. Also don't worry about any sort of over crowding, the only reason I attempted to breed in the first place was because we don't really have any non pet store breeders over here so i was breeding for some friends of mine iterested in adopting youger mice. Im taking chocolate and her sister Cinnamon to a vet in the morning, so far Cinnamon seems fine, and Chocolate no worse than before. I will let you know how it pans out. Also just wondering, before poor Oliver's sudden death he had been with Chocolate and Cinnamon for 2 weeks, would you say they are likely pregnant?

Answer
Hi :)

You underestimate me! Lol. I do happen to have collected one New Zealand mousery in a list I am making in my Facebook group Rats and Mice are Awesome (unfortunately, the Facebook name is only Rats are Awesome, but we definitely do mice).

http://applecheeksnz.weebly.com/index.html

Their Facebook presence:

https://www.facebook.com/AppleCheeksMousery

My group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RatsandMiceareAwesome/

Yes, the girls are probably pregnant :)

I hope Chocolate recovers.

Squeaks,

Natasha  

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Natasha

Expertise

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): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising **** SEXING MICE: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/sexing.cfm **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES: http://thefunmouse.com/info/index.cfm http://www.rmca.org/Resources/mousefaq.htm

Experience

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.

Organizations
I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

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

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