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Mice/Bloody eye, bruising on mouse after stroke


Nilla Bean\'s Bad Eye
Nilla Bean's Bad Eye  
Nilla Bean
Nilla Bean  
QUESTION: I have 2 mice, an albino named Nilla and a grey mouse named Mellie. Both are female. We had 4 but lost one to pneumonia and the other is unknown (she never grew and was never more then 16g. We got her because we thought she was sick and the pet store did nothing to help so the next day we went back and brought her home.)
We've had the mice for 5 and a half-ish months. On June 29th I got a call from my sister while I was grocery shopping that Nilla was not moving, eating or drinking, and that something was very wrong. I had checked in on them earlier before I left and they were both fine so I figured the eating or drinking might be a little much because they don't eat all that much and they were eating earlier before I left. Sorry this is so long, trying to give as much back story as possible.
Anyways, I get home and my poor Nilla Bean wouldn't move. She laid in my hand and if she needed to adjust herself she scooted a few millimeters and always kept her head down and her belly down and her legs almost splayed. Her left eye was black (she has pink eyes) and was bulging with slight red around it. It was to big for her to blink with it. Their is blue-ish bruising on her skin around the eye (only on that half of her face). She was breathing fast and she only walked in circles and didn't use her front left paw. I tried to get ahold of my aunt who's a vet (on vacation though) and couldn't get ahold of her that night so I contacted all the vets in my area within a 100 mile radius and all of them were either not open, only specialized in dogs and cats, or told me they were booked...who's booked at 7:30pm at night?!
So, bawling my eyes out I held her, and talked to her and tried to keep her comfortable as best I could as I was almost positive my little baby was going to be leaving me soon. I stayed up all night with her in my hands to keep her warm, constantly watching to make sure she was still there.
To my surpise and complete amazement (and thank goodness) she stayed with me all through the night. When I finally got ahold of my aunt, she told me it sounds like she might've had a stroke but she couldn't be 100% positive without seeing her and even then she was a dog/cat/eguine vet. She said if it was a stroke, to give it 4 days and if she isn't doing better then we needed to look into it. She also told me their was a chance she was now "disabled". I can live with a disabled mouse, as long as it doesn't hinder her from doing what she loves. She fought all through the night, I owed it to her to give her a fighting chance.
Nilla still refused food and water and I knew she was losing weight and had little energy from this so I looked it up and bought some kitten milk replacer (I knew it helped babies, I just wanted her to have some sort of food and hydration). She got it the night of June 30th (I know that's a long time to go without food but everything around me was closed).
I have fed her every 3-4 hours and I make sure she eats as much as possible which lately has only been 1.5-2ml and I doubt that's enough. Her weight before this was 26g which for her made her look perfect. Not to big, not to small. Now she is 23g before I feed her and afterwards is about 24.5g. She;s in her own cage away from Mellie and it has a heating pad under half of it to keep her warm and a pouch for her to sit in something soft. Because she didn't move hardly at all or very fast I didn't want to risk a shallow dish of water for fear of her drowning and I know she's to low to get to a water bottle.
I have pictures of the first night when we realized she was sick and I have videos of her progress after multiple feedings all taken on my phone as proof she is doing better. It's been (as of July 2nd late at night) 3 whole days and she has progressed in leaps and bounds. In 3 whole days she went from unable to eat and drink, clean herself, and hardly moving and fast breathing to eating more then before (about to take on cheerios soaked in her kitten milk replacer) she can now clean herself from her paws to the base of her tail without losing her balance, she now sits up all on her own and even tonight she was walking around all over the table. She has regained the mobility of her front left paw and has made me one proud mouse mom. But her eye is still black and still bulging and it doesn't have a red discharge anymore but theirs a small very faint red ring around her eye from when it did. She still cannot blink with that eye and the bruising on her face is still there. I believe she is blind in that eye and I'm not sure it can be helped but the bruising worries me ALOT!! When she is in her cage (where I put her after feedings when she's tired) she still circles until she realizes theirs nothing around for her to hit (at least I think that's why she circles though it might be something to do with her ears as before this her and Mellie both itched their ears like crazy) however she did move out of her pouch and moved under it earlier today. She crawls in her cage though, not walking like she was on the table.
My question is (though this is extremely long and I apologize in advance, if you've read to this point, you are my hero) should I go to the vet over the bruising around her eye (we can't exactly afford it but I'll find a way)?? I know her eye itself is bad and I am worried about it too but I was told to wait 4 days and she will improve and she has but it's been her mobility and appetite mostly, the bruising has me concerned it could be more then just the eye being tender.
I included pictures and I wish I could show you the videos, I'm not sure how to do that though.
Have you ever seen this happened? Do you think it's a stroke? Should I go to the vet? What would you do? (the main questions)
Thank you for helping me in advance. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!!

ANSWER: Dear Jayme,

She has to go to the vet right away. Unfortunately a dog and cat dog has no way of knowing how delicate a mouse is. These two links should help.

I have no medical training, and can handle basic mouse health questions by myself and more complex ones with the help of some rat vet tech friends. I have never heard of this happening with a stroke (it was definitely a stroke). But it isn't completely bizarre, knowing that a stroke is usually from a blood clot in the brain area, and bruising is from tiny  broken blood vessels. And that might well cause the eye as well, since the pink of the eye must be from the blood. I wonder if it is possible that the blood clot by the brain was caused by whatever caused this terrible bruising rather than the other way around. Could she possibly have fallen? I hate to ask, but if this is a little sister, is it possible she might not have told you if little Nilla Bean had fallen when she was holding her?

It is wonderful that she has regained some of her function after the stroke. One way to get liquid into her without her falling in is with wet fruits and vegetables. I recommend cucumber, especially the wet middle seed area. Watermelon is a possibility, though you have to watch whether her poop gets soft. And for right by her nest when you are away, so it doesn't get soggy, a piece of celery.

Try to keep her clean. You shouldn't use any soap near her eye, but a little warm water on a Q tip will help. You can try a dry soft flat bristled toothbrush on the rest of her and see if that is enough, or if you have to wash her a little. Don't immerse her, and stay with her in a hot, dry room until she is dry.

Is it possible to put her back with Mellie? Some mice will take care of a sick friend. Right now she (and Mellie) are in solitary confinement when you are not there. She needs to be well emotionally as well as physically. It will give her more of a will to live. It has been your attention that has kept her going thus far. Love makes a big difference in mouse health. And so, crucially, does warmth, so you have done exactly the right thing. She would be dead now if you hadn't.

Do get her to a vet as soon as possible. I have no idea what the vet will say. Please write back and let me know. I hope to never see this question again :( but if I do, it would be very helpful to me to know what your vet did.

I hope she is ok and has enough quality of life to be happy. If she is 'simply' :( disabled, she won't be sad about it. It will just seem like that is what happens in life.

Best of luck and health to her. She is very lucky that she has such a wonderful mouse mom.



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

Nilla Bean\'s mohawk smile
Nilla Bean's mohawk sm  

Nilla eating in the big girl cage
Nilla eating in the bi  
QUESTION: She's my older sister (she's 19) and I know she would tell me if she dropped her by accident but her boyfriend on the other hand would deny anything without being caught. He was actually the one that noticed her in the bottom of the mouse cage and told my sister and when I questioned him he said her eye was already like that when he found her but the cage is not very tall and even if she climbed to the highest point (up above in a tube tower) she has never ever had a problem with the tube tunnels before. When I first got there and he went to hand her to me she was very jumpy and flailed around but I'm sure she couldn't see and was probably hurting and shocked by everyone touching her in her sensitive state.
Quick question, I have read some where that celery is to string for rats. Is it different for mice because I have celery in the fridge and will GLADLY use it haha :)
Today Nilla refused her kitten milk so I tried her regular food and she apparently has many surprises up her furry sleeve because now she eats some of her nornal food in Mellie's cage. When I put Nilla back with Mellie just for a fewminutes I realized the food bowl is to high for her to climb over and the water is pretty high too. She is hanging around the cage, not walking around much. Mellie climbs over her a couple times and she has stopped to groom her a little but mostly Nilla just kind of hangs out. I will be making adjustments to the cage if she does stay in there with Mellie but I've heard some mice reject other mice that they precieve as ill and though she's getting better and I don't think Mellie would do that, I'm not sure I want to risk it yet. The cucumber idea is perfect!!
Their are also tubes on the sides of her cage that lead to a tower and I'm not sure of she can get into it but I know she wouldn't be able to go up and I worry road runner mellie might use her as a stepping stool haha she means well and I love her but she's definetly the more adventourous go getter type. I was also wondering if I should put nillas fleece pouch in the cage for her and mellie to cuddle up in?? Half the cage will be on a heating pad again if I do this. I'm pretty sure I'm going to either later tonight or tomarrow. I want her to be ok walking normal before I set her in there and right now she is walking good but she's just starting to put her hind legs under her body and hasn't lifted them all the way up when she walks (sorry if this is confusing. When I watch nilla and then watch mellie its more obvious that nilla walks a little different.) I got a few good pictures of nilla last night with a mohawk and it shows both of her eyes and an almost smile on her face (she's so cute when she does that).
I'm going to make an appointment for the vet office in bothell as my vet near here has admitted to me she doesnt know much on mice past upper respitory infections. I'll be taking both girls because I'm almost 90% positive mellie has an upper respitory infection too and both I think need  to be treated for ear mites and then of course get nilla seen. Hopefully they will have good news! Keep you fingers and paws crossed for us :)
Thank you so much for your advice, quick response and tips!! Definetly helpful!! I'll keep you posted on how everything goes :D
Oh one last question. The other two mice that passed have been gone for almost 3 months and the other has ben gone just over a month. Their cage isn't very big and by a cage calculaters standards can only hold 2.9 mice. I know mice should be kept in groups of 3 or more but I have been putting off getting another friend for them to greive and deal with a mite problem that had begun 2 weeks after the last mouse passed (all cleared up now). I want to wait until Nilla and Mellie are treated for ear mites, uri, and nillas eye/stroke but when should I get another friend mouse for my girls?? Should I wait until my girls are better before buying another mouse and quarantining it?? Should I even get another mouse if my cage only fits 2.9 mice (this was after we had bought the four mice. We later tried to convert a bin into a mouse cage but the cats would stand on the edge of the cage to tip it and then would push it around the room...they are evil little monsters but loveable nontheless).
Thank you again for your help. I know it sounds bad that I have already battled mites and now they have ear mites, a uri and have had a stroke. I leave them with my friend for one week (who had told me they had experience with mice) and I come back and the cage was a tornado and hadn't been cleaned since the day I left, food was almost gone and their water was very low. She told me sorry but she left them to go camping (which if I had known would have asked someone else who was open to taking on the mice). I was furious but forgave her afterwards and ever since the symptoms of the ear mites and the uri were popping up. I know the stroke was not her fault and maybe the mites aren't either but I'm pretty sure I read some where that leaving the cage dirty like that can cause a uri...right??
I know I shouldve paid closer attention to who I was leaving my girls with.
My sister has made a vacation for July 9-14 and could possibly go on through to the 18th of my mom and other siblings are going. I'm not leaving nilla in this state with anyone so I was wondering what should I pack for her and should I take their normal cage or the slightly smaller one nilla has been staying in (taking mellie too because tthat's way to long to leave them)?? I already have heating pad, water bottles (to freeze and put next to the cage if it gets hot), emergency kitten milk incase she decides not to eat (and everything to go along with feeding), her pouch, (cage already has a wheel for my wheeler mellie) and a water bottle (potentially more if its really warm). we are staying in a cabin- like house on a resort (I like tent camping but that'd make it more difficult) so I won't be gone for long amounts of time. No longer then an hour at most before coming back and checking on them. Is this ok to take them??
Ok, that was the last question haha thanks again for all your help and advice. You are mine (and Nilla Bean's) hero!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Jayme, Nilla Bean and Mellie Bellie.

Hi Jayme (and Nilla Bean and Mellie Bellie if they are looking over Jayme's shoulder),

I am very glad you found a good mouse vet. Rats can choke on the string in celery but mice are too small for that (rats seem to choke on all sorts of things; I have never heard of a mouse choking). So it is fine for them. My breeder leaves celery in the cage if he is going away for two days, just in case the water bottle sticks. I leave two water bottles in every cage at all times.

Your cage is only big enough for 2.9 mice.. I don't know where you are getting your cage calculator, but my guess is it is less than it should be, it sounds to me like you have an itsy bitsy cage. How many mouse lengths are there? Is this one of these (dreadful :( ) ovo cages? I don't recommend anything smaller than 20 gallons for 1-8 mice, though 15 is not so bad. They share space but they each need space to move. My breeder uses smaller cages but then, his mice are so sweet/uncurious at this point that they barely even walk around ;). In my profile on this site you will see there are some urls which you have to cut and paste into your browser address bar. One is a video I made called Your First Mouse, which addresses cage types. [The video quality (camerawork) is horrible :) but it was the second time my partner had used the camera... The first was a mouse intro video which is only on my Facebook page :).] You will see a large cage I made from a large bin.

I am also afraid to put them into a cage with tubes above because she might get just well enough to try to climb... But not well enough not to fall. You need a different, single level cage with nothing to fall from. Yes, give them the pouch. Mellie will probably like it. Don't give her a choice; if there are two nesting areas, they might separate. I have also read that sometimes a rat will reject a sick rat and maybe even attack it, but for a mouse, rejection would only mean not sleeping in the same nest. That is what you would watch for. Nilla needs Mellie. And Mellie needs Nilla. A doe mouse (or any rat) alone, when you are not there, is in solitary confinement. But definitely no new mice with little weak Nilla.

Yes, a dirty cage is full of ammonia from their urine, and definitely causes respiratory problems. But again, if they are in a cage so small that it is actually gross in a week...

They may go camping but for the ride they need to be in a container with fleece or a sweatshirt so it is soft enough that if a bump made Nilla hit the side she would not get hurt. You also of course cannot use the water bottle in the car. Once you are there, my goodness you do not want an even smaller cage!  

I hope I did not miss anything. And I hope I didn't answer too late. I forgot I had a question waiting. Have fun camping.




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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.

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

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

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