QUESTION: Hi. I have a female mouse who had given birth and became a nanny for another mouse. After I have separated the pups, I noticed that there was a lump on her tummy - nipple/breast area and she was limping. We thought it was just a cyst and would wreupt after some time. Little did I know, her skin turned black and where the lump used to be became a hole. When we shined the torch light at the hole, we could probably see her flesh of her leg and ribs. I gave her ibuprofen and terramycin for the injured area. Now the skin has dried up and fallen off. So all we see is her flesh ! We tried to put bandage on her. But of course it failed! She is very good in wiggling out of it. I put on an "elizabethan" collar on her but it isn't long enough to prevent her from licking. There aren't many exotic vets in my country and no one cares about mice. She os also very skinny and her coat is ruffled. What can I do to help her heal faster?
ANSWER: Hi Kimberly,
It sounds like the lump was an abscess, which can happen sometimes when nursing pups. You've done great treating it so far with the terramycin, but how are you giving it to her?
Terramycin should be given in a fresh water bottle each day (you can prepare up to three days worth at a time and keep them in your fridge, exchanging them for a new one each day). It also has to be covered with foil to block the light, as terramycin reacts with light and won't be as effective if left uncovered all day. I am sorry, but I don't know anything about giving ibuprofen to mice, so I cannot give you advice on how ibuprofen might work.
Terramycin in the water will help keep the infection from spreading too much, so next we have to address the hole itself. Her body will do all the hard work, so your job is to keep it as clean as possible. For this you will need:
*Syringes (without the needle, you can use a nose bulb syringe if you can't find them)
*Sterile saline (ask any vet if you can purchase a bag, or try your local pharmacy)
*Triple antibiotic ointment (such as neosporin - but it needs to be a gel, like petroleum jelly, not a cream)
One to two times per day, you are going to flush out the hole. This will remove debris that gets into the wound, like bedding, food, feces, and dust, as well as any pus that builds up as it is healing. Fill two or three syringes with the sterile saline. With the tip of the syringe near the wound opening, push on the plunger until you get a firm stream of saline hitting the wound - it should not be so hard that it splatters everywhere, but it needs to be more pressure than if you were just rinsing it gently. The goal is to dislodge dirty things that get in the hole, so really flush it well. Since this may be uncomfortable for her, you can lift her gently up to her back feet by the nape of her neck for each flush, letting her relax again in between.
After cleaning it out, gently dry off the fur and skin around the hole with a clean paper towel or a gauze pad. Using a new gauze pad or a clean finger, apply a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment around the edge of the hole - this is safe if she licks a little bit of it and it will not hurt the wound, either. This is to keep antibiotics on the hole, but it will also catch any debris that may try to enter the wound, keeping it cleaner and easier to heal.
Offer a yummy treat after each flushing, and you should start to see the hole gradually close up. There really is no safe way to wrap an open wound on a mouse, so that ointment should help keep most dirty things out for you. The better she feels, the more she will eat and drink, and her coat and weight should pick back up.
If you see anything become worse, however - the hole becoming worse, her becoming lethargic or stopping eating or drinking, anything like that, I would start asking around in your area if anyone breeds mice or rehabilitates wild small mammals. Sometimes when a vet is not possible, there still may be others who have been in this situation and can help your mouse out!
Best of luck, and keep me updated on how she is doing! If you can get a picture and include it in a followup question, I would be happy to take a closer look at it and offer any other advice I can.
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QUESTION: Thanks for the advice. I actually put terramycin on the wound! Haha. Well ok, so how much much terramycin should I mix into her water? I have actually made her an Elizabethan collar for her but she somehow wriggled out of it. Probably the neck diameter that I cut was too big. She is eating and drinking. But the hole is not a hole anymore. It has dried out and fallen off. Ao her skin has fallen off and is just showing her flesh.
That's great! Sorry that I misunderstood. You can still thoroughly wash the wound with saline daily and then apply a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment. The skin should begin to start closing in on its own, as long as it does not become infected again.
For the dosage on the terramycin, you'll want to put about half a teaspoon per 8 ounces of water. I am not sure what form terramycin comes in, so if it is already a powder or a capsule full of powder, you should have an easy time measuring it out. This can be continued for up to about 14 days and will help with preventing a general infection until the skin grows back.
Thank you for doing such a wonderful job in such a scary situation! Let me know if there is anything else I can help with!