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Mice/Mice respitory infection


Hi Tamarah. My name is Carly. I have two pet mice that I'm sure have a upper respitory infection. They cough and sneeze. Their fur looks rough and my oldest one is hunched over. Is there any antibiotics I can use to admimister via water bottle? The vets in my area aren't keen on mice health. I'm really worried.

Hi Carly,

I'm sorry to get back to you so late.  As you have noticed, respiratory infections can become serious pretty quickly, so it is important to treat them swiftly and ideally with a vet's help - of course, not all vets know how to help mice, like you mentioned.  I would still call around and see if anyone can point you to someone who works with pocket pets, just in case.

At home, however, you can try a general antibiotic called tetracycline.  Do so immediately, as they need some kind of medicine right away.  Tetracycline goes in the water, needs covered with foil (as it is light sensitive), and can be swapped out every couple of days to keep it fresh.  Both mice should have only the medicated water as their drinking source.  You should be able to find some at your local pet store in the fish section.  Here is how you make it:

"Pick up a bottle of Tetracycline from the FISH section.

You are going to put some in her water bottle and try to get an initial dose inside her.  

If you have the capsules, empty one capsule into a large water bottle or one half into a small one.  Shake extremely well.  If you have the powder,  1/4 flat teaspoon measure is the same as 1 capsule.  If you have the tablets, completely crush them into fine powder with the back of a spoon and use as powder.   This should be her only water source.  It's fine for any other mice to drink the water too. COVER THE WATER BOTTLE WITH TIN FOIL because the medication is sensitive to light.  Change every few days for ten days.

Next, take another capsule worth and mix it with one drop of water.  This will make a paste about the consistency of mustard.    You have plenty to play with, so if the mixture is too watery, try again.  Now pick up the mouse by the scruff of the neck.  This is the skin just behind her head.  This does not hurt her-- it's how her mama used to carry her-- but she will struggle valiantly.   Holding her gently but firmly,  quickly place a small amount into her now open mouth.  This is hard.  Be careful of her nose!  Wipe a bit more onto her whiskers and chin.  She will ingest that when she washes herself.  If you couldn't get any inside her at all, wipe some more on her head and sides.  Put her back into her cage so she will wash herself.  Keep any other mouse from washing her, if necessary removing the other mice for an hour."

This gets a starter dose inside them, so if they don't feel much like drinking, they still get medicine right away.  Tetracycline is a good general antibiotic, but it doesn't always work once they start hunching over - so it is still a good idea to try to find a vet who could supply you with more targeted antibiotics.  It is also important to make sure they are both still eating and drinking, and you can offer high protein snacks like scrambled eggs (made without milk), cat kibble, fruit baby foods spread on a small piece of cracker or piece of stale bread, etc. to encourage them to eat.

Best of luck, and I hope they feel better soon!  If you have questions about anything please let me or Natasha know and we will help out.



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I can answer questions regarding mice as pets, mouse behavior, color and coat genetics, breeding techniques, and general health questions. I can help with caging and setup, nutrition, social issues, and what to do in most mouse emergencies (such as unplanned litters, injuries, fighting, etc.). I can also assist with questions pertaining to orphaned mouse pups, weaning litters, and questions of mating and birthing. I cannot answer questions about exotic or wild varieties of mice such as spiny or pygmy mice. *****FOR EMERGENCIES, anything requiring immediate medical intervention, PLEASE take your mouse to a professional veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator who works with mice as soon as possible! IMPORTANT RESOURCES: Raising Orphaned Mice: Orphaned Mice Videos: Natasha's Your First Mouse: General Mouse Help: Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds:


I have enjoyed the companionship of mice nonstop since 2004, and spent a year caring for them in a lab where I learned a great deal about their breeding, social needs, and health. I spent a few years breeding them, specifically working with albinos, marked mice, angora mice, and satins. My education never stopped - I am learning something new every day from current and well-established research thanks to the wonderful folks at the Jackson Laboratory, as well as from my wonderful mousey friends online. I also love learning from my terrific questioners here on AllExperts - you folks keep my passion for these amazing animals alive and well!

East Coast Mouse Association - expired, American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association - expired

Partial University for a B.S. in Microbiology, Partial University for a 2-year degree in Veterinary Technology (RVT cert), C.E. classes in pathogens, aseptic technique, genetics, and applications

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