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Mice/Female Mouse Now Alone


Dear Tamarah,

Today was a very sad day for me as I had to put down my little female pet mouse Xochil after a long battle with respiratory problems, lots of antibiotics, and other medications. She lived nearly a year and was the sweetest mouse you could ever meet. I am brokenhearted but glad she is no longer suffering. A couple of weeks ago, her tank mate, Choo-Choo, became quite ill with the same respiratory problems as well. She got really sick very quickly and for a couple of days she lost the use of her hind legs, dragging herself across the tank, a sight I never wish to see again. After antibiotic treatment (Baytril and Vibramycin) and prednisone, Choo-Choo has regained the use of her legs but her tail remains limp. Her breathing has improved a great deal and she looks better; so much so that the vet told me I would not need to put her down given the improvement she has shown. I am really happy that my Choo-Choo is still with me, but I find myself in a pickle because she is now by herself. I have two other female mice that never came in contact with either Xochil or Choo-Choo, and my vet says never to put the healthy girls with my Choo-Choo or they will become sick as well. The Fun Mouse Forum contributors often mention that a female mouse living on her own will become so depressed that she will die of a broken heart and that it is a cruelty to keep her isolated, but what else can I do? I don't want the other two girls, Tofu and Sophie, to catch this dreadful bug that killed my Xochil today. It has already ravaged Choo-Choo and I could not bear to see them get sick too. Do you have any advice for me? I have not dared to ask this question on the Fun Mouse Forum because, to be honest, the experts on there don't seem very friendly to newcomers. I would really appreciate some help with this predicament.

Most sincerely,


Hi Ana,

The folks at The Fun Mouse have their hearts in the right place, but they aren't vets as far as I know, and they can definitely be intimidating.  Your vet was correct that exposing new mice to Choo-Choo would be dangerous.  Respiratory infections are pretty contagious and as you already saw, are pretty hard to beat.  I'm already so proud of you for going so far to help them how you did.  You need to know that they are so lucky to have you watching over them.  Most owners would not have the courage.  My condolences about losing Xochil, but I am glad she had you until the end.

While it is hard on a mouse to grieve alone, Choo-Choo isn't alone.  You may notice her leaning on you more, emotionally, and a little extra time and attention over the next few weeks can help her cope with the loss of her friend.  Try some new toys, too, to keep her mind active and prevent her from becoming sedentary.  If you notice her becoming depressed, you could even try a small plushie mouse (stuffed with fiber, no beans or beads, remove if torn).  The easier you make this time for her, the less likely she will relapse in health.

I've had females who preferred living alone multiple times and never have one of them dropped dead of a broken heart.  You have to think of their health first.  There is nothing wrong with that.  If in the future, Choo-Choo can go a month with no symptoms and the vet clears her as healthy, then you can absolutely try introducing a new buddy or the two girls, but that can be a challenge when respiratory symptoms are chronic or cause long-term damage.  So for now, just love on her and be her new mouse buddy.  That's really all you can do.

Let me know if I can help in any other ways, and again, I'm so sorry for your loss.



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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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