Mice/Mouse scratching, bleeding eye
QUESTION: My daughter's mouse Squeakers is itching a lot and his eyes are red and one is bleeding. He lives by himself, so I know no other mouse has scratched him. I have read other answers, but am confused on the tetracycline. Also I am worried about spraying him with mite spray if his eyes are so red and bleeding. We have no money for a vet, since our dog has used up that whole fund! It is probably mites right?
ANSWER: Hi Addie,
Mites could certainly be a possibility, but there are several things that could cause itching, such as allergies or ringworm, for example. Since mite sprays target both mites and lice, this is a good place to start.
I'm assuming you were wondering about tetracycline to prevent infection from the wounds? Do you have specific questions about it that I can help with?
There are a couple of different mite sprays you can get over the counter. I've used the one by 8-in-1 with good results. You can use either the rodent or avian versions, but the avian one is gentler and still effective.
You'll want to shake the bottle well and follow its instructions, but even though the itching is around the eyes, please do not spray his face. The medicine will soak into the skin and protect the entire mouse, so no need to get the face. In fact, since the spray can be scary, I like to use a glove and spray that, then work it into the entire coat. It's best to do it on a towel so you don't get it on you, then let him dry completely while keeping him warm before putting him back into his home.
At the same time you treat him, you'll also have to clean his cage completely. Any absorbent toys need to be discarded, bedding swapped, and all hard surfaces cleaned thoroughly with soap and water. If you think mites may have come in on bedding, try freezing it for 24 hours before use to kill any eggs. The entire process will need to be repeated a second time depending on the time mentioned on the bottle - I believe it was either ten days or two weeks. This ensures any mites that were eggs at the time of the first treatment don't just reinfect the whole cage.
If mites are the problem, you should see relief after a few days to a week. If there is no change at all, complete the treatment anyways, but you'll have to start looking at some other possible causes.
Now, since he has broken skin around his eyes, it would be a good idea to keep that area clean if possible. Is Squeakers calm enough to let you touch his face? If so, once or twice a day you can dab the area with a warm, moist cotton ball, then again with a dry one or a tissue to dry off and keep him from getting cold. Don't wipe, just gently dab. Then, using a clean finger, apply a tiny amount of triple antibiotic ointment to any areas with broken skin. It's okay to use in the face area, but don't put any directly in his eyes themselves, even if they are irritated. Use the smallest amount you need to cover the irritated spots. He'll probably groom it right off, but it helps to serve as a physical barrier against debris.
Please let me know if there is any other way I can help, and I hope the little dude feels better soon!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks so much!
We cleaned the cage and treated Squeakers, I hope this helps him.
The tetracycline question was for his eyes and now ears. I just wasn't sure if I should treat him for an infection, the areas don't look infected, so maybe I will just try the antibiotic ointment first.
He is very tame and let us wash his eyes off. We will try the ointment tonight.
Have you heard of an antihistamine for a mouse?
Thanks for all your help!
If there are areas with broken skin, tetracycline can be helpful in preventing infections from becoming systemic, but if there isn't much scabbing, the antibiotic ointment will help to protect the injured areas.
I haven't heard of a safe antihistamine for mice, I'm sorry. Benadryl can be dangerous depending on the dosage, and any medications you apply topically will likely be ingested. Because of this, it would be best to stick to the triple antibiotic ointment, which is safe in small amounts. Is this for the itching, or does he have swelling? If the area becomes inflamed, hot to the touch, or starts oozing abnormal colors, it may be infected and need antibiotics or a vet visit.
Let me know how he's doing! Hopefully the spray is helping.