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Mice/Mouse scratching and hair loss

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QUESTION: Hi,

   So about two to three weeks ago I have noticed that my mouse started having this bold spot on the left side of his mouth and it looks like there are red open sore and of course when they first started I was doing everything to stop it and it did stop for a few days but now it has gotten bigger and I looked it up on the internet for what could be wrong but no one ever talks about something like that. I first noticed it because his hair was always left over on his water thing. I looked and now its starting to spread on its right side of his mouth. PLEASE HELP!!!

ANSWER: Hi Latasha,

What did you try before, when you first noticed the hair loss?  Does he live alone in his cage?  Is the wound discharging blood, pus, or clear or colored fluid, and how large is the area of broken skin?  Is it scabbed over?  From where to where on his face exactly does it extend - is it focused around the mouth, or does it go up his cheeks, and if so, how far?  Is he constantly scratching it?  Is it inflamed/swollen, and is the area *around* the sore very red?  Lastly, has he had any changes in bedding or diet in the past few months?

There are several things that can cause damaged skin and missing fur, like fighting, allergies, lice, mites, an injury that then caused excess scratching, and even neurological habits.  A vet who works with pocket pets would be the very best thing to try first, if you can, since they will be able to diagnose and treat him right away, as well as provide medications that you may not be able to get at home.

Is there any way that you can send me a followup question with a photo of the bald spots/sores?  That would be a tremendous help in figuring out what the first thing we should try would be.  If a vet isn't possible, please write me back, with a picture if you can and whichever of the above questions you can answer for me, and I will walk you through a few things to try.  In the meantime, you can spread a tiny amount of triple antibiotic ointment (the tiniest amount you need to cover the area) over any broken skin with a very clean finger or a piece of gauze.  This will help to catch any debris from his cage and hopefully prevent some of the risk of infection, and can be done 1-2 times a day.

Let me know please if you can't see a vet, and with your help, I'll do everything I can to help this little guy feel better!
-Tam

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

QUESTION: Unfortunately I cant send a picture because I tried with the first question and my phone isnt letting me. When I first started seeing yhe hair lose I thought it was a food allergy so I only fed him less and less of sun flower seeds because that is like the only thing he eats out of the food I give him. But I kind of threw that out the window when I found kept seeing him itch the same. He actually is alone in thr cage he doesnt have anyone living with him. I dont really know how to explain the wound but I can try the best I can. His fur is coming out and it looks like scratches where his fur was which I am guessing is because of his nails but I just noticed a few days ago that now there is a bold spot above his nose and on the left side of his nose. The Right side of his face where the cuts are its about an inch. It leds from below his mouth to about a milimeter or two above his nose. I was thinking it maybe mites but now I don't know.

Answer
Latasha,

Sounds like mites could certainly be a possibility!  Let's start by treating that and see how he responds.

The best thing for treating mites (besides a vet visit, which would be ideal) would be a medication called Revolution.  This is sold by veterinary clinics, and there are different types of it - you need the kitten dose.

Apply ONE drop to the skin on the back of his neck - then just leave it alone (you do not need the rest of the medication).  Even though it is not on his face, treating the skin on the back of his neck with that single drop will keep his entire body mite-free for a month!  To keep them from coming back after, you'll need to very thoroughly clean his entire cage.  Discard the dirty bedding, freeze any absorbent toys and new bedding for two days to kill mite eggs, and use bleach and water (one part bleach to ten parts water) to sanitize the cage itself and any hard toys like wheels or plastic hide-aways.

If mites were the problem, you should start to see improvement almost immediately, and the fur should begin growing back after a few days as the itching stops and the scabs heal.  He should stop scratching within a day or two of using the Revolution.

If your local vets will not sell you Revolution, please let me know and we can try an effective but more challenging over-the-counter fix with a mite spray.  The instructions are a little different, though, so write me a followup if you need and we'll go through it in detail.

Best of luck!
-Tam

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Tamarah

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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: http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm Orphaned Mice Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising Natasha's Your First Mouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share General Mouse Help: http://www.fancymice.info/ Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds: http://www.hiiret.fi/eng/species/

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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!

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

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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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