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Mice/16 day old mice


I recently found four baby mice sitting in a box under some papers. When the mother jumped out, I looked around the bedding and found the leg of a partially eaten baby. It looked as though she had been eating her own litter. I immediately took the 4 others in and started taking care of them. Everything seems to be fine with them but one of them has a particular trait that concerns me. It would seem that he or she has a front paw that looks a little deformed. When he/she walks on it, it is bent forward and the little phalanges are crushed together. I can't tell if it is broken or if the poor baby was born with it. My question would be if it could be a problem in his or her growth.

Hi Destiny,

It could be a deformation, absolutely. Sometimes mommas eat their litter when they know something is wrong, so it could be that the deceased pup was also deformed.  Of course, at this point, there's no knowing for sure.  One thing to keep in mind is that if it was a deformation, there may be other congenital abnormalities going on that we cannot see.

If the growth plate was damaged or malformed, it could inhibit further growth of the foot, but unless this affects its mobility or quality of life, chances are it'll just look weird.  If growth of the foot ends up progressing normally, he or she will develop a different gate depending on how is comfortable to put weight on it, or favor it altogether.

Provided you don't notice a difference in behavior, activity, energy, diet, or grooming (as it ages), there shouldn't be any problem. If he or she ends up using the damaged foot, keep an eye on it to make sure the altered pressure doesn't affect other joints or develop bruising on parts of the foot that don't normally bear weight.  The big thing I would watch for right now, however, is discoloration or swelling, which could indicate something is being pinched within the foot and would need a vet visit to prevent longterm further damage.

These are risks to watch for, for sure, but I don't mean to scare you at all. The foot being damaged or malformed in and of itself should not pose a threat to his or her otherwise normal development.  The best thing to do if possible would be to visit a veterinarian to ask their professional opinion and see if there's anything else you can do to ease any potential discomfort.

Thank you for doing such a wonderful thing in rescuing these little guys!  If you need anything else, please let me know!



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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!

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