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Mice/Tetracycline

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Question
My mouse has a swollen eye with a huge lump right in front of it. The eye is not completely swollen shut, but it looks as though she is squinting. I was reading up on some of your other answers and thought I could try tetracycline. A vet is out of the question since we can't afford it. The problem is that I have 5 other mice, and they are perfectly healthy. I don't know if it would be safe to put tetracycline in the water and have it available to all of them, since I would hate to put Georgie (the one with the swollen eye) alone in a separate cage. Would it be safe for all of them to have it, or should I separate Georgie?

Answer
Hi Amanda,

To answer your question directly, yes, it is safe to allow all the mice to receive the tetracycline.

However, I am wondering why you feel that is the best way to treat the lump?  Tetracycline will help to prevent a whole-body infection in case a localized infection (if the lump is an abscess) bursts inward.  If it is an abscess, then that's a good idea, but antibiotics will not cause the lump to go away.  The fluid inside of it needs to be drained.  Sometimes abscesses burst naturally and will drain themselves, leaving an open wound that will need to be kept very clean, but sometimes they need medical intervention.  If you think it is an abscess, which can be hard to tell from home, you may want to explore medical options besides vets - perhaps a vet can offer you discounted or pro-bono services if you ask them?  Maybe you can find a wildlife rehabilitator who has experience with wild rodents who could help, or point you toward a cheaper alternative?  You CAN NOT drain an abscess from home.

There is also the possibility that the lump is something else, such as a tumor, a dental issue, an infection of the tear duct, simple irritation of the tear duct, or even an allergic reaction to something that got in the eye or nose.  There is not a way to diagnose what is causing the bump at home except by process of elimination, so again, looking for cheaper professional help will be the fastest way to help her and her eye/lump.

In the meantime, you can make a saline solution by adding a TINY amount of salt to a cup of warm water (barely enough to make it salty) and use a gauze pad to apply it to her eye either by dripping it onto her eye eyedrop-style or by holding it gently to the lump like a compress (do not push on the lump), depending on how calm she is and willing to stay still.  You can also use wound wash sterile saline (check your pharmacy, it usually comes in a spray and should have NO other chemicals in it except the salt and sterile water) rather than mixing saltwater at home.  You would use this the same way - spray some on a square of gauze and either squeeze a drop into her eye or hold it to the lump, depending on how calm she is.  Do NOT spray saline directly on the mouse.  You can do this one to two times a day to help keep the eye comfortable as it heals.

Best of luck, and please let me know if I can help with anything else!
-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/

Experience

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!

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

Education/Credentials
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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