You have helped me with my dear Saffy before, and I hope you can offer some advice on my little boy Barry. Barry is a wild mouse that I rescued out of our kitchen a year ago ( I was really worried that my cat would hurt him) and he has been such a beautiful little companion to me, very sweet and incredibly smart. About 3 months ago he started scratching obsessively which resulted in a wound on his neck and back. I don't think he had mites, I think possibly he could have been bored and this is how it happened. I started trying to wash the wound with saline solution every day or two days, which really freaked him out but I was very worried about an infection. Apart from the scratching he appeared healthy until a week ago where he just started acting lethargic and has since dropped weight like crazy and is not himself. I haven't cleaned his neck for fear of really stressing him in his delicate state. He now has a fairly thick crust of pus on his neck. I have been trying to give him keflex antibiotic and metacam from our exotics vet. I have two questions, first of all, what is the best solution to clean a wound? I live in Australia but have ordered some neosporin spray (he wont let me rub any ointment on him btw) from the US. Do you have experience with this, is it safe and also effective to give to a little mouse? Or should I stick to saline? Secondly, do you have any suggestions for weight gain? I have been trying to feed him nutrigel (apparently the equivalent to nutri-cal) and oily bits of rice cake and oats. He's not interested in anything else. I tried feeding him meal worms but he wont touch them.
Im so worried, I have had mice for four years, and have had bad outcomes from this kind of thing before. It really breaks my heart as I just feel I should be able to fix the problem, but have so far failed in doing so. Your input would be very much appreciated.
May I ask what makes you think the problem is not mites? Many things can cause an itchy sore, from mites or lice to allergies to an injury that became infected. I am not familiar with Keflex or Metacam, but since you mention they came from your exotics vet, what is his or her professional opinion on the cause? We have to know what is making him so itchy in order to heal it.
In reference to your questions:
Betadine (a form of iodine) is an excellent way to gently and safely disinfect wounds. Saline is wonderful for soothing an injury, but will not prevent infection. Betadine/iodine can be added drop by drop to a cup of warm water until it is the color of tea, then you can use a square of gauze or tissue to gently apply it to the injury. It only needs to stay on there a few moments, then you can dab it away again with a clean, fresh, moistened square/tissue. It is okay if you can't get it all off - it is safe and does not burn, though it may stain temporarily. Remember to dry him off afterward. After cleaning it, you can apply a triple antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin, though if you use the spray you may want to spray it on a clean hand or tissue first so as not to startle him). You only need a tiny bit of this, and it will protect the wound by providing a sticky barrier to catch dirt and grime from his environment. He will probably clean most of it off, and that is okay, and why you don't need to use very much at all! You can repeat this whole process 1-3 times a day depending on how well he tolerates it.
Losing weight may be a consequence of either being in pain from the wound, or from an infection that may have began in the wound. Does your veterinarian have him on an antibiotic in his water supply? I am afraid I don't know what nutrigel or nutrical are, but oats are great. You can try offering kitten or puppy kibble as a supplement or treat, or even a bit of scrambled eggs (made with water rather than milk). Providing mouse foods that are high in protein and fat will also help him gain weight. You can also offer more in the way of treats such as yogurt drops, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or any of the mouse-safe foods listed here: http://www.fancymicebreeders.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5
Please let me know about the mites, as if this is the cause, it can be a very easy fix and might just be worth trying! Best of luck to the little guy,