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QUESTION: Hi Natasha

You have really helped me with my two wonderful girls Bambi and Lunar in the past so I hope that you can help my poor little Lunar now.

Ok so a few months ago I started to notice that Lunar was getting strangely itchy and I thought that she might have had fleas or something but Bambi didn’t seem quite as itchy but it didn’t seem to hinder her from playing and running around so I wasn’t too worried. But then I started to notice a small scab appearing on her back so I was a little concerned but she didn’t seem too worried other than a bit of itching and I hate taking my mice to the vet because I know how much they hate it so I kept putting off. The scab started to turn into a small bald patch and Lunar started itching more and more until eventually I couldn’t put it off any longer because she started to seem very uncomfortable and I knew that I had to take her to the vet. The vet said it could be ringworm but she said she wasn’t sure and I don’t think it is because I know that ringworm is contagious and Bambi is absolutely fine. The vet put her on baytril and she’s just finished it now and it doesn’t seem to have done anything but the vet said that she wasn’t sure it would and said that if it didn’t do anything then I could take her to another vet that does this anti-fungal stuff (I don’t think that’s actually what she said it was called but I can’t remember what she said it was), this would however, involve a skin scrape and I worry that that would be too stressful for her. She said that stuff would clear up ringworm but I don’t think it is ringworm and vets in England don’t seem to know anything about mice because they’re so rare over here so I don’t know if this stuff would do anything.

I can’t think where she could’ve got this problem from either, because I ruled anything contagious because Bambi would’ve caught it and she’s fine, she has no bald patches or excessive itching. I wondered if it could be an allergy to something but what, I don’t know.

She is in such a bad way now, her whole back is just one big flaky scab and she’s got another bald patch on the back of her neck and is getting another one on her side too. All she ever does is itch and she seems so uncomfortable and miserable when I get her out to play she just sits there and doesn’t really move, sometimes she’ll get a sudden burst of energy and will climb or walk up my arm but then other times she looks like she’s going to die and doesn’t do anything and she never runs on her wheel anymore. The symptoms basically are:
-Not running on wheel.
-Bald patches appearing with flaky scabs.
-Drinking a lot of water (she will sit drinking from her bottle for ages and her water goes down so much)
-constant scratching (so much that I see that it keeps her awake sometimes)
-Doing kind of reddy-browny poo’s
-She’s also been dragging her back legs when she walks (I think this might be because here back legs are tired because she uses them to scratch a lot).

I really hope that she isn’t dying everywhere online says that there’s no way back once they start compulsively scratching.
An idea that my mum had was that I should get more mice because new friends might cheer her up and distract her from itching but I wouldn’t want to stress her out if she’s not feeling well with new little babies that might just annoy her but I would quite like to get some more mice but I wouldn’t do it if you thought it would just make things worse.

So my questions are:

a)What is this skin condition and what should I do about it, is there a cure, do you think I should take her to this place to get this anti-fungal thing or will it just be too stressful and pointless to have to give her a skin scrape?

b)Do you think I should get a couple more mice and if so how would I introduce new young ones into a pair of adult mice and will they just fight?

Anyway sorry for the lecture I’ve just been really worried about it and wanted to make sure that you understood the situation.
Thanks for answering these questions

From Verity 

ANSWER: Hi again Verity,

Poor thing!!!! And I don't get why your vet didn't just immediately think of mites. That is the most common reason for itching. It is true that once a mouse has been allowed to stay in an itchy situation long enough it may become OCD and not stop scratching. We want to avoid that if possible.

The very first thing the vet should have done is given her a drop of selamectin, which in the UK is called Stronghold (here it is Revolution). On the skin on the back of her neck, don't let her clean for ten minutes, treat any other mouse around, clean the cage thoroughly, done for a month. It is so easy it should always be the first step.

Maybe you can find a better vet here:

http://www.aemv.org/vetlist.cfm

Let me know if you find a better vet, because a good vet will help you better than I will. Write back if you can't find a better vet and I will brainstorm with you.

As for another mouse, once you are sure it isn't something contagious, get 2-3 little ones. They can play with each other and leave her alone if she needs it.

:)

squeaks n giggles,

Natasha

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

QUESTION: Hi Natasha

First of all I would like to thank you for the link you gave me because I used it to find a good vet who was really helpful.

It turns out that Lunar really did have ringworm because it wasn't long after I spoke to you that I noticed some circular patches on my skin, I went to the Doctor and I was diagnosed with ringworm and while I know that I could have picked it up somewhere else, it just seemed to coincidentle.

The vet I found was extremely helpful, he took a sample of Lunar's fur on petri dish to identify the problem and I haven't got the results back for that yet. He also thought it could be ringworm especially since I had it too and has given us a very strict routine to make sure we get rid of it.

He gave us:
-Some Itrafungol oral medicine and told us to give her 2ml once a day.

-He told us to use the Daktacort cream that I use on myself which I got from the Doctor and he said we should rub some on her skin once a day.

-Some Malaseb shampoo to give her a bath with by spraying on hot water lathering on the shampoo and then rinsing and to make sure to dry her thoroughly so she doesn't get cold, he said to do this twice a week.

-And some discinfectant to dilute with water and then spray the entire cage with and replace all the bedding twice a week after every bath we give her.

Anyway now you'v been updated my question is that I've been having problems giving her the oral medicine. When she was on the baytril I just put it on a treat and gave her that and she took it every time no problem but this stuff obviously has a horrible smell and taste because every time I put it on a treat she refuses to eat it sometimes she'll take it but most of the time she turns away from it and I've tried putting it on several different foods and now I'm out of ideas.

So can you give me some ideas of foods that mice can have and will usually eat (even with horrible medicine on).

Thanks for answering and thanks for the helpful link :D

From Verity :)

Answer
Dear Verity,

although I have always used a syringe, my guess is that the best trick food would be salted, buttered popcorn.

However my answer is probably useless now. There was a family health emergency :( and I have not been able to get to these questions.

My best to the little pipsqueaks!

squeaks n giggles,

Natasha

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Natasha

Expertise

I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising **** SEXING MICE: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/sexing.cfm **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES: http://thefunmouse.com/info/index.cfm http://www.rmca.org/Resources/mousefaq.htm

Experience

I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

Organizations
I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

Education/Credentials
B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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