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Mice/nursing an injured mouse

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injured mouse
injured mouse  
Hi Natasha,

Thanks so much for volunteering to answer these questions, i'm sure the work you do has saved or improved many tiny lives.

We found a mouse about 48 hours ago in a corner of our lounge, she seemed to have lost the use of her back legs and we assumed our cat was responsible. We took her to the vet that afternoon who told us she had nerve damage in her spine and that her back legs were paralysed (they sort of drag behind her) Though there were no obvious abrasions on her the vet prescribed antibiotics which i've been feeding her since. The vet reassured us that she didn't seem to be in pain, which was our primary concern.

We've brought her a cage and are hopeful that she will recover fully so we can re-release her but if her legs stay paralysed we intend to keep her as a pet.

I'd really like to have an idea how likely a recovery is, and how likely our worst fear is- that she will die. Also any advice on caring for a disabled mouse would be much appreciated.

She is alert, her eyes are clear and she is eating, drinking and pooing. She is moving around her cage but not often or quickly and freezes and looks stressed every time we come and look at her.
I have no idea how old she is so I will attach a photo- maybe you can tell?

for reference in the photo the 'mouse treat' (small orange rectangle) she is eating on the left hand side of the picture is 2cm by 2.5.

Once again, thank you so much for what you do,

Rebecca.

Answer
Hi,

My guess is she will not heal. She will remain a little special needs mouse, so hopefully it is possible to make her a happy pet.

I can imagine that she freezes and is stressed because she can't run and hide. She is supposed to be able to dash under something when she encounters something scary like a human.

She is an adult.

On the physical side, she needs easy to each food and water-- water that she can't fall into. You may be able to hang a water bottle very, very low where she can reach it. It may be easiest not to give her water but instead always have moist foods such as cucumber, green pepper, or fruit where she can get to it. Make sure she has a lot of options until you figure out what she likes. Mice in the wild often get their moisture just through their food.

On the psychological side, she needs to find out that humans are not horrible things. You want as little time as possible with her not being scared-- don't mistake a kind of passive giving in, if you overwhelm her, with being unstressed.

I would put her in a room with very little traffic and no other animals, and just spend hours with her (you have to figure this out!) quietly, with very little interaction, doing whatever you are doing; just let her know you are in the same room but not putting any pressure on her. If you approach the cage and she freezes, move back. That gives her a little bit of control and helps her to trust that you aren't trying to hurt her. If she has no way to escape, leave the lid off of the cage so you can quietly put a little treat in it and then move away.

Your goal is to have her comfortable and happy to be picked up. Just take baby steps and stress her as little as possible, trying to give her some control.

Best of luck with her!

Squeaks,

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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