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Mice/Re: Mouse-safe hand washing?

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QUESTION: Hi,

I like to travel with my three pet mice. I know traveling with pets like mice is a controvercial subject, but I really think my mice enjoy it.

My question is, when I'm traveling around and shopping etc. I might be carrying some germs from the stores etc. That I wouldn't want my mice to come in contact with. So I'd need to wash my hands before handling the mice.

I don't want to go into a store restroom and wash hands everytime I want to handle the mice, so what kind of antibacterial wipes etc. (something that doesn't need you to use water) are safe for mice?

I've noticed on the labels of most wipes it says "toxic. Don't let children come in contact with this!" That wouldn't be okay for mice, right? So what would?

Thanks,
Miriam

ANSWER: Hi Miriam,

Unless the stores have their own mouse infestations, nothing you pick up there will make them sick.  Your bigger concern should be things from them that could make store-goers sick, such as salmonella or lepto, which they would not show symptoms of.  You don't have to have gotten sick from your mice for them to still potentially make others sick!  No matter what the animal, you should always wash your hands thoroughly after handling them before touching public things or food.

Wipes unfortunately are not suitable for sanitizing hands (I know they say they are, but they do not provide enough contact for long enough to clean).  You can carry with you a bottle of alcohol based hand sanitizer such as Purell, using enough in the palm of your hands to keep your hands saturated for fifteen seconds, then let air dry.  While this is safe around mice once dry, it smells AWFUL to them.  I would honestly recommend sanitizing after handling THEM, rather than store goods, washing off the alcohol smell when you can at the bathrooms.

-Tam

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

QUESTION: I'm worried about colds/flues. I read that mice can catch 10% of cold viruses.

yeah, I didn't think of touching things in stores being a problem. I will see about the Purell. Maybe I could bring along a bottle of water to rinse my hands in so they don't smell as bad to the mice.

Thanks

Answer
Fortunately, now that we are toward the end of April, we are out of flu season until October.  If YOU are sick I would wash first, although I've never heard of a mouse catching a respiratory illness from a person.  I admit I'm not an expert on the flu!  You might also consider not actually handling the mice directly while in public, which would reduce the chance not only of cross contamination but also of escapes.

-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/

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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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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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