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Mice/Mouse wheezing


My pet mouse is a few months shy of 2 years old. He's had lots of skin and eye problems, and has had many trips to the vet, usually for scratching. The itching and eye problems aren't too bad right now, but in the past couple of days he has started wheezing out of nowhere. I suspect there is fluid in his lungs, as I can hear a slight click when he breathes. It seems he is struggling to breathe, but he still eats and can move around. However, he has slowed down quite a bit. I sense his time is near, but I don't want him to suffer. Money is an issue, as I've already spent so much on his skin treatments. I'm afraid it's a respiratory infection. I keep his cage clean, no cedar or pine bedding. His vet is far away, and I'd hate to put him through a long stressful car ride just to be put down. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Sara,

I think you're right - it does sound like an upper respiratory infection, though that doesn't always mean there is fluid present.  At any point in the process of treating the skin and eye issues, were you given oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, baytril, or anything else that was given by mouth or in the water?  These same antibiotics are all that are needed to knock out a URI, although the resulting clicking may persist even after recovery (but the wheezing should stop completely).  If you have medications you have already been given, you can give your vet a call and ask for dosage instructions and how long to give them.  If not, it might be possible to explain to them the problem since he is already a patient and pick up the medication without bringing him in.  That would save you a significant amount of money, and is the first thing I would try before trying to find medications to order online or via retailers.

Of course, I cannot make the decision for you if euthanasia or treatment is more humane.  You are his owner, and the person who is most in tune with his health and happiness.  If it comes to that and you do decide to put him down to avoid further suffering, you might consider calling your vet and asking if they can refer you to a closer clinic who can do so in a compassionate manner.  Euthanasia is frequently done free of charge or at a very low cost, especially if the clinic knows your pet.  Hopefully whichever direction you choose will be at least affordable, though not an easy decision to make.

Hopefully this information helped, but if you have any further questions, or want to treat but cannot attain medication from your vet, please let me know and I will help however I can.



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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: Orphaned Mice Videos: Natasha's Your First Mouse: General Mouse Help: Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds:


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!

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

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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