QUESTION: My cat brought in a deer mouse and I think it’s been in the house for a few days. We tried to find it to no avail. No body parts anywhere so we knew it had to still be alive. Well, yesterday morning there he was sitting hunched over in front of the heating vent (the heat was on). I quickly scooped him up and put it out in the flower bed in the sun. He seemed ok, maybe just stunned. Anyhow, I checked on it a few hours later, still alive, but I thought he would have moved on by this time. As evening grew closer and cooler, I gave him some water, which he quickly drank and some peanut butter, which he ate without a problem. Clearly he was hungry. Again, I thought he would just take off. He didn’t and while he was still moving around, it seemed like he was not doing better, but worse. I scooped him up and put him in a cushy little nest made from an old velour blanket. I put some water in a ziplock bag, and heated it to 100°, wrapped it in a microfiber towel and set it close to him but not touching him. I also gave him some lactated ringers (by mouth using an eye dropper). I gave him fluids every hour until 1:00 am when I went to bed. I put a new warm bag of water next to him and figured, he’d probably pass away during the night but to my surprise he was still alive this morning. I've been keeping an eye on him for about 30 hours now.
He’s not interested in eating today but still drinking from the eyedropper. I found on the Internet that someone tried, with success, feeding a mouse that wouldn’t eat, oatmeal milk. I quickly mixed up a batch, and he ate it! I haven’t seen him poop yet and I’m worried about that. He’s clearly an adult mouse so I shouldn’t think that would be an issue but I have no idea if he’s injured or not. I check on him every hour and it seems like he just wants to sleep so I’m trying not to bother him, but I’d sure like to see him eat something.
Is this normal behavior for a mouse when they’re injured and is there anything more I can do to help this little guy? Any advise would be appreciated.
ANSWER: Hi Cindee,
It would make sense if he were stunned for him to stay in the same place for a few hours, but for him to sit there for 30 hours straight in one place with no energy to run from you really concerns me. Injured mice do not usually show their pain until it is overwhelming, so we can assume he is feeling pretty bad right now. It's absolutely wonderful that you are doing so much for him - he is lucky to have you right now!
Is there a wildlife rehabilitation group or individual near you that rehabilitates small rodents? You can check your state's forestry/wildlife website for contacts as well as call your local veterinarians. If you have a vet nearby who happens to have experience with mice, they may also be able to help. If these are not options, then keeping him comfortable as you have been doing is the best thing.
There isn't much else I can tell you to do from home. You're getting food and water into him and keeping him comfortable. If he is still outside, you can bring him in somewhere that is safe from predators, but that is all I can really suggest.
I'm sorry to hear about his condition, but again, I am really glad he has you watching over him for now.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Tam,
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately the nearest wildlife rehab is two hours away. I spoke with my vet this evening and he didn't hold out much hope and said that I was doing pretty much all that can be done.
I've moved him inside where he's safe and warm and in a dark place. Around 3:30 I fed him the oatmeal milk and he ate really good this time. He's moving around now too. I can't see any outward sign of injury. I've decided to let him rest and instead of waking him every hour, I'm going to shoot for every two to three hours. I will say, he did eat with enthusiasm which was a nice change from this morning.
I also got advice that if my cat bit him, an infection could have already set in so I researched what antibiotic might help and luckily Clavamox will. I just happen to have some and found the dosage for a mouse. It's just under 7.82 mg which is a bit less than 1/8 of a 62.5 mg tablet. I quartered the tablet then cut one quarter in half (1/8 of the tablet) then shaved off a bit. Mixed it with filtered water and put it into the dropper. He took it without any problem.
If he makes it through the night, I'll then need to figure out what to start trying to feed him. I'm pretty sure oatmeal milk is't the best to help him get stronger...if he gets that far. What would you recommend that I can put into the dropper? I read that mice need 40% dextrose in their diet (makes sense with their fast metabolism) but then I read another place, NO sugar. I gave him some Karo yesterday and he lapped it up. Any ideas there?
You can use baby foods, especially fruit ones such as banana or apple, into a dropper, but these may cause loose stools. Many foods that can be put through a dropper are going to contribute to this problem, since most of what you would find would be fruit based or formulas. Other things you can try offering include baby snacks such as puffs (fruit and vegetable based, soft, easy-to-dissolve snacks), stale bread (especially soaked in water), scrambled eggs made with water instead of milk, cheerios, and millet sprays. You can sprinkle powdered kitten milk replacement over the bread or eggs, too, for an extra protein boost, but I would not recommend trying to give him straight formula as that'd be pretty tough on an adult mouse's tummy. Oatmeal is also an excellent mouse food.
He won't be eating a normal diet right now, since he is injured and possibly sick. What would work well for a normal, healthy, non-nursing/pregnant adult mouse won't be ideal for one in poor health. I would focus first on getting food IN him, and second on making sure he gets extra protein. Challenging foods such as seeds that need opened, or foods with many processed ingredients or refined sugars (natural sugars are fine), won't be a good idea right now. You can offer a commercial mouse diet with either pellets or blocks on the off chance he takes it, as having a variety might work best for the time being. Here is a full list of foods that mice can and cannot have:
Hope he is doing well! Please let me know how else I can help.