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Mice/Fancy mouse tail injury


QUESTION: My little pinky has a tail injury. It was kinky at first and then began to straighten out but also starting turning a dark color about 3/4 way up. Pinky is eating well, and moving about normally and interacting as normal. I haven't been able to catch her to put triple polysporin on it (i read was good to do). Im fearful for her and absolutely scared that i may wake up to a dead Pinky
Q: do you think she's ok and is he polysporin all i should be doing?

ANSWER: Hi Terena,

Is Pinky your mouse's name, or is this an actual pinky (young, no coat yet, nursing from mom fulltime)?  If it's a baby, you do not need to apply anything to the injury, and there are not many things you will be able to do while under the care of mom.

If I misunderstood, and this is an adult mouse who is simply named Pinky, then my apologies!  Is the skin on the tail broken, or simply bruised?  Has any of the skin turned black and dry?  Here are my suggestions depending on the state of the tail:

* Tail is bruised, but no skin is broken:  If there is no broken skin, polysporin will not help.   Polysporin is a triple antibiotic ointment that works mostly by preventing physical debris from entering an open wound.  Bruises can take a couple of days to come to the surface, and mean the vessels in the tail were damaged.  The tail may discolor within a few days of the injury and then fade back to a normal, healthy color after several days.  If there is constriction around the discolored area or swelling, see a veterinarian immediately.

* Tail is bruised, and there is broken skin at the site (may bleed or scab):  If there IS broken skin, then yes, I would definitely suggest applying the polysporin twice a day with a very light coat.  If there is excessive bleeding, if it smells, or if there is a discolored discharge present, contact your veterinarian to address a possible infection.

* Tail is turning black, dry, and crusty, at the injury site and progressing to the tip:  This is called necrosis, and means the affected area is dying from lack of blood circulation.  There is a major vessel running down the length of the tail which may have been damaged.  While this is survivable, it's really gross, and I would HIGHLY recommend visiting a veterinarian immediately.  The loss of a tail isn't bad at all, but it does pose a high risk for an infection that can spread to the rest of the body by leaving a large, exposed area.  Polysporin is not enough to protect the mouse's body from all the yucky stuff that gets on a mouse's tail during this process.

I think I covered most of what you might have meant, but if none of these sound right or if I've misunderstood, please do feel free to write me a followup question including more details (with a picture would be best) and I will get you a better answer.  Just let me know what else I can do, and I'm sorry to hear about her injury!


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

Pinky\'s tail
Pinky's tail  

2nd Pinky\'s tail
2nd Pinky's tail  
QUESTION: Oh thank you so much for your quick response. To clarify, yes, her name is Pinky.
I checked more and I do not see any open wounds. It was very kinky to start but is now almost straight
The color does seem to be improving slightly

That's great that the color is improving.  From the photo it could definitely be just a matter of bruising, but I would keep a close eye on it for any changes.  Watch for swelling, darkening, or shriveling as it heals. That, along with any surprise symptoms like lethargy or trouble eating, could be signs it's time to visit your vet.

Good luck to little Pinky, and let me know how she does!


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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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