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Hi Tamarah,

Thank you so much for taking this question.  It is in regards to the frequent complaint of a sneezing and "chattering" mouse.  I acquired her and several others last week from an otherwise reputable breeder.  The others from the same home are (at least for the moment) fine and symptom free, although now I've grown wary over every sniffle.  The breeder claims that she exhibited none of these symptoms before she came to me.  I have retained the same brand of bedding and housing materials that she had been using with the original breeder so as not to change her routine whatsoever.  She is otherwise very healthy, eating and drinking normally, self-grooming, alert, aware, wheel running, inquisitive, warm, sleek-and-shiny-coated, not hunched, and the rest.  No sign of discharge or porphyrin.  When I place her face to my ear, her breathing is obvious (as opposed to the others'), but does not seem impeded whatsoever.  She doesn't sneeze or chatter while resting or sleeping, which she does, apparently, comfortably.  But I've never seen such sneezing and chattering when she is awake and active!

Recently I've heard tell of a "new home syndrome" that may present itself in mimicking allergic and/or classic URI symptoms, but that it will resolve in the next week or so as a new mouse adjusts to a new environment.  Could this be the problem, and should I just wait this out?  See, my pocket pet vet is on vacation for the next month so I am in a bind.  I do, however, have some Antirobe (clindamycin) from the treatment of a canine infection in the last few months.  Do you think that this might be an option?  I've read that even the traditional course of baytril or tetracycline, moreover, is simply a temporary fix, and this worries me.  Am I merely prolonging a suffering life even if I treat her with any ABx?

Thank you so much for your time and kind attention.

Heartsick over all this suffering right out of the gate,

DJ

Answer
Hi DJ,

It's true that the move to a new home is stressful and can cause the immune system to dip until the new mouse has adjusted.  This can make her susceptible to illnesses she would otherwise be able to easily ward off, but as far as I know, it wouldn't make her show symptoms for an illness she does not have.  With that in mind, I would take the sneezing and chattering as an early warning sign of an upper respiratory infection and seek antibiotics.  She could have picked the illness up in transit or even in wild mice from either home.  It does not necessarily mean the breeder is to blame, per se.

I cannot find any literature or dosage charts proving that clindamycin is both safe and effective in rodents, so I would not advise repurposing your dog's antibiotics.  Antibiotics are not a temporary fix - they absolutely will resolve bacterial infections, whether the cause of the respiratory infection or secondary infections resulting from viral infections.  They also help to protect the immune system from other attacks while the body works on repairing itself from the illness at hand.  Baytril (enrofloxacin) and tetracycline are both good general antibiotics, meaning they will fight a number of different illnesses.  You might be able to get more targeted antibiotics through your veterinarian's office, but chances are they would be starting you on one of these two first.  If you can obtain either, it's worth a full course not just for the sneezing mouse, but any living with her, to be on the safe side.

In short, no, you are not wasting your time or prolonging suffering by offering antibiotics, and yes, it is worth treating as if it were an illness rather than waiting it out.  Hopefully I've helped, but if you have any other questions, please let me know and I will be happy to help out however I can!  Best of luck,

-Tam

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Tamarah

Expertise

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/

Experience

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!

Organizations
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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