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QUESTION: Hi Tamarah,

I put in the email wrong on my last question and it won't let me follow up to your answer! Thanks so much for your advice. Unfortunately the black blotch was most definitely not skin pigmentation. It got increasingly worse, she had dark and sticky stools (infrequently) and I could see the outline of her intestines. Even 3 hours after I fed her she had the same amount of milk in her stomach. She also lost weight and became very dehydrated. After fighting through the night she passed away in the morning :(. I hope she wasn't in pain. I'm glad I was able to give her a warm life for a few days! Her sister is still alive, however. Very worried the same thing will happen but this ones a bit bigger and stronger. My main concern with the little one is that she isn't pooping very often. Her stomach looks nice and pink, nice full milk tummy, and she's very active! But should I be worried if it takes her hours and hours to pass stool? Thanks so much :)

ANSWER: Hi Lauren,

I'm sorry to hear she passed away.  The reason I mentioned internal problems as one of the possibilities is because there's really nothing you can do for a pup that small except make sure they are comfortable and loved.  They can't even be euthanized in normal ways, let alone operated on or given medications.  What you did, caring for her while she was here, was exactly what I would have done.  I know it doesn't make it much easier, but she is lucky to have had you.

You shouldn't be worried that her sister poops infrequently - as long as she is going once or twice a day, and those stools are of a regular color and consistency, it's considered normal.  She should, however, pee at every meal.

Best of luck, and let me know how she does!

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8 days old
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6 days old
6 days old  
QUESTION: Thanks so much for your reply. Unfortunately the little one passed away yesterday. This one was much harder because she was actually doing fantastic. Developing, active, pooping, peeing, eating, and then all of a sudden she just got lethargic and wouldn't eat very much. over the course of a few hours, she became increasingly dehydrated, gasping for breath, and it was almost like she was losing weight right before our eyes. I truly thought I was going to succeed in getting this girl to weaning age or at least until her eyes opened. When the first one died, I didn't see much of her progression to death because I was sleeping, but with this one, I was there for the whole thing and it was really hard to watch because I knew there was nothing I could do! Do mice this small feel pain? I just hope she didn't suffer too much. I know there's no point in trying to figure out what was wrong because pinkies are so fragile and perhaps they had genetic issues but is it common for pinkies that are doing well to deteriorate so quickly?

Regardless, it was extremely rewarding caring for these little ones. I am so happy I was able to give them a longer life than they would have had! I never thought I would have such an attachment to little mice. I'll attach a picture so you can see them :) thanks for all your help and advice, and making me feel better about the loss of my little one. If I ever have mouse related questions I'll be sure to come here :)

Oh no.  I am so sorry to read this, Lauren.  Everything sounded like it was going so great!  Given the issue had with the first pup, I have to guess that it was genetic as well.  Unfortunately, even when everything is done exactly right, a lot of orphaned pups do not make it.  They are exceedingly fragile, as you noticed, and yes, when things go wrong, they tend to go wrong very quickly.

Mice that small do indeed feel pain, but not everything that appears to be pain is pain.  At the very end of life, as the brain is shutting down and the nerves are still firing, some mice will appear to seize, twitch, kick, or shake.  This behavior immediately before passing is not painful - it's just confused signals coming from the brain, which is already past the point of registering discomfort.  I'm not sure what you had to watch her go through, but know that whatever it was, it would have happened anyways, and it's good that she had you there with her.  Animals, even scared or young ones, have a way of understanding that.  I can't explain it, but they KNOW you are there to help them.  It's something you can feel in your soul.

Hopefully your next experience with mice will go better.  I'm sorry again, and please do let me know if you ever need anything in the future.  Thank you so much for the pictures - they were beautiful!



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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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