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Mice/Sick Fancy mouse


Hi there, this is my first post - I hope you can help me with my daughters sick mouse. She is just over a year old and up until last month she has been relatively fine and lively. These mice are supposed to live around 2 years but her best friend Ronaldo (a girl too) was put to sleep a month ago following a very large lump found in her throat/neck). We are wondering if Nibbles too is soon to die but just in case she's not here are her symptoms: frail, shakes constantly, her eyes are very slightly sunken with what seems like a slight squint,  her coat is dull and she's lost weight. A moment ago I caught her lying on her side in her cage flinching and kicking her feet and I thought that this was it - I carefully lifted her into my hands to comfort her and she improved albeit to her shakey self as described above. She is still eating although not that much - she loves dried pumpkin seeds and dry oats. She's not nesting anymore or running on her wheel she hunches and stays still - seems exhausted. We change her bedding etc every other day. I wonder if you have any ideas -i think if we take her to out vet they will just tell us to put her to sleep- this will be my next move.  Thank you in advance. Nibbles' nanny

Hi Julie,

I'm so sorry for my late response. I'm worried it might be too late, but considering what you've told me, I'm not sure there is much you can do that you aren't already doing anyways.

It's possible the vet could prescribe an antibiotic depending on what they find to be the cause, but if she is lying on her side spasming, it would likely be too advanced to do much good. Whether or not to try or to focus on quality of life is a decision only you can make, unfortunately.

One possibility that comes to mind is neurological, such as strokes (which do not have to be debilitating to take a toll), or a brain tumor. Both could cause the twitching you described as well as alter behavior. Unfortunately pet mice are often bred without attention to longterm health and can carry a tendency toward tumor growth for generations.

The only things I would check for implying illness rather than internal problems would be dehydration or symptoms suggesting an infection. Dehydration can happen very quickly if the water bottle gets stuck, leading to that dull coat, sunken eyes, weight loss, and lethargy. Fortunately it can be reversed just as quickly once noticed. If this has been going on for a month as you mentioned with that frequent of cage changes however, it's possible to rule that out. Symptoms pointing toward specific illness could include sneezing/coughing/clicking, loose or discolored stools, itchy skin, or labored breathing. Even still, it's possible to be sick without those symptoms, so a vet is always helpful in diagnosing, but like I said - if she is already this uncomfortable and not showing signs other than discomfort and frailty, you might choose to concentrate on giving her the best and most comfortable life she can have during the time she is with you.

I'm so sorry that this is happening for you and your daughter. It's so hard to lose a pet, let alone two so close together. Especially when you thought you had more time! If your daughter is still interested in pet mice, I would recommend seeking out a different pet shop or breeder, in case what's going on is genetic. Either way, my thoughts are with you both, and please send an update if you can.

Best wishes,


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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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