My seemingly healthy mouse just had a seizure. I usually handle her often but hadn't handled her for about a week. She squeaked at me loudly and flung her tail over her head, then continued running around my lap. I started to put out an egg box for her to play in and she did the same thing and then went stiff and arched her back while still squeaking. I put her straight back in the cage and it took a while for her to move. She had food, drink and a wash but hasn't gone to bed. Instead she has settled in her wheel and isn't moving. Is she going to be ok?
Type of Animal: mouse
Age: 6 months approx
Name of Animal: Jelly
Leaving her alone
Hello, I am Dr. Zoe. This is highly concerning. There are several possible causes for seizures in a mouse of this age which may include idiopathic epilepsy and congenital abnormalities (something born with), liver problems, tumor (such as an insulinoma), or meningitis, or toxin expsoure.
I am not sure if I can say this is going to be a one-time experience. My top recommendation is to get her in to be evaluated by a vet that is comfortable with mouse care as soon as possible, which unfortunately may be in the morning. There is not much you can do at home to stop/support seizure other than making sure there is nowhere in her cage that she can get trapped and then injured. So, I do recommend block off all tunnels and keep her on the lower level. Take out her toys and the water bowl (so she does not fall, if you have a crock.
Please let me know your questions.
She has been running on her mouse wheel and is interacting normally with her cage mate. Could it simply be that I scared her? :(
I certainly hope that htis was a one-time event, in which case it may not recur. But this is not a typical behavior when scared. Usually they run, and then leap great distances (to the floor) when frightened (the is the fright-flight scenario). When I see a patient with this that has continued seizure events I recommend starting with lab work (complete blood count and chemistry profile to help rule out problems like liver issues and insulinoma and infection). If the seziures are continuous then we must consider medication.
So, best bet is to monitor and see if this recurs. If not, then we throw a party and attribute this to a one-time event. If it continues, then off to the vet.
Can you think of any further questions, or did anything I mention seem confusing?
Are there other symptoms for any of the conditions that you mentioned?
Sometimes, but often our only sign is seizures. The liver disease may cause appetite loss and perhaps a yellow hue to the skin. The insulinoma might cause periods of weakness. The other issues we probably would only see seizures.
Honestly, the most common cause of seizures is idiopathic epilepsy. This is something we monitor and only if a mouse if having frequent seizures do we consider medication which works to slow them down.
Could you translate 'idiopathic' for me please?
Do they have things which can bring on fits?
Well, that is the tricky part...to figure out what causes it. It is the same issue in people or dogs to figure out the trigger. BUt stress can certainly bring on a seizure. Idiopathic means we don't know -- insert smile-- I like to tell people when something is "idiopathic" it means we are idiots and cannot figure out the cause (there are a lot of idiopathic conditions).
So stress of being handled after a while without would most definitely be a possible cause
Do you know any way I can keep her a stress free as possible?
They are spoilt mice and I'm happy to do what I can
Yes, absolutely. Stress of handling could have been a trigger. Now, that does not mean you should never handle her. You just want to do so in calm way, perhaps just in your palm and get her used to this. Treats work well. Feeding her favorite foods while holding her in your palm (but near her cage so she can jump away if she wants) is a good way to start. Many mice are skittish and don't like much handling.
Was that helpful? Please let me know if you have further questions; I don't see you typing.
They have never eaten in my hand or while out of their cage although they will accept food through the bars. I will go back to basics and see what happens. Thank you
That sounds like an excellent first step.
12 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine