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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 20920
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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what should i do about my sick mouse

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what should i do about my sick mouse

Hello & welcome to Just Answer/Pearl. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Can you tell me what signs you are seeing with your ill mouse?

Your previous treatments lead me to believe that you think she may be constipated.
If this is the case, can you tell when the last time she passed feces?

Is she straining to go?
Are you sure she can urinate normally?

Does she have a bloated appearing belly?
If she does, is it hard or soft?

Does she live on her own or with another mice?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
we think she is constipated , she lives with one other mouse
she has a hunched back, i dont know if she can urinate normaly, she pooped ten minutes ago, the poo was mishapen, the mouse was dehydrated earlier, when we put her down she lies down and refuses to move
Thank you for the additional information.

If you are seeing feces being passed (even abnormally shaped feces), then constipation is unlikely here for this wee one. This is because for any formed feces to pass through her there must be room in the gut for it to move through. If her GI was obstructed (by foreign material or feces from constipation), then the only type of feces we could see would be pure liquid diarrhea since that would be all that could squeeze by whatever was blocking the gut.

Therefore, I'd be more concerned that the feces situation is due to her trying to hold her feces (thus leading to them being harder or strangely shaped) because something is causing her pain (and the muscular action of passing feces is likely even more painful for her). This being hunched up and unwilling to move once you put her down is very suggestive of severe pain. Since mice are very small in stature, it can be difficult to localize where she is experiencing discomfort but hunching is often a response to pain of the back or the abdominal contents.

Therefore, I would be more concerned that this could be a mouse who have experienced a recent pain inducing trauma and now is too sore to eat/drink/pass feces comfortably. Or, an even more worrying issue, is that she may not be able to urinate. This is more often a problem for male animals but if she has experienced a urinary blockage due to a bladder stone then she won't be able to urinate, will be very sore, and will deteriorate quickly as the unpassed urinary toxins leech into her blood and cause toxemia (which can be fatal). And of course, we do have to consider any disease (ie infection, tumor, inflammation) of internal organs could also manifest as pain and collapse in the mouse.

So, while there are other constipation relieving options (ie canned pumpkin, feline hairball treatments, metamucil, etc), I am quite concerned that this is not a constipated mouse. Furthermore, I am quite concerned you have a severely painful mouse with a late stage condition that is progressing to a stage where she is severely affected (since prey species instinctually hide illness and she is obviously too ill to do even that) and could carry a guarded prognosis without intervention.

Therefore, in this situation, it would really be prudent to have her examined by a vet in person. They can determine by palpation (or by popping the ultrasound probe on her belly) if she does have a blocked bladder or if there are any abdominal masses or issues triggering her pain. They can also provide mouse safe pain relief (ie metacam) to allay her discomfort. Depending on their findings, they can give you an idea if this will be something you can treat or if this is something that requires you to end her suffering.

Just in case cost is a concern, you can take advantage of the free first consult offer that both VCA veterinary hospitals (LINK) and Banfield Veterinary hospitals (LINK) offer. This would be a means to have a vet check her in person and aid you in relieving her current suffering.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

Dr. B.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We called the veterinarians in our area. The earliest appointment we can get is 10am Monday. Until then we will dote on her. She is snuggling with her "sister" right now. Is there anything else we can do to help her feel comfortable?
Hi again,

That is such a shame that they couldn't just fit her in today or even during the Saturday morning surgery. Perhaps just double check the vet database for the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians @ to see if there is perhaps an exotics vet in the area who might be keen to see her sooner.

Otherwise, in regards to supportive care for her over the weekend,the focus needs to be on keeping her comfortable, warm, hydrated, and ideally continuing to get nutrition into her. Furthermore, we want to monitor her for urination since no urination will bode for poorly for her overall prognosis. Also we do want to avoid human pain medication use for her because they can have serious side effects for animals (even more so in mice who are not eating properly).

Now sometimes we do need to move them to a small hospitalization pen depending on their current cage set up. Ideally, we want her in a small one leveled cage with easy access to food and water. As well, we tend to use soft substrates (ie newspaper, washcloths, etc) since she is so recumbent. If she is comfortable with her sister, then they can be kept together but we do have to appreciate that it may be a bit harder to monitor her outputs with her sister sharing the cage.

Now I suspect part of snuggling with sis is due to her being chilled. And if we have a chilled mouse, we do want to make sure we are supporting her by keeping her warm (to let her use her limited energy resources for fighting this underlying disease) You can do this by placing heating pad under half the cage or a heat lamp can be used. Whichever you technique, you should monitor the temperature closely, since it sounds like we have to be concerned that she cannot be relied completely upon to move herself if she were getting too warm. And we obviously don’t want to overheat her. An alternative here to consider would be to make a safe warmer from a clean sock filled 2/3rd full with uncooked white rice. Tie it closed and microwave (approx 1-1.5 min). Make sure to shake it before adding it to the cage, to allow the heat to distribute. Make sure its not too hot (as we don’t want to burn her). If it cools, you can re-warm as required. But again, no matter which warming approach you use, do keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't overheat.

Furthermore, the lack of appetite and drinking is terribly concerning and needs your support. Because often it isn't the agent they have contracted that pushes over the edge, it is the starvation and dehydration that does it. Therefore, do try hand feeding her favorite foods at this point (which I am sure you have). If she isn’t willing to eat, you may have to start syringe feeding her. For pocket pet species like mice, I do tend to use the Oxbow’s Critical Care feed for anorexic pocket pets. (HERE) or Supreme Recovery diet (LINK) . These are highly nutritious herbivore feeds that can be easily made into a slurry for syringe feeding. And it is much easier to use then trying to create a balanced critical care diet at home. This is available over the counter at most vets and some pet stores. But while you are looking into procuring one, you can use veggie baby foods (a bit of fruit but not too much) to get some nutrition and fluids into her.

In regards to the drinking, baby food or the herbivore slurries will be a means of getting some fluids in. But if she isn’t drinking and you are concerned that she might be becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage her to drink by offering fresh water that can be flavored with a small volume of juice to tempt her to drink for you. Alternatively, pedialyte or diluted Gatorade (50% diluted with water) can be offered. These will help replenish electrolytes and get some glucose into her system if she hasn’t been eating (and hopefully perk her up a bit). You can also give pedialyte via dropper of syringe. A typical dose for animals is 4.8mls per 100 grams of body weight per day (obviously divided over all day drinking). This is just an average but will give you an idea of how much fluid she should be taking in over the course of a 24 hour period (this does also include the amount of water in the food you are feeding).

Overall, it is a shame that they cannot see her sooner to aid you in helping this wee one. Still I would advise above for supporting her over the weekend to keep her comfortable at home.

Best to the wee lass,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you so much for this awesome advice. We really do appreciate your help.
You are very welcome.

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I wish you the very best for this wee one.
Take care,
Dr. B.
Hi Alex,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?