Pet mice, or fancy mice as you may call them, are pretty healthy animals generally speaking. Most owners will never come across any pet mouse health problems, and there won’t be expensive trips to the vets. A couple of huge pro points when it comes to choosing mice as pets.
There are instances however when mice can get sick. Being aware of what to look for and what to do should this happen is part of the responsibility of being a rodent owner.
Typically the signs will be loss of appetite, lots of scratching and itching, aggressive behavior, not wanting to be handled, and just a real sense that your mouse is not acting as normal. Should you encounter any of the above, here are some of the health issues that may be the reason.
Pet Mouse Health Problems
Lice are horrible little insects that will set up home in the fur on a mouse and feed off their blood. If your mouse is itching a lot, looks like it’s not sleeping and is weak, this might be the reason.
Look for signs of eggs or lice on their skin. Gently lift the fur in a backwards motion and it shouldn’t take too long to establish if this is the problem.
Rodents are susceptible to tumors. If you see or feel a lump on your mouse while holding it then you need to take a trip to the vet’s to get the lump identified.
Tumours can be removed in some cases. But you can’t do anything without professional advice.
Pneumonia is more common in mice than you would imagine. First signs are labored breathing, wheezing, sneezing, and inflamed eyes. It’s a horrible condition that progresses quickly.
It is treatable if caught early enough however. A vet will administer antibiotics that can clear up the infection and have your beloved pet back to normal pretty quickly. The key is recognizing the signs and taking action.
Yes, mice sneeze just like we do. It’s a small sneeze and not very loud, but if you see it there is no mistaking it. It might just be an allergic reaction to their bedding, so think about that if you’ve change it recently.
It may however be something a little more serious. Such as a cold, if they seem to be getting worse each day then you will need to get them checked out by a professional.
Mites are nasty little parasites that attach themselves to the skin of a mouse. They jump across hosts and can increase in number pretty quickly too. So it’s one to catch early if you want an easier time getting rid of them.
They actually eat dead skin primarily. Irritating the mouse and causing discomfort. You can pick up a spray that will kill of the infestation, and along with a through clean of the cage your mice should be fine.
Being overweight, or obese, is a global problem and mice are just as at risk. They difference here is that you will likely be to blame if they become obese as you are feeding them.
So not matter how tempting it is, how cute they look, don’t overdo the treats. An obese mouse is at serious risk of heart issues and will struggle to breath. Get that mouse on the exercise wheel!
Pinworms are parasites that live inside the intestines of mice and are passed though contaminated food and poop. Diarrhoea is the main indicator that mice have intestinal parasites.
A medical professional is best placed to offer advice of how to move forward. If you have any suspicions don’t leave it, always seek help.
Like most rodents, mice teeth never stop growing. With the availability of enough chewing toys they will keep their teeth trimmed and under control. However some mice will not be able to do this for a number of reasons.
If you see teeth sticking out from their mouths, or problems while eating have a good look inside their mouths. It’s not difficult to spot problematic teeth and a clipping is an easy solution.
Injuries from Fighting
It’s quite distressing to see injuries from fighting. Male mice can become aggressive and they can be quite nasty to each other. If it’s a serious injury or prolonged fighting you will need to separate the mice.
See if you can identify the reason for fighting. Are they too cramped? Is there a female in season? Do something to resolve the problem and introduce the mice back together slowly.
Mousepox is a disease that is potentially fatal. It’s transmitted virally and can spread across a group of mice very quickly. There are lots of symptoms, such as; swelling, patchy fur, lethargic behavior.
You will certainly need to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible if you suspect that your mice have mousepox.
Barbering is a condition that means your mice are biting at their own fur as well as the fur of other mice. This leads to patchy fur and the mice become irritated and will scratch a lot.
You’ll need to separate the mice as you would do for mice that fight. It rarely stops happening without some form of intervention. It’s not a huge health risk, but it certainly needs resolving.
Always seek professional help from a vet if you have any concerns about pet mouse health problems with your own mice. Some vets specialize in small rodents, so it’s always worth researching to see if you have one near you and make yourself aware of their contact details.
But I want to point out again that mice are fun pets, easy to look after, and don’t get sick often. Don’t let this article scare you or talk you out of adopting mice. The chance of experiencing any of the above is very slim.