How can I keep my mouse healthy?



Knowing a mouse’s normal behaviour will help you recognise when one of your pets is sick.  Experienced pet owners and breeders are adept at recognising when a pet is sick.  As you gain experience caring for your pets, especially if you develop a long-term interest, you will also become more proficient.  As with any pet animal’s health, prevention is always better than cure.  Always ensure that your mice are housed under clean conditions and that the housing is cleaned regularly; that they are fed the correct diet, and kept at an even temperature.  In short use common sense. Of course, sometimes even with the most lavish care and attention, mice can fall ill.  Often this is not the fault of their owner, sometimes illnesses can be hereditary or caught from infected mice at shows - your mice can even catch colds from you!

Wounds

Mice usually coexist quite happily in correctly structured groups.  Occasionally, however for whatever reason, fights can occur, more often than not between two males.  They seldom lead to the death of either protagonist but can lead to wounds that will need to be treated.  An untreated wound may get dirty and flare up into an abscess or even lead to a blood infection.

Remove the mouse from its cage and gently bathe its wounds in warm water.  If the wound looks particularly dirty, a very small amount of diluted antiseptic may be added to the water with which you clean it.  (Colloidal Silver can also be used).  If the wound has developed into an abscess, it will need to be opened and emptied.  This is done by gently squeezing any pus out into a tissue, be careful not to squeeze too hard and hurt the mouse - it may go into shock.  The abscess will then need to be bathed.  To make completely sure that all pus is cleared out the abscess, a drop of hydrogen peroxide or colloidal silver will do the trick.  Apply it to the abscess cavity, where it will bubble up upon contact with the flesh, forcing all the pus out of the cavity.

Mites
These small fur-dwelling parasites can occasional be brought in with untreated hay or sawdust, as well as by infected mice.  Treatment is twofold.  First, you will need to dip your mouse in a parasitic, which may be obtained from a pet shop or vet.  One dip should be enough to eliminate most of the mites on the mouse.  Next, a special “fly block” or pest strip, which will kill any remaining mites in the area, will need to be placed in the same room as the mouse’s cage.  Again, prevention is better than cure, so always have such a device set up if possible.

Diarrhoea
The symptoms of diarrhoea are very obvious - and smelly.  This points to too much green food or liquid food being given to your mouse.  Simply cut out all vegetables, fruit and “wet” food for a few days and feed only plain dry mix, with fresh drinking water always available.  The condition should soon right itself.  After a week or so, you can start feeding the greens again but in smaller quantities than before.  If the condition persists, it may be due to a bacterial infection, in which case you must consult your vet.

Colds
The symptoms of a cold in mice are the same as in humans: runny nose, sneezing, hunched-up appearance, lethargy and sore eyes.  Isolate a mouse with a cold in its own cage in a warmer environment, with extra bedding.  Feed it some nutritious supplement, such as bread and milk with cold-liver oil and extra vitamins added.  The cold should soon disappear and after a week or so, the mouse can be returned to a communal cage.