I think my mouse is sick, but I'm not sure: help! - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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I think my mouse is sick, but I'm not sure: help!

I currently have 4 mice: 2 male, 2 female. I have a 5 gallon tank which Missy (female, 'Frizzy' type) and her 9 healthy pups are in. And I have a 10 gallon tank which I have a clear thick plastic divider separating it. On one side is Nickle (male, 'Silver' type) and Popcorn (female, 'Lethal Yellow' type), and the other side is Toby (male, 'Long hair-Broken marked black' type).

Long story/Their history:
This is first time owning mice. They were supposed to be live feeder mice for my bf's snake, but they were too cute so I kept a couple as pets.
Before I just had Toby and Nickle, and they chilled in the same tank together; it was cute, they were like brother, so tight with each other. Then got a female and she started causing problem.... Toby's a little... different, I swear he's a dog... He's the calmest mouse ever; loves pets, ear and lower jaw scratches, will just hang out in between your legs (when you sit cross legged). So whenever I took him over to my bf's house for a sleep over, he'd always get picked on by the other mice, such a pansy.
Anyways, We went to get more feeder mice and I really liked the gold one that we got, so we kept her. There was another gold (male) mouse which I would assume his Popcorn's brother. He seemed kinda sick?? He was sneezing when we got him. BF fed that one to his snake later that night because he feared that that mouse would get the other ones sick.
Back ta my place, once I got the female in, Nickle started getting aggressive and attacking Toby all the time. So I ended up getting a 10 gallon tank, and putting in a divider. Worked well for about a week. Sure Nickle would try and get at Toby, but they plastic was doing it's job. (Nickle and Popcorn stay on the same side as they get along and I want them to breed.)
But last night, I heard fighting. I just thought it was Nickle and Popcorn getting they're hump on, cause I've heard them go at it before late in the night.
I get up this morning to see that Toby had gotten a rip in his ear!! I bet Toby was chilling by the divider (at the sides, there's like a 2mm gap) and Nickle managed to nip him. But this isn't the first time Toby's been attacked, so I figured he'll be fine. (At bf's house one night, Nickle's brother, attacked Toby and nipped his bum a little, they're full healed and A-OK now)

Short story/main point:
After comforting Toby a bit, I noticed he's almost consistently sneezing. Yesterday morning he was sneezing just a little bit, but it lasted a whole 10 minutes. I assumed he was like me when I get up in the morning and am groggy and sneezy, which later passes as I become more awake).
But his sneezing right now has lasted a couple hours, and sometimes when he breathes hard, it kinda sounds like mice taking a drink from a hanging water bottle and it makes that 'lap lap lap lap' sound from the metal ball clanking.
Nickle and Popcorn haven't shown any sneezy symptoms and they're all in the same tank with just a piece of plastic separating them.

Facts:
-I use aspen bedding
-I've only had him for about a month so it can't be old age
-His poop is still the same as when I got him, ergo health bowels? (lol...)
-No fogginess in the eyes
-No discharges from anywhere
-Breathing seems a little bit irregular from the norm on occasion
-Still eating normal amounts on a regular basis
-Other than the sneezing, he seems ok

So any ideas as to what he might have and/or things I can do to make him better?

I was *maybe* thinking he might have developed some sort of asthma problem?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 02:39 PM
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Sounds to me either its winter sneezing OR its the beginnings of a URI


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzysangel View Post
Sounds to me either its winter sneezing OR its the beginnings of a URI
What's URI?
And is 'winter sneezing' just sorta like a cold?
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 03:51 PM
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A URI is an Upper Respiratory Infection which needs immediate vet care and winter sneezing is mostly caused from dry air, do you have a humidifier? He could also have developed an allergy to aspen I have a female mouse who was housed on aspen for 6 months and suddenly developed an allergy to it.


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 05:15 PM
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I would seek vet help; if it is a respiratory infection, he could be much too sick to save very quickly.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, I'll call some to some vets tomorrow and see if anyone will treat a mouse (I know some places might not because it's such a small animal).

Update
: His sneezing has stopped later in the day. He wheezes just a tiny bit here and there, but not as much as this morning (maybe every 3-4 hours now for just like 10 seconds)
I got him a 2.5 gallon tank today, *just in case* he is sick with something so he doesn't spread it to anyone else and so Nickle can stop being a douche and attacking him.
He seems much better than he was this morning and has been chilling with me for the past couple hours. But I think I'll still get him checked out just in case.
(Disclaimer: Don't hate me for saying this, but it's kinda just facts and the way of life)I figure, most people would be like "It's a mouse, whatever, it'll die in a year anyways". yeah that's true. BUT, Toby's really different. As mean as it might be to say, but if it was Nickle or someone else, I wouldn't care as much and if they got worse, just feed them to my bf's snake (as what their original purpose was), but like I said, Toby is really something special.


Now I do have a separate question, I heard this is true for other species, but is it true for mice as well: In one tank, is it better/ok to have more females than males and have them not attack each other??

Because now that I have a 10 gallon tank with only two mice... I kinda wanna have maybe two more in there... But I'm scared Nickle will get aggressive again and then I'd have to get another tank (or just feed them to the snake... I tend to chose my pet mice from live feed for some reason, lol)...

Oh here's another question actually: What are some good treats to give to a slightly picker eater? It's mainly for Toby... I swear he's a dog and my dog is a cat.... *facepalm*. I googled that 'milk-bone' dog treats are a good treat to give mothers that just had a litter, a little boost of nutrition. She eats them, Toby LOVES them. But can you suggestion anything else as a good treat and or nutrition booster for a new mother?
Is milk ok to give to them?

Last edited by Hyokenseisou; 02-25-2010 at 01:04 AM.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 05:24 AM
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I would not house males and females in the same tank. Even if you are breeding them for feeders, you're going to end up with way too many babies for just a few snakes in a very short period of time. In addition, the females will be backbred repeatedly, which is really quite cruel to them and can kill them.

Personally, I think most herpers would be uncomfortable feeding a sick mouse to their snake.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 05:35 AM
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Just to be clear: Your goal is breeding right?

Others have had more first hand experience with breeding mice and will correct me if I'm giving wrong information but this is some of what I've read:

The harem approach: One male in a female colony of 2-4. Remove the male when the females are pregnant before babies are born as females can be rep-impregnated within a few short hours after delivery and back to back pregnancies are stressful to their little bodies and make them sick or kill them. Females will usually help each other rear the pups if there is enough space. If they get over crowded or they don't get along, there may be higher cases of infanticide. If you are interested in breeding statistics this model is problematic as you can't keep accurate records of what baby belongs to who since they like to play musical pups. If you're breeding for your herps or just want a buttload of mice it matters less. (females can get pregnant I think at 5 weeks old, females come into heat every few days, give birth in less than a month, can become pregnant again immediately upon delivery, and will have litters of 5-20 each time so do the math *eek! a lot of eekers *)

The 1 on 1 approach: 1 male, and 1 female. Once again, remove male when female is pregnant. Upside: Easier to keep birthing records. Downside: If something goes wrong with female, it's harder to raise the surviving pups.

What I'm not sure about is, if you use the 1 on 1 approach but are breeding females at the same time in separate cages. If something happens to one female, would the other females readily adopt the pups since they are unfamiliar in scent? Someone else might know this one.


If you don't want to breed, either neuter them (I don't know of any vet around here who will do that for mice) or the common housing practice is a colony of females. Size depends on size of tank enclosure....I found 8-10 females in a 20 gallon tank was a manageable size for sanitation and mousy stress with overcrowding. Since you have a 10 gallon, I guess that would be 4-5 adult females in one tank). Small colonies of males can sometimes be kept together safely in separate tanks if they were born and raised together, but their innate aggression prevents most males from being housed safely: Usually they eventually kill each other.

I don't know for sure, but it seems to me that housing more than one male with females would increase aggression since they actively have breeding rights to compete over.

Edit: I just thought of this, I have seen people successfully keep their mice in big storage bins from the home improvement stores. Just be wary of their chewing ability and any odd curves in the plastic that little teeth can latch on to.


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Last edited by Storyseeker; 02-25-2010 at 05:56 AM.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 05:43 AM
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If you'd like to see a good cautionary tale on keeping mixed sexes together check out what ozzyangel is going through:

First Thread:

http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f16/n...ues-56163.html

Follow Up Thread:

http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f16/h...man-56189.html


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyokenseisou View Post
Ok, I'll call some to some vets tomorrow and see if anyone will treat a mouse (I know some places might not because it's such a small animal).

Update
: His sneezing has stopped later in the day. He wheezes just a tiny bit here and there, but not as much as this morning (maybe every 3-4 hours now for just like 10 seconds)
I got him a 2.5 gallon tank today, *just in case* he is sick with something so he doesn't spread it to anyone else and so Nickle can stop being a douche and attacking him.
He seems much better than he was this morning and has been chilling with me for the past couple hours. But I think I'll still get him checked out just in case.
(Disclaimer: Don't hate me for saying this, but it's kinda just facts and the way of life)I figure, most people would be like "It's a mouse, whatever, it'll die in a year anyways". yeah that's true. BUT, Toby's really different. As mean as it might be to say, but if it was Nickle or someone else, I wouldn't care as much and if they got worse, just feed them to my bf's snake (as what their original purpose was), but like I said, Toby is really something special.
I didn't respond to this part of your post, so thought I would.

My thought is, if he is sick and it's respiratory, then it may likely spread to the other mice anyway since they share the same air space. But good that you've gotten a 'sick' cage. Sine if he's not stressed by the other mice as he has been, he may heal better.

And your Disclaimer: Nah, at least for me, there's no hating. I've got no problems with people breeding for herps. Snakes gotta eat too. My thoughts are as long as any animal is kept in humane and healthy settings to the best of the owner's ability, it's just being practical that some end up as food for other animals.

Some people feel passionately about only offering dead prey. To me that's also a case of practicality because it's just sensible husbandry. More than anything because it reduces the stress for both animals, and the potential for avoidable injury for the herp, and as we know, herps are notoriously hard to recover from injury because of their slow metabolisms.

I'm with you on the fact that some of them are just special. Most of my mice had something extra cool going for them. One was Spidermouse. One was my pocket buddy. One fell in love with my son. One was just a bundle of dominant personality. I think it's sad that any animal's worth might be proportional only to their longevity. As much fun as I had with my mice, I can testify that isn't true. It's more important how much time is spent with the animal while it's alive, since that's the only way we bond with them.

And you know, I actually prefer the shorter lifespans. I'm in a busy and changeable lifestyle and the short lifespans mean I can offer them the best possible care for their entire lives and not fear that a change in circumstances will force me to make other choices for their care. I didn't get any less enjoyment out of my mice because I only had them for 3 years.

Anyway, I know I've posted like crazy here. I'll back away from the keyboard for now and let someone else jump in.


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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@Jennicat:
Yes I know males can impregnate a female withing hours of giving birth or the related. I had a separate tank for breeding/to house mothers with babies. So yeah, as soon as I see someone is pregnant, I'd take them out and put them in a different 'no males' tank (or take the male out). I know that much.

@Story Seeker:
Yes, my goal is to breed. I'm quite aware mouse breed very quickly, but I'm not concerned about the numbers I'll have in a short time. I'm more so worried about them attacking each other if I have a bad male:female ratio.
And worse case, if I DO end up with too many, even for snake food, there's three other options I would take:
1) freeze them for future snake food
2) sell some as snake food
3) donate some to friends as pets (as I have a lot of 'Furry' friends)

idk, personally I like longer life spans, because then I can spent even more time with them.

@Ozzyangel's story: wow! That's a lot! If I was living in my own place, I'd totally do the same think and adopt them all. But not gonna lie, most of then I would probably sell for live feed.... As where I live, there's only ONE store in the whole city that sell live feed, everywhere else is frozen. And I know a couple people that'd wanna give their snake or whatever some live feed every so often.
But of course like Toby, I'd keep the cute and unique ones.

Haha and no worries about posting lots here, it's cool to know someone cares enough to chat it up with me. I only wish I could post pics to show you my cuties... but apparently i have to wait til I post 30 times... GAYY!!


Another update: He pretty much stopped sneezing and wheezing the rest of the night and was totally fine, just chilled in between my legs for a few hours (when I sit cross-legged).
Picked him just now for the first time today (woke the poor little guy up!) and he's a bit sneezy... So there seems to be a pattern; he's only sneezy when he first gets up.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzysangel View Post
A URI is an Upper Respiratory Infection which needs immediate vet care and winter sneezing is mostly caused from dry air, do you have a humidifier? He could also have developed an allergy to aspen I have a female mouse who was housed on aspen for 6 months and suddenly developed an allergy to it.
Ah gotcha.

Ok well it's *say* it's not URI and it's winter sneezing. Cause I know I get itchy skin when it's dry out. But if that's the case, then how come only Toby is sneezy from the dryness and not anyone else? It's it cause of the whole 'personality' difference sorta thing?

And yeah, I wouldn't not count the allergy thing... Like myself, I used to drink milk all the time, until recently I random became lactose-intolerant; and not just a little, like a lot. And my sister also randomly because allergic to cherries.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 06:25 PM
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The others might be handling the dryness better then him, but by the sounds of it he's most likely becoming allergic to the bedding where the others arent


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzysangel View Post
The others might be handling the dryness better then him, but by the sounds of it he's most likely becoming allergic to the bedding where the others arent
What other kind of bedding do you suggest then?
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 07:18 PM
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I suggest paper type bedding you can even make your own using shredded paper, I myself use Fibercore Eco bedding which is really cheap and goes a long way, pine and cedar are a no no, you can also use Carefresh.


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