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Scratching mouse - help please!

Discussion in 'Small Animal Chat' started by Julie 65, Sep 24, 2018.


  1. Julie 65

    Julie 65 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, I have several questions so please bear with me.
    I've kept mouse for the last year and adore these little creatures (they are actually my daughters but she is now at Uni so I became a mouse mum). I have 3 mouse together in a cage (and 3 babies kept separately). My oldest mouse Ellie, now 14 months, started scratching and very quickly lost fur and part of her ear. She has been to the vets and been treated for mites (first treatment given by the vet) and had antibiotics. I had separated her from her friends whilst she had her antibiotics and I also mite treated her friends too. I've stripped down the cages and disinfected everything, put the toys and the bedding in the freezer for 24 hours once cleaned. They went straight into disinfected cages once treated. I have two sets of everything so the cages, toys and snuggle sacks get thoroughly cleaned every week normally anyway. I only use paper bedding but clearly this is where the mites have come from. The other two mice in the cage (8 month old sisters) have scratched a bit but not much but it seems to have really effected little Ellie. Now she has finished her antibiotics I have put her back with her friends as she was clearly getting lonely. They are all due for a second mite treatment next week. They hated it but a bit of banana afterwards seemed to take their mind off it. I've been told to bring her back to the vet after her second treatment if she is still scratching, which I will do.
    Questions:
    Little Ellie is still scratching so much and it's heartbreaking to see her. Is there anything else I can do? Is there something that will ease this for her?
    I know I can spray their bedding with Ivermectin, which I have bought and that it should be a 1:5 solution but when do I do this, how often? Just when they have the mites or prophylactically? I don't want to overdose them.
    Can anyone recommend a good quality paper bedding easily available in the UK? I want to avoid this again if at all possible, it's the first time in over a year any of my girls have had a problem.
    I feel absolutely terrible that my girls have had to go through this so any advice would be gratefully received.
     
  2. AnnB

    AnnB PetForums Member

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    I've kept mice for many years and have also been a member of a mouse forum where this discussion comes up regularly. Some mice seem really prone to this excessive scratching and us mouse mums have tried numerous treatments in consultation with vets. I had all manner of skin scrapes and biopsies done at the vets on some of my mice and then when I started to get itchy and raw patches of skin myself, my doctor finally managed to diagnose a fungal infection. The course of action that works best for me is to treat the individual mice with Ivermectin as you are doing but I also treat the mice with Lamisil (Terbinafine) cream (for fungal infections). I also found some research online which suggested that mice with mites would scratch and abrade the skin, allowing a fungal (ringworm type) infection to set in so you needed to treat for both. The trouble is of course that putting any creams etc. on the mice only cause them to scratch more but I found it was well worth persevering. I alternated the mite and fungal treatments but it would be worth seeking more advice from your vet on this.

    I don't think it's possible to completely avoid mites altogether by changing to a different bedding. You're already using a paper bedding and I think I would stick with that. I reckon it's more likely that mites are brought in on their food - wherever they come from they always find a way! I've never tried to spray bedding with an Ivermectin solution, again I would seek your vet's advice on that but I think fungal spores are far more difficult to get rid of than mites are.
     
  3. Julie 65

    Julie 65 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you AnnB, that is really helpful. I feel so sorry for my little girl, almost want to put scratch mittens and a vest on her! They have all had their second treatment now which is a challenge in itself but just took some perseverance and a good aim! Ellie has always been very timid, she will sit and eat from my hand but not much else, the other two are rescue and were scared of their own shadow, one is quite highly strung and used to nip when she got scared or stressed. I have managed to stop her now but they are both still very wary. They don't like being handled and are not cuddly like my previous girls have been so treating them takes takes some patience. Ellie is still scratching but it has calmed a little, she does have a couple of sore patches but also some fur loss spots where the skin has healed. She otherwise seems really fit and well, she is eating and drinking well and still shins up the bars with ease even though she is now getting on a bit. She is quite a small delicate little thing with a wonderful gentle disposition, just quite shy. I will take her back to the vets again this week and talk to her, it's so awful watching her scratch.
    I have switched bedding, I had to change to Carefresh ago a couple of months as I couldn't get the one I was using before, but now I have just bought Fitch. I hadn't even considered they might get mites from the food. So far my three baby girls in the other cage seemed to have escaped scratch free.
    Thank you again.
     
  4. AnnB

    AnnB PetForums Member

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    Fingers crossed the mite treatment is working. If the skin is beginning to heal in some places it does sound like it is. I have two methods for trying to apply the spot-on Ivermectin to difficult mice. The easiest one is to buy some of that malt paste for ferrets, mice usually love it and I smear a small blob of it onto the side of their food dish, then when they are occupied licking it off I drop the Ivermectin onto their backs. The second method is to cut a small hole in the side of a toilet roll tube, mice will normally feel quite safe going into a tube and I block off the ends against my body and one hand once a mouse is inside, then with the other hand I pop the Ivermectin onto the mouse through the small hole I made in the side of the tube.

    You would definitely struggle to apply a fungal cream to mice that aren't easy to handle but if the skin is already beginning to heal I wouldn't attempt it anyway in case it makes them scratch all the more.

    Have you tried shredding your junk mail to use as bedding? It's great and it's free (remember to remove staples first though).
     
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