Posted: July 30, 2013, 1:50 p.m. EDT
Healthy mice have bright eyes, a smooth coat and no problems with mobility.
Q: I have a pet mouse. It’s still very little and young, as I only got him yesterday at the shop. He was normal when I brought him home, but this morning I noticed the left eye stays shut and there’s some mucus building up around the eye. I used a damp tissue to wipe it off, and he managed to open it again. But now, he is leaning on his right side and so it looks like he is lying on his right. When he walks, he leans to his right and his left legs kind of just drag along the rest of his body. When I picked him up and held him in my hand, he kept rolling to the right over and over. So I closed my hand and secured him so that he would stop rolling. What is wrong with my little mouse? Is there anything that I can do to help?
A: Since this mouse has been with you for such a short time, it is sad that he appears so sick. The signs that you describe are very serious. They could be due to infections, congenital issues or even lack of proper nutrients since you say the mouse is very little and young.
You could call or visit the shop that you got your mouse from and ask if they know of any diseases or conditions in other mice in the same litter. You could also find a veterinarian who is familiar with mouse diseases and conditions so he or she can help both diagnose and treat this little guy.
Q: My mouse is losing fur, and I was wondering if it could be any way related to us moving.
A: Mice commonly lose fur with certain skin diseases. Bacterial and fungal infections of the skin will cause a mouse to lose his fur. Very commonly parasites on the skin will cause the hair to fall out. Sometimes, irritants in the environment will cause the mouse to scratch and fur may come out due to the scratching. There are some endocrine diseases we worry about that can lead to fur loss. Finally, even stress can be a factor in fur loss.
A move can definitely trigger fur loss for a few reasons — a new environment with irritants in the area, parasites from previous pet mice that were in the house or room, and possibly the stress from moving.
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