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 Post subject: Mouse with Distended Abdomen
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:57 am 
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Hello, I currently have four female mice that are about a year old. They live together in a 20 gallon long tank. I purchased them all at the same time at a pet store.

My one mouse, Stella, was constantly itching her ears. She was itching them to the point where they were bleeding and there were evident scabs around down her neck. I initially thought it was an allergy either to a new air freshener I placed in my room, or to some new foods I was trying. I give them Kaytee Forti-Diet Lab blocks as their staple diet with occasional sunflower and pumpkin seeds. They also get fresh fruits and vegetables 2-3 times a week (normally romaine lettuce, carrots, and strawberries) She also was eating some dwarf hamster mix, but not much of it. I would say I gave her and the other three mice 2 bowls of it. I also gave the four mice around 6 freeze-dried meal worms. I decided to get the mice a different treat mix so I bought them Higgins Sunburst Rat and Mouse food and only gave them one bowl of it.

Earlier this week, she was itching her ear pretty badly. It got to the point where it was bleeding. That has now gotten better and within the last three days she has developed a distended abdomen. When I touch it, she does not seem to be in any pain, but I do not palpate it hard. It is kind of squishy and even on both sides. Her fur greasy and her fur is sticking up. Her eyes are always half-closed to where it looks like she is squinting. Her activity level has decreased. She spends most of her time in her house either by herself or the three other mice who are not exhibiting any symptoms. She mostly isolates herself away from them during active hours (night time) but sleeps with them during the day in her bend-a-bridge. She is eating and drinking, but does not seem as interested. I am not sure whether or not she is urinating or defecating. For the past two days she was pooping on my hand when I picked her up, but she didn't do it today. Also, she normally moves around on my hands when I hold her, but today she just sat in my palm without moving at all.

If anyone has any idea what this could be or if anyone had a similar problem with their mouse/ mice, please let me know any information. I have done so much research, but there are so many possibilities. Also, the distended abdomen occurred within the past three days. She seems to be getting worse instead of better and I am getting worried about her. I am not against taking her to the vet, but if there are any remedies and treatment I can do in the meantime, that would be appreciated. I would hate to go to the veterinarian for them to tell me they can't do anything for her, especially since exotic vets are not cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Mouse with Distended Abdomen
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:29 pm 
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Hi, I just want to preface this with I don't know what is happening to your mouse but I've had three mice in the past exhibit similar symptoms to the ones you're describing. Other symptoms that went along with my mice that rapidly got very bloated were, squinty, sticky eyes, labored breathing, very decreased activity, no eating or drinking, no going to the bathroom and in the worst one, tumors around the neck and sides. In all cases, they had to be put down. I'm not saying that to scare you but look out for anything else that could pop up.

As for the itching, this could be put down to a few things; OCD/some other neurological tick, allergy to bedding, mites/lice which seems unlikely being no one else is scratching or like you said the food. Sunflower seeds are common allergy triggers in mice.

When my mice were bloated, I was suggested to use Karo which is a light corn syrup that can be found in the baking aisle of mouse grocery stores. Just get a teaspoon, mix it with water and heat it up so that it's warm, then let your mouse drink as much as she wants. It's sweet and thus likeable to them most of the time and hopefully it'll help with her bloating and let her go to the toilet if she hasn't been.

What does she look like? Is she pied/of a marked variety? It could be megacolon since they're prone to that and unfortunately the Karo syrup wouldn't work then.

Also it's a good idea to set up a little temporary ICU tank for her. You can use a small rubbermaid tub with a lid, a small glass tank if you have one, just something safe, not too small, and escape proof where you can keep a close eye and monitor her. Place paper towels down as the substrate, change as needed, put in some food and water, a hide and some nesting material so she's comfortable. I wouldn't put a wheel in or anything like that just so can get rest and use her energy to get better instead. This should help reduce stress since they're aren't other mice around either. Try to keep handling to a minimum.

I'd recommend not going to the vet, and I know that probably sounds cruel but it's normally no good for a mouse. Not only is it usually too late to help a mouse with symptoms showing as they hide illness as long as they physically can, but it causes very detrimental stress on them. Vets commonly misdiagnose mice and even if they get the illness correct, treatment often fails. Taking her to the vet's is a last resort option I feel, but ultimately that's your call of course, I know how difficult it must be to see your mouse unwell and not acting herself.

Here's a good article to read if you haven't seen it already. http://www.afrma.org/med_bloathotlonelymse.htm

In any case, I hope your mouse pulls through and that this was somewhat helpful at least. Good luck and best wishes to you and your mouse!


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 Post subject: Re: Mouse with Distended Abdomen
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:10 pm 
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One of my mice had a similar issue about a month ago. I never did figure out what was wrong with her, so I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but I figured I'd share my experience for just in case it can help someone.

The mouse, Pomona, is of pet store origin, was around 5 months old at the time, and appeared to be in good health prior to the issue. Seemingly overnight, her abdomen got bloated (fairly firm), her breathing became labored, she was fairly lethargic (although she still ran on her wheel sometimes), and her appetite decreased. Over the next week or so, her abdomen became more and more bloated (she looked like she'd swallowed a golf ball) and her breathing became increasingly labored to the point where she was opening her mouth and gasping for air. I took her to the vet; they weren't sure what the issue was, but prescribed antibiotics in case it was a bacterial infection of some sort. I gave her the antibiotics for the next ten days as instructed by the vet. After a day or so on the antibiotics, her abdomen was noticeably less bloated and she was breathing more easily. Within 48 hours of starting antibiotics, she was back to normal. However, a couple days later she relapsed (in terms of both bloating and labored breathing). I really thought she was going to die, but then she recovered a few days later, and that time she stayed recovered. None of her cagemates got sick, so I don't think it was anything very contagious. I suspect that the breathing issues were caused by the pressure of her bloated abdomen on her diaphragm and lungs, as they seemed to directly correlate, but of course correlation doesn't equal causation, and I don't really know for sure.

Anyway, best of luck to you and your mouse. Sending good wishes your way!


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