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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As most of you know, meeces are prone to cancer, especially in the case of females, in whom mammary cancer is likely to occur in about 15 to 20%, especially as the doe sets older. It's a sad thing to see, but I think I have stumbled across a solution. When I started keeping mousies, I used commercially available rodent mix, but as the population increased, I started to use lab blocks. This proved to be quite expensive (I have a very large mousery with 150-200 individuals at any given time), so I did some research and began to travel to a feed mill where I bought ingredients and mixed my own mousie chow. I noticed that my little darlings were frequently not eating the cracked corn in the mix, so I stopped including it. In the next half year, I noticed that I had very few new cases of cancer in my mousery.

Part of their diet included a piece of dry pet food given every other day, so I checked the ingredients and found that corn was in the top four ingredients by weight, and other corn derived products in lesser quantity. It took some looking, but I found a brand of kibble that had no corn or corn products at all. After tweaking the diet to exclude all corn and corn products, the rate of tumors fell to near zero. In the last eight years I have had only about four mousies (of those born and raised in my mousery) develop tumors. Now I'm a zealot encouraging all rodent keepers to try a corn free diet on their darlings.

Later, I found another breeder who had a similar experience, but since then she's disappeared from sight. I wish I could provide citations to articles discussing this, but I'm not sure those articles exist. Corn and peanuts are the things that are also likely to the cause of skin, eye, and ear problems in mousies. If you look at some of the premium brands of dry pet food, you'll see that the ones that are made for pets with allergies or digestive problems have no corn in them. One wonders if there's any reason at all to feed stuff with corn in it to pets at all, other than the corn being cheap.
 

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I don't use corn as part of my mouse diet specifically, though I don't know how much if any is in the dog food I use. However I don't have a high rate of tumours - I can't comment whether this has anything to do with corn though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The corn free dry pet foods are a few bucks more, but it might be worth a try. Considering all the time and care goes into raising mousies, it's a small price to pay. I had someone suggest I that I do a double blind test, but I just can't bring myself to do something that I feel would be harmful to my meeces. I thought about getting a bunch of feeder mice to experiment on with corn, but even that would be hard for me. Geez, I couldn't even kill a tiny baby wild mousie when I uprooted it's nest in my composter and it's mother ran off. It's eyes were open, so I nursed it along for a few weeks and them put it back out where it came from.

Corn has been implicated in multiple ways as a cause of illness both rodents and other mammals, including humans. I love to eat popcorn, and would have a hard time giving it up, but I suspect that cooked corn may not be as bad as raw corn. I could very well be wrong about that; believe me, I have scoured the Web for info on this subject. the only other thing I found out is that blue/purple corn is loaded with anti-oxidants. It would appear that foods with those pigments usually do have a lot of good phytochemicals (a trendy word that is probably bandied about too much ;)).
 

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I'm happy with the food I use (I've always mixed my own from straights and other foods since we don't really get lab blocks over here) so I won't be switching. I might have considered it if I had a problem with tumours in my mice but since I don't and I have spent a long time working out which foods my mice do best on I won't be changing. If anyone has a problem this could be something to look at though. I too have seen an article online about corn causing cancer in rodents, possibly on Rodentfancy.
 
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