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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, a while back I got some mice from a guy who was moving and could not take them with him. He said he had been breeding the mice for a few generations already. The males had beautiful colors. They are not show quality or anything, it was just different from the solid colored mice at the pet stores. I am a feeder breeder. I have been breeding for over a year now. Now, here is the problem:

It always seems to be the male mice that get sick at about 4-6 months. They get little sores on their face first, followed by sneezing, gooey eyes, then death (if not caught early enough). At first I thought it was mites so I changed their bedding for a while, they didn't get better. I tried a spray but I never found out if it worked or not because I had a wild mouse invade my cages and kill the sick males. I have since gotten new bedding and it is back again. I have two males at the moment that I am spraying with a mite and lice spray and it doesn't seem to be working.

About these males: They are they offspring of the first males I was talking about. I have enjoyed the look of them so much that I tried to keep it in the bloodlines.

My questions: Is this possibly genetic and will keep happening? My females of a different blood line don't seem to have any problems. Also, any idea on what I can do to get these guys better? I hate to see them suffer, and there are no vets around here that know anything about mice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was using walmart pine bedding. I finally found a feed store (it just opened up) that I can buy much cleaner bedding from though. It would still be pine. I can't find A LOT of aspen bedding though for a reasonable price so I am stuck with pine for now. The little bags of aspen bedding at the pet stores just don't cut it. I have a lot of mice! I am going to increase colony size too so I can support the hawks and other predator birds of a nearby wild animal infirmary.
 

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You *need* to check whether or not the bedding you are using is kiln dried and dust extracted. If the bedding is not dried properly, this is probably what is killing your mice, as pine wood has chemicals in it that is lethal to rodents!

W xx
 

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I've been reading about pine recently because I didn't want to write if off without learning about it myself. Basically, the chemicals it emits are toxins (which are reduced but not eliminated by kiln drying) and the mouse's liver & kidneys have to work hard to filter as much out of the blood as they can. They can get overloaded and sustain damage which makes them less effective at removing toxins from the mouse's body and can result in a suppressed immune system. I wonder if your bucks are from a line that's particularly sensitive to the pine chemicals or have delicate livers/kidneys or something, as the unrelated mice aren't having the same problems. Total guess though - it might be something else entirely.

You could test it by keeping them on something neutral, like shredded paper, for a few weeks? You'd have to switch all the mice though, as they don't have to be kept on pine directly to experience the effects of it, and it takes a while for all their elevated enzymes and stuff to return to normal. I don't know how practical that is for you.

Probably silly questions: have you asked a vet what's wrong with them? Is the spray you're using definitely okay to use on the mice/the right dosage for them?
 

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It looks like allergies....not only could it be to the bedding, but it could also be to food. Peanuts and Sunflower seeds top the list as food-allergens.

I would try placing them all on paper-based bedding and see what happens, as well as picking those items out of their food if they have any. If it is allergies, they'll clear up within a few days. If they don't, they may need medicine for infection or steroids to stabilize being itchy. A vet could tell you more and prescribe medicine for them.

Allergies are genetic as well, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the cause.
 

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I wonder with it starting around the eyes if it could be demadectic mange which although caused by a mite needs different treatment to ordinary mites.In dogs it's passed from mother to puppy at birth and may not appear until something causes the animal to be run down.It can lead secondary infections.I believe keepers of cavies use ivermectin to treat this type of thing but it might be worth talking to a vet.

Early demodectic mange in a spaniel puppy.The lesions and signs of demodectic mange usually involve hair loss; crusty, red skin; and at times, a greasy or moist appearance. The mites prefer to live in the hair follicles, so in most cases, hair loss is the first noted sign. Usually, hair loss begins around the muzzle, eyes, and other areas on the head. The lesions may or may not itch. In localized mange, a few circular crusty areas will be noted, most frequently on the head and forelegs of young dogs 3-6 months of age. Most of these lesions will self heal as the puppies become older and develop their own immunity. Persistent lesions will need treatment that will be described later. In cases in which the whole body is involved (generalized mange), there will be areas of hair loss over the entire coat, including the head, neck, abdomen, legs, and feet. The skin along the head, side, and back will be crusty and oftentimes inflamed. It will often crack and ooze a clear fluid. Hair will be scant, but the skin itself will often be oily to the touch. There is usually a secondary bacterial infection. Some animals can become quite ill and develop a fever, lose their appetite, and become lethargic. Patients with generalized demodectic mange need immediate vigorous treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Jemma said:
Probably silly questions: have you asked a vet what's wrong with them? Is the spray you're using definitely okay to use on the mice/the right dosage for them?
I can't find a mouse vet where I am. I think I am going to have to travel a bit. I am pretty sure the spray is ok. It is for mice.
 

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It may also be a reaction to too much protein in the diet - I have found that this effects bucks and not does (since my does are breeding does and need the extra). It is definitely worth taking a look at your food. As for what was said about the allergies, I don't think as many would be affected if that was the case, but in any case 'picking out' the food they're allergic to will not solve the problem - the food needs never to have had contact with the allergen or it will still cause a reaction (this is coming from someone with a serious nut allergy!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hmmmm interesting about the food. What does everyone here feed their mice? And does anyone know where I can get mouse food in bulk? I hate buying those $10-$15 bags for only a couple of lbs. I go threw the whole thing in a week or less.

OH! and I found a mouse breeder where I live today. She has been doing it for 20 years so maybe she can help. YAY!!!!
 

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Straight bags of one grain; I get big bags of oats, wheat, safflower seeds, millet, and mix my own mouse food. Mostly whole oats and wheat with a little of the other two every other night, and supplemented with corn free puppy chow. I add treats like dried bread or cereal, dried fruit, usually bananas or apples. They a get a little bit of chicken or tuna, spinach, or cooked potato, or whaqtever else seems like a good idea at the time.

Corn, peanuts and sunflower seeds can all cause health problems ranging from skin problems, eye and ear problems, and, in the case of corn, it can contribute to the occurrence of cancer. I suspect peanuts and sunflower seeds do this too.

Pine bedding all by itself can cause health problems ranging from skin to respiratory. I don't know where you live, but if your local supplier doesn't have aspen, I bet they'd be willing to order it for you.
 
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