Your mouse's health: what to look out for

Mice live for between one and two years and are generally healthy animals. Often, most illnesses come with age. Make sure you find a vet who has chosen to specialise in small mammals to get the best possible care for your mice.

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Parasites and fur loss

Parasites, such as fur mites, can be fairly common in mice. Incorrect bedding is one of the most common causes of this. Signs your mouse might have a parasite infestation include:

  • Hair loss
  • Red, irritated skin
  • Severe dandruff
  • Head tilt/ear scratching
  • Small scratches all over their body – in particular around the neck – developing into open wounds
  • Scabs on their ears and nose. These can become quite thick and look like strange growths developing.

If your mouse is showing any of these symptoms, you should consult your vet for treatment. Mice with parasites affecting their neck and ears may require round-the-clock nursing as these can be extremely uncomfortable.

Tumours

Tumours are fairly common in an elderly mouse. They can grow very quickly because mice have a fast metabolic rate. Mammary and intestinal tumours are the most common and are the most likely to be cancerous.

When you handle your mouse - and you should do this regularly – check for unusual lumps and bumps on their body and abdomen. If you’re at all concerned, take your mouse to the vet.

Old age

When your mouse reaches around 12 to 18 months old you’ll start to notice a few changes, which are very common in mice. These include:

  • Hair loss, leaving sparse bald patches
  • Sleeping more
  • Drinking more
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Weight loss, but teeth remain in good condition
  • Becoming wobbly when walking about. Always keep an eye on your mouse if they’re housed in a mesh cage. Elderly mice can get caught in the bars if their nails have grown.

If you feel your mice are starting to struggle with one or more of these symptoms, talk to your vet. While they’re perfectly natural, you’ll want to make sure they’re comfortable and not in pain.