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Linda Simon
Linda Simon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 870
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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I’ve had my male mouse for about a year and a half now, and

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Hi, I’ve had my male mouse for about a year and a half now, and he’s had a varied diet and a large living space which is cleaned regularly and changed around to avoid boredom. Up until recently he has been in perfect health with a shiny coat, but over the last week he has been frenetically grooming himself which has led to blading of his fur along the left side of his back and there are scans and grooves in the skin where his fur use to be from him biting at his skin. I thought at first it was barbering from stress or boredom,
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the mouse's name and age?
Customer: His name is ***** ***** is about 1.5yrs old
Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Monty?
Customer: No

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. Just a few minutes while I type my reply

I'm sorry to hear Monty is not himself recently. It sounds as though you are providing him with a great quality of life and doing all of the right things.

Sadly, most pet mice only have a lifespan of 1 to 2 years so little Monty is doing well, and hopefully will continue to do so. However, in their old age, this is when we typically see things starting to go wrong.

There are a few things that can cause red sores, over-grooming and alopecia (baldness).

1. Mange. Older mice are more prone to mange/mites. Though it may seem odd that they could contract them if not in contact with others, all mice actually have a small number of mites on their skin naturally and sometimes they proliferate in older or unwell animals. The vet can prescribe some medication, usually a topical spot-on for this. The diagnosis is quite easy and consists of taking a gentle scraping and looking at it under the microscope. His cage and environment would need disinfecting after treatment. Lice are also a possibility, though would be visible to the naked eye.

2. A skin infection such as a fungal or bacterial infection is possible. A vet could take a swab/pluck of the affected area to analyse. Ringworm (fungal) infections tend to be dry/scaly while bacterial infections are often wet/oozing, although this is just a general rule. Medicine would depend on which type of infection he had. We also want to minimise any over-grooming or itching he is doing, and a medicated wash may be prescribed for this.

3. Sadly, cancer is a possibility, particularly a lymphoma. These lesions can grow quickly and spread fast. A biopsy would diagnose it. Unfortunately, as it can be aggressive and many animals will be put to sleep once the condition is advanced.

4. Something else such as an endocrine (hormonal disorder), allergic reaction (to e.g. new food or bedding) or nutritional deficiency are all also possible, although would be less likely at his age.

Claws can be gently trimmed to limit self trauma.

I would suggest a trip to the local vet who will give Monty an all over check in his old age and may prescribe some medication.

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Dr. Linda, thank you so much for your reply, that’s good to know. I have a picture of the area that’s lost the fur would it be Ok to take a look?
Absolutely, please send it on
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks so much
Oh poor little guy, that does look uncomfortable. As well as a bald patch, the skin is somewhat ulcerated, bruised and appears to be oozing a little (although this could just be the shine of the camera).
I would recommend an in person vet check as not only can they have a better idea of what is going on, they can take a quick smear from the surface to look at under the microscope for any bacteria, fungi etc
A gentle medicated wash such as dilute hibiscrub or even salty water could be used twice daily to minimise infection.
Frustratingly, many skin conditions look the same on the outside so it is very hard to know what is going on from picture alone and all we do know is that the skin is inflamed and may be infected.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Will be sure to do that, thanks so much again for all your help Linda’s
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry Linda just one last question, I have noticed that today the intensity of his scratching and biting around the wound is less, and he’s able to rest more today, and this might have been after I washed him with some aloe vera/coconut solution. If that’s the case, could this be an indication that whatever has caused it is subsiding, or is not possible for bacteria fungal infections to heal on their own?
Absolutely, some minor infections may improve and resolve on their own, particularly if mild and if the mouse has a strong immune system.
This would especially be the case for a skin condition that came about because of a fluke happening e.g. the mouse scratched themselves too deeply by mistake and developed a local infection vs. A condition that is secondary to an unwell or immune suppressed animal.
Given his age and the extent of the lesion I would still recommend a veterinary visit for best prognosis.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks Linda, that’s good to know, but yes, I’ll be sure to make a veterinary visit anyway