gerodean´s articles - Facts about mice

Facts about Mice

© Gerodean "Grodan" Elleby

This text is written 1991 (that means that some things may be totally wrong or have been changed).

Translation made by Sanna Brandhill 2000.
Feel free to download it to your own computer to read it offline if you want, but you're not allowed to put it on your own page or publish it in any way.


The pet mouse should be called just that, or fancy mouse. It origins from the house mouse and is called Mus musculus domesticus in Latin. Other names are incorrect. Some of the other names the pet mouse sometimes are called are dancing mouse, popcorn mouse, corn mouse and micro mouse.

The relationship between mice and mankind began 8000 years ago, when we became farmers.

For about 4000 years ago, the first attempts to keep tame mice began, in countries like Japan, China and Egypt, where they kept mice in specific buildings and tempels, just for the mice. The mice were worshiped and most often considered holy. It's been said that mice with white markings existed already at that time.

Mice has at several occasions in history been considered holy and has represented fertility, but also unfortune - most of all in Europe.

The more determined breeding of mice started in Japan about 300 years ago, when they had the mouserys in control in cages and developed different colours and markings. The domestic mouse wasn't established in Europe until 150 years later. England was most probably the first country to start a mouse club and arranging shows - the first official mouse show was held in 1901.

The first mouse club in Sweden - Svemus - was established in 1987 by Gunvor Lundblad.


Different kinds of mice

The fancy mouse is called a variety of names, mainly because it's apperance can vary in such many ways. Not only because it can have more than 30 different colours, about 10 different markings and as much as 8 different fur types; it also exists in 3 sizes! It's 2 different varieties, sizes, that looks very different from eachother. Not only when it comes to appereance, but also in their behavior and how they develop.

The most common type of mouse is the one who's size is most similar to the house mouse, let's call it a medium sized mouse. That's the one we most often come in contact with. In Sweden we call it Swedish, ordinary or wild type. Ordinary mice are very active, likes to climb a lot and are good jumpers. They are healthy if they are properly taken care of, and their lifespans are quite long - it's not too rare they become as old as 3 years.

The smallest type is called mini mouse or small type. It's a very small creature, most often black and white and with a very short and thin tail. It's usually called Japanese dancing mouse and micro mouse in pet shops. It's the same specie as the ordinary mouse, just smaller. The mini mouse has a lifespan of about 1 1/2 years.

The biggest type of mice is English show mouse. As the name tells, it origins from England. It's easy to recognize by it's big ears, long lody and tail. We usually call it English, big type or show mouse. Most of the fancy mice in Sweden are cross breeds of this type and the ordinary one.

Mice with big (English) and small type (mini mouse) doesn't climb and jump as well as the ordinary mouse which makes it seem more calm.

Good to know before you get a mouse

Unfortunately, impulsive purchases of mice are very common, since they're so small, cute and easy to take with you. That makes people believe they're easier to take care of than other pets, which really isn't the case. Children, mostly, fall in love with mice - not to hard to understand, since it's active, curious and just fits in your hand. - but that doesn't mean that mice are children's pets or a toy that's alive.

The mouse has a lot of needs although it may be small. It needs food and water every day, a clean and big cage, lots of toys, things to do, company by both another mouse and a human. If there's something missing, the mouse and maybe even your interest in the mouse, suffer.

A few useful things to know before you get a mouse;

  • Mice has a lifespan of about 2 - 3 years.

  • Mice needs a big cage they can't escape from.

  • Mice are very social, playful and intelligent.

  • Mice are most active in the night.

  • Mice pee and poop a lot (in your hand) and that smells bad.

  • Mice eat a lot compared to their size.

  • You can't keep a male and a female together - if you're not set on breeding a lot of mice, which really isn't recommended.

Female or male?

Since mice are social, they need to have a lot of attention - they may not be as tame and affectionat otherwise, and prefer eachother's company instead of yours.

A single mouse obviously needs more attention and is most often easier to get tame and affectionat. If you're still set on having a single mouse, it's prefered to get a male since he most often get more tame and affectionat, and rarely can be with another male. Males often fights about the territory and can hurt each other badly. That's why they need to have a cage all by themselves. The male's urin is unfortunately famous for it's strong and hard to get rid of smell, but that's his only way to let other mice know he exists. With his urin, the male marks out his territory and attracts females, but also other males.

Mouse males are calm and rarely gnaws on their cages, toys or bowls, which isn't always the case with females. As all females, mouse females' got a little more energy than males. They're made to handle more hard work like making nests, give birth, get food for the babies and protect them. If you want more than one mouse, it's best to get females, who can and should be kept with one or more other females. One reason for chosing females is that they can have babies, but one might add that all females aren't suited for breeding.

Where's the best place to buy a mouse from?

The absolute best way to get a mouse is to turn to your local mouse club. There's registered and good breeders in the club, who sell healthy mice with great temper and pedigrees. A breeder can distinguish a male from a female, give his/her mice a good start in life and can give you the correct information on how to take care of your new pet.

You can also find home bred mice through ads in newspapers and magazines.

Most people buy their mice from a local pet store. That's easy to do, because most cities have at least one, but you may not get the result you've expected. The invironment in a pet store is very stressful for the mice, especially if they're kept in a wrong way; mixed genders, small cages, lack of food - and it's harder to tame them and to tell if they're healthy. To successfully buy a mouse from a pet store means that the buyer needs to have good judgement; you have to be able to pick a healthy mouse with a good temper and with the right gender.

Never buy two mice females if you yourself can't tell if they really are of that gender, or if the pet store owner can't prove they are. If the females have been kept in the same cage as males, there's a big chance you'll end up with mice babies in a few weeks. Also remember never to buy sick mice.

Pick a good pet store, where the staff knows something about mice, keep the genders in separate cages (maybe sells them with a pedigree) and give them proper food, to buy your fancy mouse from. Avoid buying sick mice from a pet store to "save" them, since that gives the opposit result - the mice obviously gets sold and the owner continues to sell mice. Try to change the bad condissions instead.

The cage

You should have a cage, food bowls, waterbowl/waterbottle, food, bedding and a box with airholes to transport the mouse in, before you get the mouse itself. The box can be a smaller type of plastic box, a pet box or a home made box. Just a paper box won't do.

The cage should be big and comfortable, not be placed to dark, hot, cold, in direct sun light and not possible to escape from. An aquarium made of glass or hard plastic with a lid of tight wire net (you can purchase it from a hardware store) is the best choice. The minumum measures for the cage is 30 x 30 cm.

Put suitable bedding in the bottom of the cage and put some toys in it. Change the bedding 1-2 times a week and clean the cage and all the accessories at least once a week.

Mice appriciate simple toys like empty toilet rolls, toilet rolls filled with paper, paper boxes, wood sticks, pots, ladders, shelfs, houses, exercise wheels and so on. Don't just put in an exercise wheel and think that's enough, give it an opportunity to chose for itself. It's a sign of boredom if the mouse runs in the wheel to much.

Build it's own little world for the mouse to live in. It needs to express it's energy and intelligence. Even if the mouse has a good home to sleep, eat, make it's needs and move in, it still needs to come out of the cage every day. It needs love and to see more than just it's own home. An example of an activity is to put the mouse on a table with some things to explore; a maze etc. Make sure your mouse is happy in it's captivity.

There must be fresh water in a bowl or a bottle at all times. A bowl is easy to clean, but shouldn't be placed directly on the bottom of the cage since the mouse fills it with the bedding. Place the bowl on a shelf, pot or a house. A water bottle gets filled with algas and bacterias and must be cleaned often. Clean it with a bottle brush or with paper that you shake out with hot water. Water bottles can also get clammed up and don't let any water pass through, so be sure to check every now and then if it's really working properly.


It's tricky to find the best bedding because it needs to be suitable to walk and live on, harmless if the mice eats it, remove odour, have absorbation ability and be enviroment friendly.

Aspen chips - Good absorbation. Harmless in every way. Hard to get hold of. Must be changed once a week since it doesn't remove the bad smell completely. Grade: 4

Cotton - Cozy for nesting, especially in winter, but isn't suitable for bedding.

Hay / Straw - Fun for the mouse when it comes to bedding, but not an alternative just to sit on since it doesn't match any of the criterias above. May give the mice vermin. Grade: 1

Cat sand - Too dusty and dry for the mouse. Dries out the skin. Not a good alternative. Grade:

Kattlätt (a kind of cat sand) - By recycled paper. Medium absorbation ability, but keeps the bad smell away because of perfume. Only needs to be changed every other week. Can be harmful in the long run. Grade: 3 1/2

Wood shavings - No good absorbation ability, must be chaned 1-2 times a week. Doesn't take away the bad smell. Often made by conferous tree and therefor poisonous. Can give the mice vermin. Grade:

Environment sprinkles - Takes the bad smell away. Just need to be changed every other week, but is very crummy. Can be bad for health in the long run - otherways a good choice for "smelly males". Grade: 2

Topsoil / soil - Gets messy and the cage and mice become dirty, but should be good from an environmental point of view. medium absorbation ability. Grade:

Paper - Bad absorbation ability. Not much of a bedding material, but good for nesting since it isoltaes from cold and draught. Grade: 2

Fabric - Terry towel can be quite good for a few days. The mouse gets a lot to do! It's not good enough as bedding in the long run. Can be cleaned, but there will be wholes...

Toalätt ( a kind of cat sand) - By recycled paper. Medium absorbation ability. No perfumes. Shood be changed once a week. Grade: 3

Wood wool (in Swedish träull) - Environment friendly. Not suitable for bedding, but as nesting material. Grade: 2

One proposition is to make a "layer" of bedding. Kat sand in the bottom, wood shavings on top of that and then torned paper. You can make your own bedding. It's easy to make bedding out of recycled paper. Take paper boxes and all kinds of paper and torn to little pieces, about 5 cm in size, and put a several cm thick layer on the bottom of the cage - give the mice a little to play with as well. Need to be changed often, but the mouse gets great satisfaction by crawling around in it.

Sexual maturing

A mouse becomes sexual mature sometime between 5-6 weeks, depending on breeding and type. At that age, it's time to separate the males from the females, to avoid mating. It's usually around that time that it's most suitable to buy a mouse, when it's 4-6 weeks old.

At about 3 months of age, mice tend to be fully sexual mature, and shows all the signs of it. The male's pee smell more, and they use it on everything in their invironment to spread their message. A male can guard his cage against intruders; other males, and sometimes give the impression that he's nervous. Females don't show their sexual urges as males, except for becoming more interested in nesting, gnawing and riding eachother. A female comes in heat every 5th day, and she can show it (when it comes to the extreme) by tense her body, wag her ears and stick out her behind. It's not recommended to mate a female for the first time until she's at least 5 and at the most 10 months of age. The male can be bred as soon as he gets sexual mature, but it's wise to wait as long as possible to get a clue about if the mouse's looks, temper, health and immunesystem are suitable for breeding. Maybe it's best to let the experienced breeders handle mice breeding, all mice shouldn't be used in breeding eaven if they seem to be healthy and you want babies!

Pregnancy and giving birth

The mouse is pregnant about 21-24 days, usually 21. After the mating, it's best to separate the female from the male and let her have her own cage, otherwise the male will mate with her again as soon as possible after her giving birth and she can get another litter after 3 weeks.

Mice usually handle the biths without any problems, as long as they have been given good food and piece and quiet. They make sure there's no signs of blood, placentas, and gnaws off every umbilical cord very neat. The litters can contain as many as 15 babies.

Sometimes the cage is empty without any babies - unfortunately it's rather common that the female eats her babies by some reason: she feels threatened, thinks that her babies are threatened, have a lack of vitamins or minerals or because there were something wrong with the babies or herself.

"The popcorn age"

Their first week of life, the babies are bald, deaf and blind and during the next they get colour and fur but they can only smell and feel until they day they open their eyes.

The eyes are open around 10-12 days of age and then the babies are in a special stage of their life: the popcorn age. They jump around when they get frightened or excited and are very hard to get hands on. They are also very sensitive, scared and angry during this period, so they scream and bite if they're being hold against their wishes. The popcorn age is a very important instinct that protect the babies from other animals.

In some types of pet mice, the popcorn age is almost completely outbred and these mice at the most get a tendency to run around a little bit more. How much the mouse baby runs and jumps around during their second week of life doesn't reveal how well suited or not suited for breeding it is, but one can scare it so much at this age that it never fully trust people. By potter about with the mouse babies from birth to the popcorn age, the time of jumping, peep and distrust is shortened and will sometimes don't appear at all because of the fact that the mice has gotten used to and trust human touch. The popcorn age ends when the mice is about 4-8 weeks of age. It dissapears bit by bit.

Nervous mice

Some mice never overcome the popcorn jumping, as it seems. It's the mice with bad temper, that never becomes tame and with their jumping and nervous running can affect other mice with their behaviour and distroy the harmony in a group.

The popcorn age usually ends completely at 2 months of age. If not, it's necessary to spend some time to let the mice go through "rehab". Either it's something wrong with the mouse's temper or not, it's the environment that affects her development. That gives you the opportunity to try to influence the mouse to get it as you want it.

It's a simple rule that comes in handy when handling mice: freedom! Take it easy - don't be forceful or rough on it in any way. Nervous and sensitive mice who's not used to people become scared out of their mind just by the smell of humans and jumps away as soon as they sense it. Those mice can be so afraid that their heart stop. By showing the mouse freedom it can feel secure. Hold the mouse in an open hand instead of a closed one - that's freeedom: the mouse is not being kept in a forceful way.

A mouse that shows a stressful behaviour jumps, scratch between your fingers, beat with their tail will never be tame.


The mouse soon adjusts to it's new home, but can be frightened if not handled carefully. Therefor, you should never bee in a hurry when getting it out of it's cage, let it get used to your smell and to be the one who choses to come in contact with you. Once in your hand, you can take a firm but gentle grip of the base of it's tail with your other hand to be sure it won't jump away. If you hold the mouse only by it's tail, especially the tip of the tail the mouse gets frightened and may try to bite you.

If the mouse is jumpy and scared, you can try to make it go inside a house or a toilett paper roll, or wait untill it choses to do so by itself, and then lift it up with the mouse inside. Don't try to chase the mouse no matter if it's in the cage or if it's lose.


In comparison to it's size, mice are very intelligent and can therefor be so tame that they come when you call for them, but it also depends on how much time you spend on getting them tame. All mice are different and it varies a lot how much time it takes - some mice never gets tame and some get very tame. It's important to treat all mice on the same condissions and give them a chance to feel comfortable in captivity. There's no rules for how much you can care for your mouse, the mouse will let you know what's suitable for it!

The recipe for a tame, mellow, kind and healthy mouse, is to take it out of it's cage a few hours every day. Give it freedom, take it with you on small trips - in a transportation box - handle it and make sure it's ok.

Order of presedence

The mouse is a flock animal and as every flock animal it has a hierarchy, an order of presedence. That's something that shows especially if you keep several mice together, females to be prefered. It's not just who's the leader that's important, all mice have their place in the flock. It can be compared to a stair where each mouse stands on a step with the leader on the one on the top. It's about social status and different roles in the flock. Responsibility, defense, nesting, searching for food and polishing are being divided between the flockmembers. All mice should defend the flock and their place in it, all members must get food to be strong and healthy, a sick mouse can delay the whole group. The leader mouse don't fuss with the others unnecessarily, is the first to drink and eat and is simply in charge of the flock. A mouse with a low social status polish the leader and the others who's above it. A mouse "in the middle" can sometimes begin a fight, to try to take a step higher in the hierarchy.

Not all mouse flocks are that well adjusted. Sometimes you can't seem to notice any hierarchy, they get along well and let new mice in the group without problems. But it's good to know that a well adjusted hierarchyis the wild mice's system, and quite often there's proof of that social hierarchy among the tame ones.

A female group in a cage can consist up to 10 individuals depending on the size of the cage. Many mice means a bigger cage. Keep in mind though, that mice are different, some might not be comfortable in a large group since it's stressful for them.

Every time you clean the cage, takes away a few mice from the group and move around the things in the cage, it's possible that the settings of the flock status start all over again. Mice tells their social status by body language, sniffing, chasing around and challengeing eachother. The mice can peep and scream on these occasions, but it mostly sounds a lot worse than it actually is.

If you're planning to do some changes in the flock, make a new flock by adding members or something like that, the mice should be able to meet and get to know one another on a neutral place. If all is well, it's preferred to let them move into a cage that none of them have been living in for awhile. It's important that the cage is clean and doesn't smell. Move the toys and other stuff so that the ones who lived there before doesn't recognize their old home.

Just putting a new mouse in the fixed hierarki doesn't always work, the group members defend themselves against the stranger and it can all end very badly. It can be hard to expand a large group that's been living together for a long time. It's best not to add a new mouse until an old one is taken away, in that way the new mouse can take over the old mouse's social status. Another trick is to put together many females in a neutral place, and put the ones that fights in another place - in that way you may get two groups that perhaps have all social status represented.

Sometimes there's a mouse that doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. A mouse that fights with everybody and appaerently can't accept it's social status should be kept in another cage. All mice don't get along and it may occur fights between for example different fur types, colours, lines (familys) and types.

A mouse who kills another while fighting over leadership is very rare. But they can scare eachother to death, one of the mice gets cornered and get's "heart trouble".

An unpleasent instinct the mouse has is to eat the corps of dead group members, this often makes us believe that they've killed the mouse. Mice does this to prehibit attracting dangerous animals, but the behaviour is often connected to bad feeding and lack of vitamins.

Strange behaviour

Strange behaviour exist because of many different things and occur at any time. The most common ones are eating whiskers, chewing fur, climbing on the cage roof and too much running in the exercise wheel. These behaviours are called stereotypes and comes from stress and to little for the mouse to do.

A known expression is "dancing mouse", which actually is an heredity illness. The dancing mouse has a defect on their balance in their ear and can't move like normal mice. There's several different dancing mouse deceases or symptoms. Dancing mouse is heredity and has a high mortality.

A mouse can begin to spin around, toss itself around by other things like for example epilepsy and brain damage. These can be heredity but also injuries from childhood or accedent (fell on the floor).

Other sick behaviours can show themselves in aggressiveness (towards people or mice), lemlästning (bites itself or other mice), "every day heat" (female that's in heat every day) and indifference.

Breeding from a ouse that shows a sick behaviour is not recommended since it's heredity to the babies.

The mouse should eat 24 hours a day

It's not hard to dare saying the mouse is one of the most durable small pets today when it comes to transporting, changes in temperature and lack of space, but when it comes to food the mouse surely is the most sensitive of all small pets. Since the mouse is so frisky and active compared to it's size, she always need food in her bowl to keep being frisky, neglience can result in a sick mouse. The mouse gets it's energy from the food. Mostly carbohydrates and fat turn into energy. Just because it's so small - weighs only ten grams or so - it's easy to take for granted that they don't eat a lot, but that's oh so wrong. The mouse is a hoggish creature that seem to need all the food it can get.

The mouse also has a very fast metabolism. It only takes a few hours before it's tummy is empty - after a meal. Therefor it's very important that the mouse eats all the time. Of course the mouse sometimes eats just because it's bored - a trick is to hide the food in the cage, and let the mouse search for it just like wild mice.

Ordinary food and extra food

The pet mouse should always have food in it's bowl. That food is called ordinary food. It should be dry, partly because it stays fresh longer and partly so the mouse get to gnaw. The mouse is a gnawing kind of animal, and likes to gnaw on things. The food the mouse only gets from time to time is called extra food. The extra food can be fresh, but shouldn't be given in too large amounts.

The ordinary food should contain grain, seeds, nuts, crackers, dried fruit and dried meat.

What an ordinary food mix can consist of

  • Oats

  • Whete

  • Barley

  • Rye

  • Sun flower seeds

  • Linseed

  • Hirs (the Swedish word)

  • Canarian seeds

  • Sesame seeds

  • Peanuts

  • Puffed rice

  • Digestive crackers

  • Banana chips

  • Raisins

  • Dry Iams (cat food)

  • Dried vegetables and so on...

What extra food can be

  • Boiled rice

  • Boiled potatoes

  • Boiled pasta

  • Fresh vegetables

  • Fresh fruit

  • Fresh berries

  • Fresh soft bread

  • Hard bread

  • Formula

  • Porridge

  • Pancake

  • Cheese cake

  • Meat (chicken is popular)

  • Leftovers

  • Things with eggs in them

  • Butter, cottage cheese and so on...

Grain is important in the ordinary food mix and it's prefered if they're peeled. Crackers, hard bread, banana chips and so on is broken into smaller pieces. The mouse's mix can be rather expensive, but if you can't afford to give the mouse proper food you shouldn't keep one. Pets are not cheap to keep. Making money by breeding mice is very difficult, since they eat so much!!!

It's cheapest to mix yourself, and that way you can also be sure that the mice get the vitamins they need. Existing mixes, exept muesli, can be old and lacking vitamins - which is not recomended. Some mixes for hamsters can eaven make the mouse sick. Therefor avoid all mixes with "a lot of coloured lumps" that you don't know what they consist of. To see if a mix contains vermin you only have to look at the mix in the package for a little while. If it moves around a lot it contains vermin, a trained eye can eaven see these little nasty things. It reveals that the food is not suitable as food - old, damaged by water, lacking of vitamins or bad for the mice's health.

Bags or packages with budgie mixes, parakit (small parrot) mixes and so on that's sold in ordinary super markets in brown environment friendly paper bags keeps a high standard and is absolutely worth their price.

The mouse is a picky creature, who most likely picks it's favourite seeds from the ordinary food and leaves the least interesting for last. Yes, the mouse can eaven starve itself to death by it's picky nature. Fat mice shouldn't have so many seeds, since they consist mostly of fat. "Hampfrö" (in Swedish) is best to avoid completely, if the mouse isn't very thin and need fat food fast!

Meat, Iams (cat food) and so on can be given to mice in proper amounts. Young, growing, nursing and pregnant mice needs, of course, food that contains a lot of fat and protein. Larger mice needs more food. English and crosses between Swedish and English mice needs more food. They are bigger and longer and doesn't seem to get fat by fat and protein the way the Swedish mice do.

When it comes to being without water, the mouse can't survive many hours before it dies from dehydration - therefor make sure it always has got fresh water.

Give the mouse the food you yourself would choose if you were 20-30 centimetres and weighed ten grams or so !!!

Take care of your mouse, healthy or sick!

How to keep mice alive, see if they're healthy and take care of them properly? First of all, you must be a true animal friend, have time and be take an active interest in pets. You must never forget to take care of the mice and to get the right information on how to do it best. Members of a mouse club can get hold of people who knows a lot, for guidance and information.

Prevent unhealthyness

Number one in line for keeping a healthy mouse is to prevent desceases! That's being done by giving the mouse food with lots of vitamins, fresh water, check the mouse's health every day and change the bedding with continuity. Good food is raw material, not processed food, and food that you cook/mix for the mouse yourself. Avoid existing mixes that contains pellets and coloured lumps, immideately.

The mouse spends a lot of time in it's cage, therefor it should be big, clean, contain many toys and be kept in such a place that prevents the mouse from being utsatt for draught, heat, bacterias or contagous desceases. Avoid rusty cage bars and mouse wheels, wood shavings from conferous trees (develops cancer), cat sand (dehydrates the mouse and is dusty), hay and straw (risc for vermin and bacterias). Change the bedding often, preferely clean the whole cage and all the bowls, bottles and toys at the same time. New/clean toys are more fun and better than exercise wheels. The wheel shouldn't bee too small. Give the mouse a miscellaneous environment that offers activities, possibilitys to gnaw, climb, balance, jump and run. Use both soft and hard things. Make your own toys out of sticks, toilet paper rolls, paper boxes, wood and imagination. Use "masking tape", unpoisonous glue and a stapler. Tape can't be so strong that it gets stuck on the mouse. Activate the mouse by taking it out of it's cage, hide treats and food or give it new fun toys every day. Bacteria and contagous desceases comes from other rodents, therefor avoid keeping them in the same room as the mice.

Check the mouse's health!

Check and handle your mouse every day and get to know how a healthy and happy mouse looks.

Check how it looks on it's belly and behind. The tummy should be smooth and not have any lumps. The anal should be dry. The male's penis shouldn't show, the foreskin should be clean and closed except when he pees. The female's vagina should be clean and free from discharge.

The mouse should be able to walk, run, jump and move it's body without trouble and don't have any lumps. The skin should be clean, white and don't have any wound sor cuts. The fur should be clean, vermin free and don't have bald spots. The eyes should be clear, not muddy and open. The skin around the eyes should be dry, free from wounds and whitish-pink. The teeth shouldn't show outside the mouth, and be sharpened straight. The mouse should be quiet, and don't peep, sneeze or make a sound in any way.

Signs of illness and what to do in that case

As a pet owner your pet's health are your responsibility! You may take care of less sevear problems yourself, but when it comes to sevear or unknown illnesses a veterinarian should be contacted. Don't wait too long, rather call too often than never. Examinations are not always necessary.

Most lumps are signs of unhealthyness. Lumps can be, except for cancer, fat lump, pus abscess and wart. Cancer usually grows fast and is mostly placed on a muscle or body part but isn't necessarily visible - it can grow inside the mouse. A fat lump kan be loose underneath the skin and dissapear on it's own. A pus abscess opens, smell bad, should be drained and be treated with Väteperoxid/Nelex. Warts are harmless and can be burned off.

Diarrea can be temporary, after eating too much vegetables for example. Diarrea during a longer period of time is sevear and must be cured immideatly. Combined with runny eyes, it can be a deadly and contagous decease.

Problems with the genitals are most often caused by dirty beddings, draught, many bacterias but can also be problems after giving birth or a secondary sickness signs. The female can get yellow, green discharge or a discharge that contains blood, that shows for infection/inflammation. Cured immideatly with antibiotics, for example Terramycin. Males can get urinary infection, which shows by the foreskin fills up with white/yellow liquid that dryes. In that case, the male can't pee. Cured with vitamin C in the drinking water and antibiotics.

Fatness is often a sign of unhealthyness. Too fat, monotonous, or food that's lacking vitamins, but also organic illnesses - such as liver damage - kan be the reason behind it. A thin and skinny mouse isn't healthy either. The reason can be anything; bad food, boring environment, cancer, organic decease, parasites and other deceases.

If the mouse can't move it's body and is warm, it's an emergency. If the mouse is leaning it's head/body on one side and it has trouble with balance, a vet should be contacted.

Wounded and red irritated skin kan be signs of vermin- or fungus attacks. Vermin should be removed immideatly! Attacks are often made by "skabbkvalster" and lice. Two medecines (available on prescription only) against these are Ivomec and Sebacil. Ivomec can be injected by a vet, be given in the drinking water or sprayed on the fur so that the mouse licks it up. The treatment takes care of external as well as internal parasites. Sebacil is used to bathe the mouse in or spray it with. The dosage is like the one for "lakterande" milking cows, but in smaller amounts. Treatment with these should be repeated 3-4 times every 7th-10th day, depending on the vermin's hatching times. A good method is to use it 7, 10 and 14 days after the first treatment.

Fungus deceases kan be cured with Jodopax or another kind of antimicothycs. Other skin deseaces should be examined by a vet.

Lack of fur can be traced to chewing fur, fungus, vermin, cancer or another deseace.

Eye swollening and inflammation/irritation are often secondary sickness symptoms, but also bad feeding, dirty cage, dry air, tobacco smoke, draught, diarrea or something like that. Dab the eyes with Natriumchloryde/boiled water with a little salt, eye water or eye paste.

Red dry ears can be signs of fungus - dab them with Jodopax. If it doesn't get any better - contact a vet.

Runny, red nose and sneezing are signs of a cold, but can also be secondary sickness symptoms. Cured with warmth, healthy food and healthy drinks - for example water with honey and Kan Jang.

Uneaven sharpened or long teeth kan should be cut straight, the reason is most often teethinflammation, brain tumour or another tumour that presses the jaw, but also lack of "gnawing food".

If the mouse peeps when you touch it, it may hurt somewhere. Sounds of wheezing from the nose, bronchites or lungs show signs of mycoplasma, heart trouble, ammonia or something like that. When it comes to mycoplasma and ammonia, treatment with antibiotics are necessary.

A very sick mouse looks like a shrew, it's rolled up, cold, shows no or very little sign of life, has shaggy fur and crawls around. This mouse can be in need for a liquid injection to make it.

To treat mice

A sick mouse should be kept in a sick cage, smaller cage, separated, with warmth and appropriate food. If the mouse doesn't have the strength to eat ordinary food, give it liquid food. A few examples are formula, nutrition drinks (from super markets, a pharmacy or one that you make yourself). Pulver mixes that should be mixed with water are preferable since they stay fresh longer. You can make nutrition mixes yourself. Make some formula or thin porridge and mix it with suitable vitamins.

If the mouse is dehydrated, from, let's say, diarrea, it should be given liquid replacement and/or salt balance. Recipt: Boil 1 liter of water and put 3 table spoons of grape sugar in it, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 spicespoon of bikarbonat and - if you have - just a knife's edge of kalium. Keeps fresh for 24 hours.

"Forcefeeding" can be neccessary to know how to. Hold the mouse in one hand either by just holding it or with a grip on it's scruff of the neck. Put a pipette with the nutrition/medecine in it's mouth with the other hand. Put the pipette in the mouse's mouth in such a way that the liquid don't end up outside it or suffocate the mouse. Give the mouse a chance to swallow by giving it just a few drops at a time.

Putting to sleep

Vet appointments for putting old and sick mice to sleep is preferable. Alternatives may be available with the help from your local mouse club.

Going to the vet!

Do you wish to get in contact with anybody if your mouse is sick? Don't hesitate, a sickness or injury can never be too small in a mouse, to be ignored!

It can be hard to find a vet that knows anything about mice and that cares about them. Try to find out if the vet has the necessary knowledge and interest before you go there. Call several vets and try to get an impression of how you're gonna be treated. They're honest at some clinics and let you know that they don't know anything about mice, and maybe they can let you know about a vet with more experience and knowledge.

A good advice is to contact someone in your local mouse club, who can help you with the basic sickness care and tell you about a vet that's good with mice.

© Gerodean "Grodan" Elleby

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