Help my mouse get better!
February 23, 2008 11:12 PM   Subscribe

Why is my fancy mouse scratching so much?

We had two mice, but one died and the remaining is scratching to the point of bleeding. We done a lot of research online as to what the problem is and we've done what we can. We're sure that she doesn't have mites, lice or any other parasitic infection. She's only ever had pine bedding. She doesn't have an excess of protein in her diet, she's had the same food her whole time living with us. We've also changed her bedding, washed her cage and put antibiotics on her wounds, but that only helped for a little while. Now she's scratching away at her ears. Is she lonely or could it be something we haven't found on our Google quests? Help!
posted by ThirstyEar2 to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
The volatile oils in pine bedding is toxic to small rodents. Switch to aspen shavings or better yet, Carefresh, which is soft shredded paper.
posted by jamaro at 11:23 PM on February 23, 2008

Some cites, for reference.

The Problem With Pine: A Discussion of Softwood Beddings

Respiratory toxicity of cedar and pine wood

Also, avoid cedar bedding for the same reason.
posted by jamaro at 11:32 PM on February 23, 2008

It might be neurotic; "barbering" is a pretty common mouse neurosis. When I had mice, they did this, but only to the point of removing hair. I don't think they scratched to the point of bleeding.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:30 AM on February 24, 2008

I had a mouse that developed a fungal infection, and would scratch itself to the point of bleeding. But I agree with jamaro about the bedding. Vet visit? How did you rule out mites?
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:58 AM on February 24, 2008

Sorry, not pine, I was wrong, we use aspen.
posted by ThirstyEar2 at 9:30 AM on February 24, 2008

There is a ton of documentation about mice at:

They also have a very active forum that would be more than happy to help.
posted by jdgdotnet at 11:39 AM on February 24, 2008

It takes a skin scraping to rule out certain mites, especially ear mites. You should take your mouse to the vet if you haven't done so already.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:28 PM on February 25, 2008

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