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Mouse scratching ear until it bleeds- what do i do?

December 9th, 2006, 05:22 PM
i have an awesome little grey and white mouse i've had nearly a year. this mouse is absolutley spoiled and has a very intricate "critter trail". i only feed him the best natural mix they sell at my petstore and he regulary exercises in his ball.

i recently noticed that he has developed scabs on the back of his ear from constantly scratching. one of his eyes now appears a little puffy and i am now concerned there is a more complex problem than just the scratching of the ear. if somebody knows what is happening or has any advice of what action i should take, i would greatly appreciate it.

I also have a cat- is it possible Moose (my mouse) is allergic to the cat?

December 9th, 2006, 07:00 PM
I would be a little concerned as well.....have you taken Moose to the vet yet?

December 9th, 2006, 07:19 PM
hmmm it COULD be a change in room temperature. I know rodents have very sensitive skin and it could be that the room isn't humid enough and it's making his skin dry. He's probably got dry skin in other areas you just can't see cos of the fur. is VERY hard to find a vet that will look at small animals. Most aren't specialized in them. When I had my spcial needs hamster out of 5 vets only 1 had the spcialization and took me in. Otherwise they didn't know what to do or didn't have the right tools.

December 9th, 2006, 07:21 PM
the scabs could also be from really tiny mites... i read somewhere that rodents can get those tiny parasites. He;d need medication

December 9th, 2006, 07:35 PM is VERY hard to find a vet that will look at small animals. Most aren't specialized in them. When I had my spcial needs hamster out of 5 vets only 1 had the spcialization and took me in. Otherwise they didn't know what to do or didn't have the right tools.

Sorry....I didn't know that. :o But, I live in a small town and I know my vet looks at rodents. :shrug:

December 9th, 2006, 09:11 PM
It is indeed hard to find a vet that knows rodents, though it's worth a try.
Unfortunately the best route, assuming the vet doesn't know anything about them, is to ask either a breeder or a pet store that specializes in rodents.

You could have a few problems.

Mites - Have you seen any tiny black specs? There are also mites that aren't visible to the naked eye, so if no specs are present he could still have them.

Bedding - What do you use? Mice and rats can be EXTREMELY sensitive to wood litter. Some woods are likely to cause respiratory or liver problems, and even the ones that supposedly don't will if not changed enough. ALL wood will irritate the skin in some rodents. There is also a chance that certain wood shavings will repeatedly reinfect your mouse with mites, so it's best to use a compressed paper bedding. Try to find bedding that contains no dye since some dyes can irritate the skin of rodents, especially mice and rats since they tend to burrow and bed down in the litter.

Housing - Is he housed in a tank or cage? Tanks are a bad idea for mice and rats because they're hard to keep completely clean and irritating fumes and other substances build up and harm your rodents lungs and skin.

Food - This is the most likely problem does it have any dyes in it? Rats and mice can have allergic reactions to certain dyes.
What kind of mix is it? Male mice especially seem to develop an intolerence to mixed foods, ESPECIALLY if they're a hampster mix, not especially formulated for mice. If the food you feed is not SPECIFICALLY for either mice or rats, I would not feed it.
Assuming your food IS formulated for mice, it may not be as balanced as you think. Mice usually pick out all the fattiest and tastiest parts first, and some mixes formulated specifically for mice aren't balanced anyway, whether they appear so or not. A high fat diet, or a diet consisting of the wrong type of grains will definately cause scabs and sores on your mouse, this is quite common.

The best diet for a mouse (besides homeade) is lab blocks specifically for mice and rats. Yes, lab blocks are boring, but I would try your mouse on them for awhile and see if his sores go away. You can supplement with a tiny bit of veggies(such as carrot and raw peas) and acceptable grains. The main source of the diet should be lab blocks though. Meal worms are also a good source of protein and nutrition when fed as a treat every once in awhile.

Rice, oats and barely are all acceptable grains. Millet and Sunflower seeds can be fed after your mice recovers and there is no more itching or swollen eyes. If symptoms show up again I would stop feeding them.

Don't feed peanuts because they're way too high in fat. Onion and Chocolate is toxic to mice just like cats and dogs. Sugary treats are always bad.

This site has quite a bit of info on diet:

(Section 3 is dedicated to diet. 3.08 talks about itchiness, sores and hotspots as related to diet)

December 9th, 2006, 11:46 PM
i can't thank you all enough for your quick responses. Moose thanks you too!

I use Super Shavings, which have no pine or cedar and are low in aromatic oils. i have, however, recently switched foods. instead of Fiesta, i now purchase Perfect Choice. they are made by the same brand, Kaytee, and i assumed there would be no problem.

i checked the little guy for black specks(mites) and found none visible to the eye. my cat shows no signs of fleas, mites or any general itching so i feel it's safe to rule out mites.

i will try switch to the linen, or clothe lining instead of the wooden shavings, and return to the Fiesta mix (i only switched because the PetCo in my area stopped carrying Fiesta).

the problems coincided with the food change and the weather change, so ill change back the food and change the cage lining and if that doesnt work, i'll know it's more serious.

Thanks again to everyone who replied! if anyone has further input, it is still greatly appreciated. Hopefully my next reply will be with Moose's improved health!:fingerscr

December 10th, 2006, 12:52 AM
Is the Perfect Choice specifically for rats/mice?
I found the Fiesta, which is a rat/mouse food, and the ingredients were a bit questionable but specifically formulated for those animals.
The Perfect Choice I found is formulated for any small rodent, and isn't specifically meant for just rats and mice, which would definately cause a reaction.

December 10th, 2006, 01:01 AM
it does say "small animal" and not specifically mouse/rodent. i have a strong feeling this could be the root of Moose's problem. Thank you again!

December 10th, 2006, 02:07 PM
:) No problem

Yeah when you get into the foods meant for several different animals, they're formulated for each animal to survive on, but not for any in particular to actually thrive on. Since mice are such short lived animals anyway it's always best to get foods specifically for them.
High fat foods also seem to make them more prone to cancer and tumors, which male mice already seem more prone to than the females.

January 4th, 2007, 06:23 PM
:thumbs up
thanks once again to all the great replies. it's been a few weeks and i wanted to make sure before reporting back, but moose is better now!

i put him back on the fiesta and the incesant scratching and scabby ears have subsided! thanks again everyone! moose thanks you too!

March 25th, 2016, 08:28 PM
We had a similar problem and cured it with pawpaw ointment. Using a cotton tip, (cotton bud etc) gently wipe a small amount of pawpaw ointment (available from supermarkets) on the ears. Repeat twice every day. In about 10 to 14 days the problem should be gone.

March 25th, 2016, 09:39 PM
This thread was posted Dec. 2006 , so I would say the mouse is no longer alive unless it's the mouse from Green Miles . :)

July 10th, 2016, 03:10 PM
I have had issues with multiple mice from the pet store.
One vet said that this is usually due to tumors. These mice were originally bred for lab mice, which are bred to have tumors for testing purposes. It would be rare for one not to develop a tumor. Most of my mice went blind within 2 years. All have had to be put down due to tumors.
This was just what one vet said, and it made sense at the time. I haven't had a mouse for about 10 years (turns out I'm allergic) Plus I didn't want to support pet store breeding once I found out about all that.

On another note - pet store food for rodents is suspicious in it's nutrient value (or it was 10 years ago) Feeding natural is always a better route, but not always possible.
I know currently in 2016 I was having a hard time finding decent hay for my bunny, the stuff sold in pet stores is .. well... It would be nice if it was fresh. I switched to local fresh hay, and that made a big difference.

@Barkingdog -lol -green mile

July 15th, 2016, 11:53 AM
I think this topic is in the wrong forum section?

Anyway can't help much, it just marvels me how you were able to observe the scratching of your mouse.