Pet Mouse - Never Again!
Two years ago, while living on the third floor of an apartment building, my husband found a little white mouse on the stairway near our door. The stairway was outdoors, exposed to the elements, and it was a terribly cold, windy day. The mouse was huddled up, freezing. He captured it and brought it in. When I got home from work that day, there was this mouse. I couldn't put him back outside, he appeared to be healthy, and was friendly, so we ended up keeping him.
He was a spoiled little mouse. He was kind of fun to have, although being a male, was very stinky.
Mice tend to have skin issues, and also can become compulsive with scratching. Ours started this after having him for just over six months. He started scratching his ear a little. I checked him thoroughly for lice, fleas, etc and found nothing.
As time went on, he scratched more and more. I put him in the little hamster ball to let him run around as often as I could to help distract him, but he'd even try to scratch while in the ball. It was getting bad. His skin was getting sore, hair was being removed.
Working at a vet hospital has its perks, and I tried several different medications to help this poor little guy. I tried oral and topical medications, and let me tell you, trying to give a mouse medicine is not an easy task! I tried eliminating the common foods mice can be allergic to, and nothing helped. I even gave him mild sedation once to clean his really bad spots on his skin and apply antibacterial ointment. Nothing helped. For months I tried, and nothing helped. Eventually I gave up with medications and just tried to keep him happy. Gave him his favorite treats (he adores Cheerios!) and kept his cage as clean as possible to help avoid infection.
Our little mouse passed away in March of this year. He looked terrible from his compulsive scratching. But, despite how he looked, he never stopped eating and enjoying his food! He seemed to go peacefully.
I wouldn't choose or recommend a pet mouse ever again. Sure, they're kind of fun and can be friendly, but those skin and compulsive issues are so difficult to deal with. I did a ton of research, and it seems that once they start the scratching, it never stops even if you eliminate the initial cause.