Small pets are increasing in popularity as more and more people live in homes that do not allow typical pets such as cats and dogs. Mice are especially good starter pets as they are generally easy to care for, although they can be plagued with pests, including mites. Mites are small, bloodsucking invertebrates that cause intense itching, scabbing, anemia and even death in heavily infested pets. Ridding your mice of mites can be difficult, but it is well worth it to have a happy, healthy pet.
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Things you need
- Rubber gloves
Isolate your mouse if you suspect he has mites. Mites are transmitted through direct contact between rodents, so housing an infested mouse alone will keep them from spreading to your other pets. An empty aquarium is easy to set up and clean, making it a good isolation area for your mouse.
Watch your mouse closely for signs of mites. Hold your mouse gently and look along his neck and spine, as this is where mites will most often be found. A mouse infested with mites will have dry, scaly skin and bald patches in his fur, and he may seem preoccupied with scratching himself.
Call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment to have your mouse examined. You vet will observe your mouse and check for indicators of an infestation; the veterinarian can perform a skin scraping to diagnose mites. If the scraping is positive for mites, your vet will recommend a treatment program that includes medication such as ivermectin, which has been shown effective in killing mites.
Treat your mouse as directed by your vet. If you are giving an internal medication, follow the directions carefully to prevent overdosing her. If the treatment is a topical cream, rub it gently over the affected areas to kill the mites and heal the skin.
Remove food and water dishes from your mouse's cage and clean the cage thoroughly. Wearing a pair of rubber gloves, dump out any existing bedding and scrub the cage with a solution of half bleach and half water. The bleach will kill off both adult mites and any eggs that might be in the bottom of the cage. Wash any soft hammocks or other fabric accessories in hot water and bleach as well, drying them on the high setting in the dryer to prevent reinfestation.
How to Get Rid of Mites on My Pet Mice
Tips and warnings
- Only treat your mouse as directed by your vet. While mice are generally hardy pets, trying to treat mites yourself can be difficult and might harm your pet if done incorrectly.
- Never use commercial pest removal products on rodents. Flea and tick shampoos designed for domestic pets might seem like a quick way to get rid of pests, but most are harmful to your mouse and can sicken or kill him. Only use pest products as directed by a knowledgeable small animal vet.
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