Apologies in advance for the long post. I am brand new to any sort of rodent care, and am completely panicked...

I found 2 orphan babies (I think Deer mice, just based on location; woodshed in the Santa Cruz mountains, SF bay area, USA) on Sunday afternoon. They were very tiny, no fur at all, ears not even slightly protruding, eyes tightly closed. No idea how old when I found them. Since then I have been following advice on the fun mouse, Mouse Ranch, and AFRMA websites:


I am using a routine of 2-hour feeds of warm KRM diluted 2:1:1 with water and unflavoured Pedialyte (delivered with a tiny paintbrush), housing them in a shoe box with lots of torn tissue paper on a heat pad (85F in hottest corner, box offset on heat pad so there is a cooler spot for them to crawl to if they want. Cool spot 75F), and massaging their tummies and guts before and after each feed with a finger very lightly covered in petroleum jelly.

Late last night (i.e. end of day 3 with me) I noticed one of the babies looked very bloated, and on closer inspection it looks like her (obviously don't know the sex - both "she" for now) stomach is full of gas. It is distended, round and feels inflated, like a balloon. Based on my reading of all the websites I mentioned, plus a previous forum post on this squirrel board, which is the reason I am posting this here, I am guessing she has bad bloat, and I am sure I caused it by over-feeding her, since I was so panicked about trying to keep the babies alive initially.


Since noticing the problem, I have changed her 2-hourly feedings to 1:5 KRM to Pedialyte, with alternative feedings of 1:1 white Karo syrup and water. She still seems interested in food, about the same interest as pre-swelling. I have also been giving her extended tummy and gut massages with my fingers, up to 5 mins at a time (as long as she isn't squeaking. I don't want to massage her tummy while she is squeaking as I can't tell if she is then squeaking in pain), but is not pooping very often. I would estimate every 2-3 feeds, and even then,very little (one or two tiny "pellets" that mice poop seems to consist of. The colour seems fine though (mustard yellow). I try to massage her every hour. I am worried about going for longer than 5 mins, in case she gets cold. Urination seems okay.

I can see the milk getting into her tummy during and after a feed, but it seems to make her *worse* in the sense that the extra volume just distends her tummy even more. It is so distressing to see her - after a feed she can't really lie on her stomach or even side, she just rolls onto her back, basically because she is trying to lie on a beach ball.

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I am very distressed, as I am certain she is not going to pull through. I am off to the shops right now to try and find some laxatone and/or baby gas drops, as recommended by the squirrel board forum on orphan mice bloat.

Is there anything else at all that I should be doing - additionally or differently? I am pretty heartbroken, these are my first ever mice, and of course I am already very attached...

Just for completeness, the other mouse does not have a distended tummy, that I can see, feeds well every two hours (original KRM 2:1:1 with water and Pedialyte, and her milk band becomes obvious) but also isn't pooping a lot (maybe a similar amount to my little poorly one). Urination seems fine.

Any advice AT ALL on my poor bloated baby would be hugely appreciated. I thank you in advance for your time.