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  1. #1
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    Default Advice needed: Rescued baby mouse

    So I hate to join and then immediately ask for help (and not even about a squirrel...), but an old post about a baby mouse rescue on this site has been the absolute best resource I have found.

    Looking for advice, help, anything. We found a baby wild mouse in our driveway about 4.5 days ago. I would guess he(she?) was about 3-4 days old. I called a vet and numerous wildlife rehabilitators, but no one would take him. We looked online, got him set up with a warm "nest" and diluted kitten formula. I have fed him with a paint brush every two hours, all day and through the night. From the get-go, he has been a reluctant eater and had to be coaxed, but Sunday he started to seem to eat more willingly and even eagerly if only for a short period of time. I use a warm, wet q-tip to stimulate him to poop and pee, and it had been working.

    My concerns are primarily his constipation/bloat and general behavior. Since yesterday, I haven't been able to get him to poop. Now, his belly looks a bit distended and bloated. I gave him a little corn syrup mixture and did some warm water soaks and massages, and that seemed to work a little. He pooped, but still looks bloated and I think I can see an air bubble in his little belly. Behavior-wise, he has always been a bit spastic. He jerks around a lot, does somersaults, flips around kind of frantically. I'm not sure if this is normal as I've never had a rodent this young before. Then last night while eating, he jerked his head back stiffly and gaped. He went still for a long time. We thought we had lost him. He wouldn't react to my touch. Then all of a sudden he twitched. A few seconds later, he was wiggling around again. He has done the gaping thing a few more times, but not gone completely unresponsive again. Looking back at the pictures from that first day, I think he has lost a bit of weight. I am really worried and just hoping there is something I can try to help him.

    I knew from the beginning that this was a long shot, but we are really trying our best to help the little guy. I would appreciate any help at all. My gut says he won't last long. I am worried that we are prolonging his suffering (is he suffering?) but not willing to give up. We've all grown attached to him and my kids have named him. Below are some pics. The first is of him on Saturday, the other two are earlier this afternoon. His belly looks a little less bulgy now, but still rounder than I think it should be. Thanks in advance.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice needed: Rescued baby mouse

    OK. First, I need to get the bad part out of the way because I don't like to give all sorts of false hopes. Baby mice are one of the most difficult wild babies to raise. Only baby marsupials like opossum, which are born virtually unformed and live permanently attached to a nipple in the pouch, are harder. It can absolutely be done but it is really difficult. So buckle up!

    First, the feeding. No to the kitten formula - and it may be causing the problem. It has too much protein for baby mice, rats and squirrels and may be the sole reason for the bloaty tummy. You have a couple choices: Esbilac PUPPY formula, which comes as a dry powder in a can at chain pet stores and Tractor Supply. It is pricey. The last baby mouse I raised (Mo Mouse, who is sleeping in his tower of a cage right now, judging me even while unconscious) I raised on a homemade goats milk formula. It consisted of fresh goats milk and full fat yogurt at first, then a little later I added heavy cream to the recipe. If you go that route, start out with 3 parts goats milk and 2 parts yogurt. Goats milk is pretty thin already, so don't dilute.

    You need to get the bloat down and the white out of his tummy and into his digestive system before he eats more. First, he needs to be warm - his nest box should be on a heating pad. They cannot digest properly without heat. I would re-do the warm water dip - dangle him in the water for a while, and try using a paint brush or cosmetic brush to stroke the tummy in a downward direction while you do. Use some vigor - mamas go right at them to stimulate pooping. Give him hydration with a bit of sugar in it (warm it up like formula) until he is pooping.

    So he should have that white band in the tummy after eating and it should be gone before you feed him again. Here is the really bad news - for YOU. Once he is eating and pooping as he should, you will find that means feeding every 2 hours. Day AND night. If you can't, he isn't going to make it. Baby mice can REALLY kick your butt, believe me. He is very close to eyes open, and they develop really quickly so it won't be long enough to actually kill you though you will forever understand why sleep deprivation is used as a torture method.

  3. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to CritterMom:

    Browke07 (06-16-2021), Chirps (06-18-2021), TubeDriver (06-16-2021)

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Advice needed: Rescued baby mouse

    Thank you! You have given me a bit of hope, even if that's not what you intended ;-) I knew from research that it would be difficult and a long shot, but, boy am I tired and my back hurts from sleeping on the couch (so that my 2 hr alarm won't wake my youngest who likes to climb in our bed)!

    Formula - I have read so many contradictory things about what formula to use for mice. I hope I didn't do too much damage. I'm on the hunt for goat's milk. If I do go with the puppy formula, does it have to be Esbilac? Our local place sells KMR, but I can call around elsewhere if need be.

    Hydration - would you recommend an electrolyte solution, just sugar water, or a corn syrup/water mixture? Does it matter?

    It sounds like I'm already doing everything you suggested, so that makes me feel good at least. I just finished a sugar water feeding for hydration and a warm water soak/massage. So far no poop, but I'll keep trying. He did go unresponsive again this morning, but slowly came back. Highs and lows, for sure.

    I can't tell you how much I appreciate the help! I have only been able to find one responsive rehabilitator in my area and she has been wonderful in the past, but she has retired and I no longer have her phone number. I know where she lives, but I don't think she'd appreciate me just showing up on her doorstep, lol.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Advice needed: Rescued baby mouse

    If they sell KMR, they likely also sell Esbilac. They are both owned by the same company - Pet Ag - one for cats and one for dogs. I just was in a Petco today and noticed that they have them in separate places in the store - KMR in the cat aisles and Esbilac in the dog... Goats milk can be purchased fresh at places like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, and many regular grocery stores sell it as either or both canned evaporated or canned dry. Both would need to be reconstituted according to the directions before it is used for the formula.

    Sugar water (just a pinch of sugar) is fine for hydration.

    At his age, Baby should wiggle a little when awakened for feeding, and after he is fed and pooped he will and should be passed out in your hands before you can even get him back in his little nest - food coma - like Thanksgiving only every 2 hours. All he should really be doing is eating, pooping, peeing and sleeping, then repeat.

  6. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to CritterMom:

    Browke07 (06-16-2021), Chirps (06-18-2021), TubeDriver (06-16-2021)

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Advice needed: Rescued baby mouse

    Thank you again! I really do appreciate it!

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