The Pet Directory Small Animal Article - The Problem of Hair Loss in Mice

by Michelle Marquardt - BVSc (Hons) MRCVS
Sydney Animal Hospital - Norwest
As published in The Pet Directory NSW & ACT Edition

Skin problems are the most common medical condition seen in mice. They have a variety of different causes, some easily treatable, some less so. Here’s a basic guide to the things that can happen to your mouse’s skin.


Barbering
This is seen in groups of mice housed together, and is more likely to occur in groups of females. The dominant mouse in the group chews all the whiskers and hair from the muzzles and around the eyes of its cagemates. The dominant mouse is easy to pick because it’s often the only one with all its fur. Removal of this mouse will help the problem for a while, but often one of its former victims takes its place and the cycle starts again.

Mechanical Abrasion
Fur can be rubbed off and skin damaged by ongoing contact with feeders, watering devices or other fixtures in the cage. Hair loss is usually on the sides of the muzzle. If you’ve got a lone mouse who’s chewing the bars or exhibiting repetitive behaviour, enrich their environment with toys and a running wheel.

Mites
Mice can carry three types of fur mites. They cause generalised hair thinning (especially on the head and trunk), itching and sometimes skin greasiness. Your vet can confirm the diagnosis and administer appropriate treatment.

Other Skin Conditions
Rarer skin complaints include fungal infections, tumours and ulceration of unknown cause. These can be more complicated to diagnose and treat than the conditions listed above, so talk to your local vet about the options.


 

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