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The Fun Mouse: Mouse Information: Skin Problems: Summary of mouse lice experience

A Note
Sooner or later, most- if not all mouseries will have a parasite infestation. Even when taking all precautionary measures possible, parasites find their way in. Whether it's thru wild mice getting in homes, new mice coming into the mousery (even with a QT period), on bedding, on hay, on toys bought from the store, etc. I was lucky enough to go about 10 years before it happened to my mice. Much of this luck is because I used precautions such as freezing things before using them, QT'ing mice, etc. However, much of it was pure luck also. Getting a parasite is nothing to be ashamed of as long as you are honest about it, close down your mousery (no one in or out), treat aggressively, etc. If you don't do these things, THEN there IS something to be ashamed of.

What I write below are my experiences with lice. Do note that at the time, oral treatment was the only thing heard of among mouse communities and among vets. I consulted a vet the moment I found the lice. We started with oral treatment and not topical because successful topical treatment was unheard of in these communities at the time. Now we know better. I hope that these experiences I share with you will help save lives and educate mouse "parents" as well as vets who don't know about other forms of treatment.

In the beginning.
Mild infestation was found on my new mice in QT. These mice were QT'ed on the bottom floor of the house and my mousery was on the next floor up, in their own room. I always washed my hands (up to my elbows) after holding infested mice and before touching the mice in my mousery (my original mice). I only touched the infested mice at night, before a shower and then I would go to bed. During the days I would touch the mice in my mousery that were not infested. Even with these precautions, the lice still made it to my mousery and infested all of my mice. Contrary to all other sites out there, lice CAN climb out of tanks, up walls and shelves, etc. Lice were found on my original mice within a week after the infested mice came in. While I understand that "proper QT" is to take place out side of the home, I find that this does just as much harm as QT'ing in home. The mice can be exposed to many things while in an off site QT just as well as they can anywhere else. Even if you practice off-site QT, you must still QT for 2-3 weeks in your home because all mice coming from out side the home (no matter where they are from) must be QT'ed in your home and under your care.

At the time of the initial infestation I had 1-2 week old babies in my mousery. Oral treatment can NOT be administered to baby mice. Because of this, I waited until the babies were 4 weeks old before treating anyone. There is no point in treating part of the mice in your home because it will be a never ending cycle of re infestation. All mice must be treated at the same time in order to have success. By the time the babies were old enough, all mice were infested mild to heavy.

Treatment and Results.

Week 1
Oral Ivermectin obtained thru vet (1% Ivermectin).
All cages cleaned and striped of any wood, cardboard, etc. None of these things were placed back with the mice until after mice were clear of lice and nits (the things originally removed were thrown out and new was acquired at a later date. All that remained was: their tank, mesh lid, food dish, water bottle, wheel, and plastic house (and the mice/mouse of course).
All mice treated with oral Ivermectin on this day.
Lice status: semi-heavy infestation.
No ill side effects found this week.

Week 2
All cages and everything inside bleached (with the exception of the mice of course!).
Oral Ivermectin administered as the week before.
Lice status: Heavy infestation.
By the middle of week 2, ill affects were seen in 6 of around 120 mice. These included:
Neurological disorders (loss of balance, disorientation, bleeding from the ear, etc). The mice affected were all adults yet not elderly.

Week 3
All cages and everything inside bleached (with the exception of the mice of course!).
Oral Ivermectin was NOT administered because of the ill side affects seen in the previous week.
Lice status: Heavy infestation. Oral treatment not appearing to make any impact at all.
Ill side affects were still seen in the same 6 mice as before. This week, 5 of the 6 mice were lost (death). The one that didn't die had bleeding from the ear but no other signs of neurological disorders. This mouse still gets bleeding from the ear/ear infections from time to time that is solely contributed to the oral ivermectin treatment.

Week 4
No treatments administered this week. Cage cleaning as normal (no bleach, just soap and water).
Lice status: Heavy infestation. However, it appears that the previous treatments did help but slightly. It seems to have been delayed (making sense because of the life cycle of the lice).
No ill affects found this week.

Week 5
Topical treatment found online from laboratory tests. Thru these findings, a different treatment was administered.
Iver-on TM containing 5mg Ivermectin was diluted in water to consist of 1/6th Iver-on (1 part Iver-on and 5 parts water). Solution was put in a spray bottle to be administered.
Bedding was lightly sprayed. Tank mesh lid was generously sprayed. Cage cleaning proceeded as normal (NO bleaching, just soap and water). The back/hindquarters area of each mouse was sprayed (one full spray) with the same solution, being extremely careful that over spray didn't get by the eyes of the mouse. This made the mouses back wet but not dripping. No other part of the mouse was sprayed except the back/hindquarters.
Lice status: Heavy infestation.
No ill affects found this week.

Week 6
Topical Ivermectin administered as last week.
Cage cleaning the same also.
Lice status: still present but MUCH less than last week. Before the end of this week, infestation was 98% gone (this includes lice as well as nits).
No ill affects found this week.

Week 7
Topical Ivermectin administered as last week.
Cage cleaning the same also.
Lice status: completely gone.
Ill affects found. One mouse appears to have gotten light over spray of the diluted Iver-on in the eye (this is why it is SO important that you shield the eyes as best as you can. This mouse wiggled out of the towel covering the eye, just as I sprayed). Eye appears irritated but no discharge. Eye cleaned with warm water and cloth daily. The eye got better as days went on.

Week 8
Topical Ivermectin administered as last week. This was a precautionary measure only. I don't feel it was necessary but I wanted to be safe before opening my mousery again.
Cage cleaning the same also.
Lice status: Lice still completely gone.
No ill affects found this week.

Under normal circumstances, it is recommended to treat mice topically every 7 days for 3 weeks. Take a 2 week break without treatment. Then treat topically again every 7 days for another 3 weeks to eliminate all lice and nits.

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