Why is My Pet Mouse Keeps Scratching Himself?

Unfortunately, skin problems are rather common among pet mice. Sometimes it is a sign of stress, but there are some serious skin infections to be aware of as well. Overall, mice are rather resistant rodents when it comes to diseases, but it is still hard for them to resist mammary cancer and skin problems.

In this article, we are going to talk about the latter. We are going to talk about the symptoms caused by each problem and how to treat them. These will be some useful tips that will make you an ever more knowledgeable pet mouse owner.

Figuring Out the Problem

When your fancy mouse starts to vigorously scratch itself, the causes behind it can vary. It can be infested by lice, mites, fleas or ringworm. There are also other skin diseases and even infections that can cause such irritation.

From the ones we mentioned, mites are definitely the most common causes of itching and scratching. After them, the list continues with fleas and lice, which are annoying parasites. The first step toward solving the problem is to identify it.

The first thin to do is to start grooming your pet mouse and look for tiny bugs in its fur. You can already suspect that there is a problem if you notice bald spots or scaly skin under their coat. Obviously, it all starts with your mouse showing discomfort and excessive scratching.

Finding out what is the problem can be difficult because your mouse can suffer from more than one of the health problems mentioned below. If you are not sure what is happening, it is best to call the vet and ask for advice.

In case you find small black dots and round specks under the fur, it is most likely mites. If it is lice, then you are going to see something slightly different, as they are rather brown. They also move a lot, while mites prefer to stay at the same spot.

Treating the Problem

The ivermectin treatment is commonly used on pet mice that suffer from mites or lice infestation. The reason why people use this medication is that it is safe for mice in small amounts. It can also effectively remove the abovementioned parasites.

Ivermectin in oral paste form is not recommended to use for fancy mice because it is not clear how much they need. This medication is not designed for them, but rather for all animals that suffer from such parasites.

It is dangerous to give to mice even if some vets tend to prescribe it. If this happens, ask for another option and don’t give it to your pet in paste form. You need to get ivermectin in the topical form which is undisputedly the safest way to dose for pet mice.

Look for a product that contains 5 milligrams of ivermectin per milliliter or ask your vet to recommend one. These medications can often be bought at farm supply stores as they are used on various animals. If you are not sure about this whole ivermectin treatment, it is best to consult with your veterinarian.

If you buy ivermectin in the recommended concentration, you should mix 5 milliliters of it with 25 milliliters of water. It has to be shaken up before you treat your pet. You basically need to gently pour and rub it into the skin of your pet, drop-by-drop while soaking up the excess.

Don’t let him lick it off before the solution gets soaked in. This treatment has to be done once a week for 3 weeks, which should be followed by a 2-week break. Of course, thoroughly cleaning the cage and changing the bedding is a huge part of the process.

Can a Pet Mouse Scratch Himself Until It Bleeds?

Indeed, these problems can get so bad that your mouse won’t be able to stop scratching himself. In those cases, he can get to the point of scratching his skin off. This happens a lot when pet mice can’t help but scratch their ears until they are literally shredded.

Moreover, by continuously scratching other parts of their body, open wounds can develop that can be rather deep. Open wounds can lead to further infections as well. It can develop into a situation where one problem needs to be treated after the other and it is not going to be easy.

This is why it is important to catch and start treating the problem as soon as possible.

Can a Pet Mouse Give You Itching?

Since lice are species-specific, they can’t give you itching. They are only interested in animals that have furs, such as cats, dogs and rodents. Of course, there are human lice as well but you are not going to get those from pet mice.

If you are experiencing itching while mice or other rodents are in the house, then you might be allergic to them. It is not uncommon to be allergic to rodents and it can manifest itself through itchy eyes, skin rashes and stuffy nose. There can be respiratory problems as well such as coughing.

Furthermore, pet mice can make symptoms worse for those who have asthma. If you experience any allergic reactions near mice, then it is best to contact your doctor and ask for advice.


Pet mice can scratch themselves for various reasons and three of the most common ones are mites, fleas and lice. Unfortunately, the irritation can get so bad that your mouse can hurt himself. Deep wounds can develop over time that increases the risk of further infections.

Therefore, once you notice that your mouse is unusually restless and constantly scratching himself, check him immediately. Or, even better, take your pet to the veterinarian and he will figure out what is the problem with great precision.

Then, all you need to do is to follow the instructions and use the right medications to treat your mouse. These problems are not serious, only if you wait idly until they turn into something serious.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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