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Mouse Eye Color Changes

What is wrong with an older mouse that suddenly has cloudy eyes, a rough coat and scabs?

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: October 22, 2015, 7:35 p.m. EDT

mouse sitting in tube
Via sipa/Pixabay 
If a mouse's eyes change from black to blue, you might want to get her to the vet for a health checkup.

Q: My female mouse has recently had cloudy blue eyes (instead of black) and hasn't been in her wheel for weeks. Her coat is rough (almost frizzled) and has little red scab-type things on her back. I got her about 2 and 3/4 years ago. She has been eating the same but not drinking as much as usual.

A: What you have described are general signs of illness in an older mouse. Older mice get the same diseases as other older pets. These illnesses include cancer, arthritis and organ failure. 

Mice who feel sick usually don’t groom themselves and have a rough haircoat. Because they don’t groom themselves, their hair can become matted or greasy, which is irritating, and then they start scratching themselves, which leaves open sores on the skin. 

When mice feel bad, they stop moving, hence the lack of wheel activity that you have seen. 

More mouse health questions and answers 

Finally, older mice are prone to eye diseases that are also present in other animals as they get older. These include cataracts and glaucoma. Both cataracts and glaucoma can cause the cloudy, blue appearance of both eyes as you have observed. 

A veterinarian should be able to look at your mouse and do a physical examination to at least tell you about the eyes, how the heart sounds and if the abdomen palpates normally. This information will allow you to decide how best to go forward with any diagnostics, such as radiographs (X-rays), and treatment for the eyes and skin.

Posted: October 22, 2015, 7:35 p.m. EDT

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