Mouse sneezing and wheezing

Mouse sneeze

Respiratory illness in mice has two main causes. Either it is similar to asthma, and is caused by allergies or reactions to bedding etc., or it is caused by a contagious virus or bacteria. The former case is often not serious, but unfortunately the latter is.

A common cause of chronic respiratory illness in mice and rats is an organism called Mycoplasma pulmonis. More to come about this at a future date. If the mouse is suffering from an asthma-type allergy, then normally only one in a cage will be affected, and it will not seem ill apart from its sneezing.

Try a different bedding, and avoid sawdust, shavings or hay. Shredded paper or CareFresh, or a similar safe bedding, is the best option. In the case of contagious diseases, often the mouse will show other symptoms besides sneezing – for example, it may be hunched up, its eyes may be dull, its fur rough. Mice can succumb very quickly to life-threatening diseases, so prompt action is necessary.

First of all, you need to work out whether the illness has been caught recently, or whether it is something that the mouse has succumbed to after carrying it for a long time. If the mouse has recently come into contact with new mice, at a show, or after new mice were introduced to the cage, then the illness could be highly contagious. Separate the affected mice from the healthy ones.

Animals can carry infections for up to a month after symptoms have disappeared, so do not let any mice which have come into contact with the ill mice mix with mice from another cage for that period. If the mouse/mice which developed symptoms had not cone into contact with any strange mice in the last few weeks, then they may well have been carrying the disease for some time.

Many organisms are opportunistic and can only cause illness when the immune system is not functioning at its normal level. Mycoplasma pulmonis can be an example of this – affected animals often live with others who carry the organism, but do not become ill.

If this is the case, you should not separate the affected mouse from its companions – putting a sick mouse into solitary confinement will often accelerate its decline.

If the companions have already been exposed to the same organisms as the sick mouse, leave them all together.

If they’re going to catch the bug, they will catch it whether you separate them or not.


  1. Stephanie on January 5 at 4:29 pm

    My mouse( Taco ) is just sneezing. Im pretty sure he is not sick, its just he sneezes when i pick him up. Ive heard that he might be getting over excited because i only play with him on the weekends because of my school schedule. Is this true? And if not, what is happening! Thankyou!

  2. George on November 13 at 10:46 pm

    I read this because I think my mice have a cold and I want to see if there is something I can give them to help them get better.

    They were given to me from a friend (they were not handled before I got them) and I noticed that baxter (brown) sounded wheezed when he ran about when excited and sneezed a lot. He was a bit more sleepy than Mouse lee (white) but now both of them sneeze and wheeze, Baxter does the most. Their bedding is carefresh natural. They had pine before that but I switched them over. Its been about a moth that I’ve had them and it hasn’t changed. They also eat rat/mice pellets and some fresh foods. very limited amounts of fruit.

    Is there something i can give them to help their immune system? Orange juice or oranges? Some tea? Chicken noodle soup (lol)?

    Thanks 11-13-10

    • Lainey Harvey on August 5 at 3:07 am

      Yeh same this has been happening to my mouse Albert as well all through the day and night he sneezes but my mum says he has like an allergic reaction to the bedding (CareFresh Ultra) an im like we need to take him to the vet they’ll know what’s wrong with him and now I feel like he is really ill and my mum doesn’t care ;(

  3. Rainbow on August 18 at 6:36 am

    I got my mouse(Allie-black) yesterday and she’s been sneezing a lot. Barnie(White) isn’t though. I read somewhere that feeding them timothy hay might help if it’s just a respitory(sp) problem.

  4. Aidan on October 29 at 11:28 pm

    I bought 3 mice yesterday to add to my colony of 2 and two of the new mice sneeze one of them sneezes a lot like while active every few seconds the other once or twice. Also the 1st mouse hazel (the one sneezing constantly) sounds like her noses is blocked when she sneezes though I understand it could be asthma. Please any help.

  5. SJ on November 21 at 10:42 pm

    I have two mice- Phantom (White face and tan back) and Squeak (Tan with white splodges). Phantom doesn’t sneeze, but Squeak (just recently) has been sneezing alot when I pick her up. We got Phantom 5 months ago, and Squeak 8 months ago (her sister died due to cancer) and Squeak hasn’t met any other animals (except a couple of ants) recently. What is going on?

  6. Jelly tots on February 1 at 1:38 am

    hi, ummm… my mouse has been sneezing for a while we rang up the vet and he said there’s nothing wrong with her. i decided we’d change the make of bedding, so we changed from chippsie to Plospan they profer this more. and we changed they’re nesting bedding from Hamster wool to hay to shredded toilet paper to Kitchen roll. out of them all they profer kitchen roll. her sister has got discharge in her eye its crusty and we have to get damp clean cotton pads and just dab her eye. also the mouse that has been sneezing has a genetic problem of obiesity and my little sister put in a treat which had berries on it and the mouse ate it all and got diarrhea all over her bum and tail. i had to clean her…. I am really worried some one please tell if i should take them to the vet they are arond 4 months old and we got them in Petmania tullamore. we are never going there again because i have seen how most of them treat their animals! i was so upset…

    thanks x

  7. angel iker on February 24 at 1:50 pm

    my little brother just got a snake and the mice we were giving him i was getting attached now i have three mice mamma,nibbles and frank.well the last mouse we got-frank he had the sniffles and got all my other mice sick and i don’t no any thing about mice and there health can u give me any suggestions….

  8. nanoo on August 30 at 7:18 am

    Thanks for finally writing about >Mouse sneezing and wheezing
    – <Liked it!

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