Why Does My Mouse Have Scabs?

If you are a child who has ever scraped your knee, you know that the healing process creates a scab. This is a clot of blood cells and thread-like substance called fibrin that binds the wound together. The scab protects the cut and prevents bacteria from entering the area. It is a good idea to keep open wounds clean and dry and to avoid itching until the scab falls off on its own.

Scabs can be caused by many different things in your mouse’s skin, including parasites (like mites and lice), itchy skin and a variety of fungi and bacteria. If you suspect your mouse has an infection, you should see a veterinarian right away so that they can begin treating the disease.

Infections: Bacteria like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are normally found on your skin in small numbers but become larger during an infection. These bacteria are often inhaled into your lungs and cause respiratory infections. They can also be transmitted to your mouse when it comes into contact with infected bedding, cage materials and other animals.

You can help prevent infections by keeping your mouse and its cage as clean as possible. You can do this by washing your hands frequently with soap and water before handling your mouse or its cage, avoiding using untreated or dirty bedding, and making sure your mouse gets plenty of fresh food and water.

Scratching and open wounds: Mice scratch when they feel nervous or scared, but it could also be a sign that there is something wrong with their skin. This could be from a parasite, an allergy to their bedding or food, a fungus or bacteria, or another genetic condition.

Bald spots: Some mice may have bald spots on their faces or ears that can be an indication of mites, ringworm or sarcoptic mange. These can look very clean and smooth, or they can appear in a round or patchy form, with thinning fur around the scabs.

If you find your mouse has bald spots, you can try sprinkling diatomaceous earth over the scabs to dehydrate them and apply vaseline to the scabs to smother the mites. This method has been very effective for some mice who have sarcoptic mange.

Lice: As with humans, a mouse who has a lice infestation will have tiny red/brown dots moving over their skin and they may cause itching, scratching and a bit of bleeding. These can be easily treated with a drop on containing Ivermectin.

Dermatitis: Murine ulcerative dermatitis, also known as UD, is another skin condition that is common in C57BL/6 mice. UD causes scabs to form over the mouse’s skin and itchy lesions will develop over the scabs. This condition can be very itchy and painful to your mouse, but is usually not dangerous if treated in time.

Other symptoms include:

Hair loss and itching on the face or ears. This is often an indicator of a fungus or bacteria, especially one that can affect the eyes.