Mice can suffer from many medical problems in their lifespan, even when they are pet animals that are regularly taken care of. One of the rarest and unusual symptoms in mice is their habit of constantly running in circles.
There can be several reasons why a mouse could be running in circles. Some of them are treatable, and some are not. However, there are always ways to reduce this habit to a certain extent by using some simple techniques.
Why Do Mice Run In Circles?
It is quite reasonable for mice to run in circles sometimes. They can do it out of boredom, or they may be doing it to attract some attention from their fellow companions in the cage. The problem is when they don’t stop running for hours and hours.
Whether it is a wildlife mouse or a house-pet, any mice can suffer through this worrisome behavior. Some of the significant reasons for this patterned running involve the following problems:
1. Consumption of Rat Poison
This is mostly the reason for mice that live and stray on the streets. These mice tend to eat anything they come across, which often involves poisonous food items. The rat poisons that are majorly consumed by the rodents for inflicting such behavior include Anticoagulant and Cholecalciferol.
Anticoagulants have chemicals like brodifacoum, coumatetralyl, warfarin, bromadiolone, and flocoumafen. These chemicals damage the mice’s tiny blood vessels called capillaries and cause internal bleeding, scientifically called hemorrhaging. The process of killing takes a few days after digesting this poison, and the rats die of hypovolemic circulatory shock in the end.
The mice run in circles before that stage because of the severe internal bleeding that they can’t tolerate. However, vitamin K is an antinode that can help the mice recover if the condition is not worse yet.
On the other hand, Cholecalciferol produces hypercalcemia, which causes the systemic calcification of soft tissues, leading to hypertension, CNS depression, and renal failure. This chemical leads to death in the next twenty-four to thirty-six hours, and there is no antidote to this poison yet.
2. Waltzing Syndrome
Waltzing syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes damage to the mice’s inner ear. The intensity of this disorder may start from a young age and increases exponentially the older they get.
The side-effects of this disease include severely running in circles and staggering from time-to-time because of disorientation.
The effectiveness level of these symptoms varies from mouse to mouse. If your mouse is diagnosed with an acute condition, the chances are that it will die within a few months. However, if the situation is not too critical, it may live for a few more years in a relatively better lifestyle.
The reason why waltzing mice with severe conditions die early is that they don’t stop running in circles for food and sleep. The extreme weariness and hunger follow them to death promptly. The mice with less dire situations mostly stop for small amounts of sleep and required nourishment.
This syndrome is one of the primary reasons it is advised not to choose random pet stores to breed your mouse. The offspring these mice produce will also be genetically infected with the waltzing syndrome, and you never know which mice in the pet store must be carrying this disease.
3. Benign and Malignant Tumors
If a mouse is ill due to benign or malignant tumors, there is a high probability these are the reasons behind the continuous circular runs.
The benign tumor is enclosed in the mice membrane, causing damage and death due to internal bleeding when their organs are pressed.
On the other hand, the malignant tumor instantly spreads to the other parts of the body and aggravates the mice to behave irrationally, hence the running in circles.
4. Ear Infection
An ear infection is not uncommon when it comes to mice’s medical problems. The pain caused by the ear infection is constant and terrible, which leads the mice to deal with the pain through constant running.
If you have a mouse pet that encounters the same problem, you should immediately get it checked by a vet to decipher the problem. It might be a painful thing to deal with, but unlike other reasons, you can solve this one relatively quickly.
5. Neurological disturbance
The mice suffering from emotional anxieties and stress, or mental illness are prone to wildly running in circles. In short, severe neurological disturbance can be one of the significant reasons behind this peculiar behavior.
Sometimes, the cases are so critical the mice get stressed and start running in fast circles when you rummage through their cage to clean it. When these mice are not properly dealt with to rectify the problem, they stop eating, grooming, or sleeping, leading to a painful death. The panic attacks can also be one of the reasons for their ultimate death.
6. Bacteria and Infections
Mice infected with infections and bacteria also prefer to run in circles as a coping mechanism. The pain or irritation inflicted can cause the mice to act irrationally.
Another thing to remember is that even after your mouse is treated for infections; it sometimes keeps up with its habit of running in circles.
Now that you know why mice run in circles, you should also learn some basic tips and techniques to control their patterned behavior.
Pet Mouse? What To Do If Your Mouse Is Running In Circles
It is a fact that once your mice start running in circles, it is close to impossible to make them break their habit. However, you can take some actions to substantially better the situation.
Here is what you can do if your mouse continuously runs in circles:
1. Set Up an Appointment With the Vet
The very first thing to do in such a situation is to set up an appointment with the vet. If your mouse is suffering from a bacterial or ear infection, the vet will be able to figure it out after a few tests.
Minimizing your pet’s pain should be your priority. Once the doctor has detected the cause of this problem, you can take further steps accordingly.
Often, the mice can’t break out of their habit of running in circles even after being treated properly. If that is the case with your mouse, you can make use of the following tips. Or, you can also try them out if your mouse is genetically infected with the waltzing syndrome.
2. Install a Wheel
If you have not installed a wheel in the affected mouse’s home yet, you need to do that now. It may seem like the wheel is only increasing the stress at first. However, you will realize in time that they help the mouse spend their extra energy.
Once the mouse is tired from the constant exertion, it will start behaving more like a regular mouse. Spending a long time concentrating and running on the spinning wheel is a therapeutic activity for the mice with the problematic history of running in circles.
3. Separate the Problem-Mouse From Others
Although the mice running in circles will not pose any threat to others, it is still better to separate them from the normal functioning mice. There are two reasons behind this. The first reason is that the infected mouse may find himself feeling depressed and stressed when he couldn’t seem to match and maintain his social status among others.
And the other reason is that other mice can get annoyed with the constant circling, which will ultimately end in a mice fight. That’s why it is better to separate them before you get any more problems than you are already dealing with.
4. Introduce Habitrail-Styled Tubes To the Cage
You can add some habitrail-styled tubes in the cage for restricting the mice’s access to a proper circular route. Once the affected mice aren’t able to make a clear route for their constant runs, they will eventually calm down and rationalize their behavior.
When you put in the tubes in the cage, ensure that it is not making an easy route to travel on. Make an S-patterned joined tube where there is more than one curve along the way.
This method is by far the most effective one to break your mice’s circular running habits.
5. Distract Your Mouse With Different Playthings
Adding new stuff to the cage for your mouse to play with is another method of taking its mind off the constant irrational running. At first, the mouse will get stressed because of their presence. However, with time, he will get familiar with the toys, which will help him in the long term calming his nerves.
All the methods discussed here are used for reducing the frequency and speed of your mouse running in circles. It is essential to understand that the circular running does not affect the mouse as much as it affects you when you see it running aimlessly.
The best course of action to take in these situations is to take care of your mouse the best you can and take them to the vet for regular check-ups.