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The Fun Mouse: Mouse Info: Mouse Waltzing/Circling

Contents


Waltzing Introduction

The term Waltzing derives from Japanese waltzing mice, however there are many strains of waltzing mice known today. These mice have a neurological disorder which causes circling behavior. They almost always run in one direction, in a circle pattern, and it can sometimes get rather violent. Sometimes mice also have a head tilt in addition to circling. The circling is so severe that they are unable to walk in a straight line or run on a wheel. This type of waltzing is inherited and can sometimes be seen from the time babies start walking around. It increases in severity as the mice age. These mice generally don't live very long. The term "Waltzing" is often used in the mouse fancier community as a blanket descriptive term for any circling behavior among mice. There can be many causes for waltzing, explained below.

Video Clip

Warning: Some audiences might find this disturbing.
This video clip is presented to help you identify waltzing behavior in mice.

Causes


Neurological disorders
You can think of this as a short circuit in the wiring of the brain, causing circling behavior. As stated in the paragraph above, this is often inherited. Mice exhibiting this behavior should never be bred, under any circumstances. There is no cure to this disorder and these mice generally don't live very long. They do tend to be some of the most docile mice though.

Brain Tumor
Circling behavior can be caused by a brain tumor or abscess which is pushing on the brain. At the present time, there is nothing that can be done for a mouse with a brain tumor. The risk of attempting a brain operation is far too high. However, an abscess can be treated with medication for infections, such as baytril or something of the like. One round of medicine can completely cure the mouse and they can go on to living a normal life.

Ear infection
A simple ear infection can cause circling behavior in mice. Sometimes ear infections are obvious by the secretion coming from the ear. However, some ear infections are deep inside the ear and can't be seen. An ear infection can be cleared up with a round of medication and the mouse can go on to living a normal life.

High frequency noises
Mice are very sensitive to high frequency sounds as their hearing range is far higher than a humans. Sounds which we will not hear can severely harm a mouse. Modern conveniences can cause mice to circle in pain, bleed from the ears, and can even cause death. Things such as standard televisions and computer monitors put out these harmful noises. Flat panel TV's and monitors do not. It is best not to keep mice in rooms with anything putting off a high frequency noise. If you are concerned about high frequency sounds in your home and around your mice, you can purchase a Bat Detector. These measure high frequency sounds and will tell you where the bad spots in your house are.

Injuries
If a mouse has an injury it may circle because of pain or disorientation. Check your mouse over for any open wounds and gently touch the feet and limbs to make sure they are not tender. If they are, a vet can help with pain medication and possibly even a splint a limb if anything is broken.

Stroke
Circling can be a result of a stroke, causing part of the mouse to become paralyzed or the mouse could be disoriented. There is nothing you can do to help if this is the cause. All you can do is wait it out and hope the situation corrects itself. There is a good chance it will.

Treatment

If your mouse is circling, the best thing you can do is take him or her to a vet for an exam. A vet will generally always give you medication to treat infection, in case the circling is caused by an ear infection or abscess. Not going to a vet for treatment is not an option because if it is an infection, it will cause the mouse to die if left untreated.

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