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Real Life Case: Barberism
Sufferer: Whiskas, doe, 8 months and Zeb, doe, 3 months.

Barberism is when one mouse basically overgrooms another, leaving bare patches in the coat. This is not a painful condition, but can be inherited, so it is best not to breed from a mouse who barbers others.

I first experienced this with Whiskas, who developed a bald spot on her head. I got worried (as you can’t help but do) and did a lot of research, as well as book her in to the vet’s. The vet confirmed my suspicion of barberism by another dominant female who was often to be seen grooming Whiskas.

Whiskas with her bald patches

Whenever the fur began to grow back it would be nibbled off again! I started to get used to Whiskas being a bit ‘bald’ but this all changed after I had to segregate the barber due to illness. When she recovered and was returned to her former cagemates she did not also return to barbering. Strangely, she is recently my number one suspect for a small bald streak near a young doe’s eye – what made her choose to barber again, if indeed it is her, is anyone’s guess. Either way, there is hardly any fur loss and no harm has been done: the only time a barber becomes a problem is if you breed or show fancy mice (and luckily these mice were some of my ‘pet only’ mice).

Whisker chewing can also occur in mice, where one mouse will chew the whiskers off the rest of the mice he/she lives with. This is similar to barbering: a habit that is only a problem if the area becomes sore or you wish to show the mice who have had their whiskers removed.

Left: Whiskas with a bald patch between the eyes, upon which the fur grew back only for Right: Whiskas to be barbered on the top of her head instead!

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