The University of Iowa

OAR Informational Sheet: Ulcerative Dermatitis in Mice

Ulcerative dermatitis is a common skin condition affecting laboratory mice. The cause is unknown but is likely to be multifactorial. Ulcerative dermatitis may be spontaneous (in C57BL/6 and related strains) or may occur secondary to a break in the skin.

Skin lesions tend to be pruritic, progressive and respond poorly to treatment. They are commonly located at the nape, in the cervical area, between the scapula, in the axillary area or a combination of these. Small shallow lesions may progress quickly to excoriation, ulceration or skin degloving.

Prognosis for a mouse with moderate to severe ulcerative dermatitis is poor. Secondary complications that can occur due to this condition include secondary bacterial infection, skin contractures interfering with the animal’s normal functions and poor breeding capabilities.

Although treatment is frequently un-rewarding, various options attempted include: SSD  (silver-sulfadiazine) cream, injectable or topical steroids, maropitant citrate, clay, caladryl lotion, nail trimming and Vitamin E, Omega 3 and 6 dietary supplement.  Prompt treatment is critical to increase the chance of seeing a response. 

Please consult with the OAR veterinary staff to determine the best treatment that does not interfere with your research.