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Chin Emergencies Guidance given in this forum does not substitute for PROPER VET CARE.

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Old 09-16-2017, 04:02 AM United States
Mballer Mballer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Default Ouch, please help.

Hi guys! I'm new to the whole chinchilla thing. My girlfriend wanted one for a long time and finally convinced me to get one with her. I did the research and bought her a proper living area, food, toys ect. We went to PetSmart, now I regret going there. They had two females, one that was clearly an adult, and one that was maybe half her size.thinking it was a baby, or close to it we went with the smaller one. We talked to the employee and it seemed like she new what she was talking about. My girlfriend looked her over before we decided to take her home, she doesn't know much about healthy chinchillas. After giving her a little time to get use to her new home, I was cleaning out her cage and giving her fresh food. She started climbing all over my arm and running her head under my hand when I was trying to pick up some of the bedding. She was only here for a full day at this point, and I absolutely fell in love with her. She is the most friendly little girl and loves to play. As I was running my hand down her back I could feel all of her bones, her shoulders, and all of her ribs. I have never experienced petting a chinchilla before, but it honestly felt like she was nothing but bones under her fur.. they have a "return" policy there, but if this is the case where she is so under weight I couldn't ever, ever bring her back to a place like that. I saw the living conditions, they definitely were not ideal, nor was the care. I'm glad I brought her to a new home where she has room to run and play with people who love her. I just wanted to know if there was anything I can do to help? Should I bring her to the vet to have her looked over? I am buying a scale to weigh her properly. She appears to be young, with furry ears. I understand it's hard to judge it's age, and they don't ever know.

Thank you!
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:16 AM United States
Godofgods Godofgods is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Harrisburg PA
Age: 31
Posts: 2,628
Chinchillas: 6

Do you have a pic of the chin you can post?

It can be difficult to say with this. Not knowing her age, family line, diet. You already know the environment wasnt the greatest. But some range over a huge spectrum of weight. There are some that stay at a 400~ gram range, and others that are around 1200g~. Most of mine personally are in the 5-600 range with one on the 700 mark and two in the 800. But it ranges so widely.

Genetics can play a part two. But im guessing the store didnt provide you with a valid and documented family history to look through.

When they are stressed out the can some times start eating less. Also a poor quality diet can cause issues as well. There are a lot of chin foods on the market that are very bad for them (and petsmart sell most of em). Foods with any for of fruit, veggies, nut, seeds; dried or not, they are all very bad and can cause many health problems for chins. In this case, many times a cold switch off that kind of food to a healthy pellet is better. But its worth noting that with the loss of those unhealthy extras, they can lose some more weight for a while until there systems adjusts. - However petsmart switched there chin food over to oxbow a while back. So that SHOULD be what they were using to feed them. And That actually is a good pellet food.

Note however that oxbow recently came out with a second line of foods. They have there first chin food, Oxbow essentials which is a good quality food for chins. And there second released food, oxbow garden select. Which has all those little extras i mentioned and is quite bad for chins. So if you stick with oxbow (not sure what your feeding) then make sure you are grabbing the right one.

Age is also a factor; at least in the sense that a 3 month old will likely be smaller then a 5 year old. Thats where that mass weight range comes into play again.
Petsmart often uses any chins they can, often form back yard breeder types. But they often use younger ones as well as a few older ones.

So its really hard to say from just this unfortunately.
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:03 PM United States
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ElliesMama ElliesMama is offline
Chinchilla Mama
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Age: 28
Posts: 26
Chinchillas: 1

I would say a trip to the vet would be a good choice. In general, people should not buy chinchillas from pet stores like petsmart or petco. These pet store chains treat their chinchillas (and all their animals) very badly and don't take proper care of them which results in sick animals. Many times they will sell sick chinchillas and claim the chinchilla was sick, but is better now. Don't trust them.

Chinchillas are small, their fur can make them seem big, but once you pass the fur they have tiny bodies (which is why they can be sneaky and get through small openings). I think it's normal to feel some bones, but based on your description, it sounds like she is underweight. I have never been able to feel all of my chinchilla's bones when petting her.

The vet should be able to help you determine age range. If the chinchilla is under 6 months, it should be free fed. I recommend oxbow essentials because it provides your chinchilla with all the necessary nutrients it needs.

I also suggest taking your chin to an exotic vet that has experience and knowledge about chinchillas.

I hope your chin is doing better!
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:38 AM United States
Mballer Mballer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3

A long time but thank you guys for the advice! I still have her and she is doing great! I will never purchase another thing from those stores again. She is up to a healthy weight and is so full of energy now! It's sad to see the behavior of a chinchilla raised in a small cage with no interaction. She had a hard time jumping, and her deep perception seemed so off. I did bring her to a vet to check her teeth and a solid look over. She is doing well now.
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