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

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Old 03-11-2014, 12:31 AM United States
luvmylumpkins luvmylumpkins is offline
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Default Chinchilla Tumor / Cancer - Please, read!!!


I am new here - and hope that I am posting this in the proper place.
Also, in advance - please forgive me for the length of this...

I checked my chins on Thursday morning at 6:00 AM, and found a large chunk of fur on the ledge where they sleep. I removed it, and saw that there were small bits of bloody flesh attached to it. I had only been in there a half hour earlier, so whatever caused this had just happened. Meanwhile, both chins (a very bonded female pair of sisters) were sitting in the cage, acting like nothing was wrong.

I took them out, and saw that it came from my 12 year old female - "Babbette". There was a about a 1" area on the back of her neck, where the fur had been removed, along with a perfectly circular, deep hole, that was slightly bloody. I also discovered a walnut sized lump directly next to it (the fur and skin still in tact).

I cleaned the area with peroxide. It fizzed at first application, but then didn't. She was completely calm and relaxed, not in any discomfort, allowed me to inspect / clean her, and had no reaction to anything that was going on. I also noticed a very bad odor come from the wound, which - and please forgive me for being graphic - smelled like "infected" blood. I sat with her a few minutes, and she seemed perfectly content.

Before returning her to the cage, I gave it a very close inspection. It had been cleaned thoroughly a few hours prior to this, and there were no signs of blood or anything unusual. I also checked her sister, and she was fine, as well.

I put her back in the cage, and she went right back to business as usual, as if nothing ever happened. I of course, was in a frenzy, frantically trying to figure out what happened, nervous and worried about her, and wishing it was 9:00 AM, so that I could get to her vet.

I knew it wasn't "fight" related. And, there was nothing she could have cut or punctured herself on in the cage. It occurred to me, that the smell indicated some sort of infection, and maybe it was an abscess that ruptured. While waiting for the vet to open, I did some research online and saw another chin who's "wound" was very similar in history and appearance. It was even in the same location. And, it was an abscess.

I got her into the vet as soon as they opened. At first, he also thought it was a ruptured abscess. After cleaning the area, he checked the lump on the other side. He tried to open it with a needle, but nothing came out. However, when he squeezed it, some very thick "gelatinous tissue" came out. He said it wasn't a cyst or abscess, but was in fact, a tumor - and the material inside was "connective tissue". He removed some of the tissue and sent it out for a biopsy. And, told me to clean the area with Saline (2 times daily), and begin a course of Septra (2 times daily) along with BeneBac spaced in between the Septra.

I brought her on Friday for a recheck. The vet said that she was healing well, already looked a lot better, just continue treatment, and wait for the biopsy results. I have been doing exactly that. When I cleaned her this morning, I couldn't believe how much better the area looked. The hole was almost closed up, and other than the missing hair - which is already growing back - everything looks almost back to normal. Also, her behavior has been perfect - playful, energetic, begging for raisins, a little ball of love.

I spent the weekend researching chin "tumors" and cancer, etc. After hours of reading how "rare" these things are, and considering how well she was healing / acting, I was pretty confident that it was going to be nothing serious. Well,.. that wasn't the case...

The vet called me this afternoon. He has been caring for my chins since they were born, knows them in and out, is excellent with them, and the only person I trust with their care. The biopsy came back. He told me that it was "bad". It is a "high grade sarcoma / aplastic". He said she is not a good candidate for anesthesia due to her age. And, that the location would be almost impossible to operate on, due to the margins being too small. He also said, that even if he could operate, these types of tumors have a high recurrence rate. Radiation and chemotherapy aren't options, There is no medication. Nothing. He couldn't give me a "time" as to how long she will be with me, and just said that we'll try to "manage" things as best as possible.

Words can not describe how sick and heartbroken I am over this. She is such a beautiful, sweet, little ball of love and I adore her in a way that defies all realms of the imagination. I have been with her all evening, watching her cuddle with her little sister, play, beg for raisins, and no one would ever believe there was anything wrong by looking at her. And, the ironic thing is, that she has always been my "healthy"/"reliable" chin that never has any medical issues, as opposed to the others who constantly have had issues of one type or another.

I have tried to research the information that he gave me, and can't seem to find anything. Again, everything seems to say that cancer in chins is "rare" and there are very few cases reported, etc. I keep hoping that maybe it's some sort of mistake, maybe this diagnosis won't be fatal, or that she'll stay with us for a few more years - in good condition, but everything seems so bleak. And, obviously, aggressive cancer on such a small animal can't have a good outcome.

Of course, I know and intend to keep giving her the best life for as long as possible - that's a given. - but is there anything else I can do to help her??? Alternative, holistic, whatever, I don't care - I'll do whatever it takes. Also, has anyone heard of this type of tumor or cancer or had any experience with it??? Please...
I'm just at such a loss, and would so greatly appreciate anyone's suggestions.

Thank you very much!!!
And, I apologize again for the length of this.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:25 AM New Zealand
Newt's Avatar
Newt Newt is offline
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Location: Auckland, NZ
Posts: 731
Chinchillas: 1
Default BUMP!

I don't have any advice sorry, just wanted to give this a bump to see if anyone more experienced might pick it up.

So sorry to hear about your chin
Is she on any pain meds? Had any weight loss?
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:44 AM United States
luvmylumpkins luvmylumpkins is offline
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Default Thank you!!!

So much for the bump and for the kind thoughts! It is truly appreciated!

To be honest, I've pretty much given up hope trying to get any information, as it seems there is very little. And, like most things chin related, the information I have found all seems to be contradictory - so it's hard to determine which is or isn't accurate.

I'm so emotionally drained...

I've spent the last few days thinking and hoping that it may be a misdiagnosis. But now, I'm starting to have that sickening, queasy feeling that it might not be. And, I think my nerves are playing a big part of it, because now - if she blinks the wrong way - I'm worrying that its somehow related to all of this.

She has actually been acting completely normal. You would never know there was a problem. I'm just being extra paranoid due to the situation.

However, over the past two days - the wound, which had been healing nicely - has started having a very small discharge. Not alot, but the fact that its even there is a concern to me. Initially, watery and yellow. Then, yesterday, bloody. She has had 20 doses of Septra so far, and I have been cleaning her with saline twice a day.

The vet doesn't think it's an infection, and said its probably just due to the area still being open. Just continue the Septra a few More days, keep cleaning it, and keep an eye on it. It's now about half the size it originally was.

She has not lost any weight and is not on medication..

Again, if I didn't know this diagnosis, I would never know there was a problem. She's my same, sweet, beautiful, little ball of love.

Thank you so much again!
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:37 AM United States
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Godins Chinchillas Godins Chinchillas is offline
Godin's Chinchillas
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Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 1,389
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There is nothing you can do if the vet feels the options are not there as far as medical. The best thing you can do is to spend time with her and love her up. Cancer is unpredictable. There is no time table per say. The time to let her go is when her quality of life is no longer there. If you notice her breathing is starting to become labored then chances are she is in end stage and the cancer has spread to her lungs. How long it takes to get in the chest is unknown. So love her up then put her down when her quality of life is diminished.

Hugs to you-
Godin's Chinchillas
Home of the Grand Show Champion NE/NY 2010, 3rd Place Standard Breeder Award MCBA Nationals 2012, and Reserve Champion Female of Show NY/NE 2012
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:21 PM United States
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obcsed obcsed is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Houston Texas
Posts: 498
Chinchillas: 3+7F

So sorry for the diagnosis. Cancer is a hard one. While I've never dealt with it in chins, I have a lot of experience with it in ferrets. It is never easy to watch them decline and to feel so helpless while it happens. With my ferrets, I list the 3 favorite things they like to do and when they can no longer do those things, I know it is time to end it. In the meantime, I heap on the loving and do everything I can to keep them comfortable. Sending hugs to both you and the chin.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:15 PM United States
luvmylumpkins luvmylumpkins is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 3

Thank you, both, so much!

I can assure you, this little lady is loved, spoiled, catered to, and pampered beyond belief. All of my chins are. There is nothing I won't do for them.

i intend to make every day a good one for her. I just hope so much that there are still many days, weeks, months,... (You get the idea.) ahead.

Thanks again!
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