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Chin not acting like himself :(

veronicaaa

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Aug 28, 2019
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Hello, this is my first time posting here so I’m not really sure how it works here but I think I would need some help with one of my chins (Ray) because I noticed he started behaving strangely (?) and it’s starting to worry me.

I don’t know how much information I should provide but..Me and my sister have two chins, brothers, both around 2 years old. They used to get along just fine, they cuddled and played together although sometimes they got a bit aggressive and fought but trimming their whiskers always helped and they went back to normal. They had around same size and weight, but it always changed during summer when they got leaner and during winter when both gained a bit of weight.

Everything started about a month ago after we moved to a new house. My sister’s been taking care of them because I go to university and stay in dorms so I haven’t been with them a lot lately. But I got back and noticed that one of the chins Ray has lost significantly more weight than usual while the other one, Fufu, seemed much bigger. I checked Ray out but other than the weight loss and weakness, he seemed okay. His ear were cold and up, his teeth seemed fine, no fur ring, no watery eyes, no salivating or heavy breathing and he happily took a dust bath too. It didn’t make any sense to me because they both like and eat hay and some treats occasionally.
So ever since I noticed their size change (which was about a week ago) I also noticed that everytime I walked into the room Ray just started jumping on the cage door and shaking it, trying to get out while he was making soft sounds as if he was calling to me (I’m not native English speaker so I don’t know how to properly call those sounds but it doesn’t seem like anything alarming, just soft coos that chins make when they try to communicate with each other). He also started sleeping on the lowest level of their cage while the bigger chin Fufu stays on the top level of cage.

I thought this might be a dominance/mounting issue because I heard them fighting at night too so I trimmed their whiskers but the situation is still pretty much the same and Ray is still weak. All he does these days is eating hay (a lot of hay), drinking and sleeping next to the cage door. I tried to separate them for a few hours too but they were calling to each other and seemed anxious so I put them back together.

What I forgot to mention is that I used to buy pellets for them which they loved (especially Ray) but ever since my sister started taking care of the chins and because of the corona lockdown she stopped buying them (because the pet stores didn’t have them) so now the chins only eat hay and some treats occasionally. Tomorrow I’ll try and go buy the pellets and see if anything changes.

I know this post is super long but I tried to include all the details that could be helpful. I really don’t know what to do and I’m worried about Ray :/
 

Amethyst

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Although chins can survive on hay alone they can't really thrive on it (generally you'll see things like weight loss as well a poorer coat quality). Personally I don't advise going more then a week or so on hay alone if you can prevent it. Pellets are needed in the diet, especially if you are only feeding one kind of hay, the nutrients in hay can vary from crop to crop, so the pellets help fill in for anything the hay may be lacking to make sure the chin is getting a balanced diet. My guess would Ray is getting malnourished for some reason, but not sure why it's not effecting his brother if the hay is lacking, maybe he isn't processing something in the hay. I would try getting some pellets for them, and also see if you can book a vet appointment to rule out any medical issues.

Also what are you giving for treats? Most treats sold in pet stores sadly contain a lot of junk food, things like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, sugar, and animal products, all can cause health issues in chins.
 

veronicaaa

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Aug 28, 2019
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Thank you so much for the reply!

I’ll definitely book a vet appointment as soon as possible. I just needed some kind of advice first because we’ve had 3 chins before 9 years ago but this was the first time I saw happen so I was surprised.

And as treats, I only give both of them a very thin apple slice every two weeks. I used to buy them a mix of dried flowers, too. I don’t buy food mixes in stores cause I don’t trust those and they usually are just a bunch of random treats put together in one bag.
 

Amethyst

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Apple is not safe for chins, it's too high in sugar which can lead to issues like diabetes, liver and kidney failure, and tooth decay. Some issues take years to develop so you can feed them things like apples for years before you realize the damage it's causing. If the apple is not dried it can also cause issues like diarrhea. Here is a list of safe treat options.

Apple Blossom
Bee Pollen (small pinch per week)
Blessed Thistle
Cactus Flower
Calendula
Carnation
Chamomile
Whole Dandelion (flower, stem, leaves, root)
Goji Berry (max 1x per month)
Hawthorne Berry
Hawthorne Leaf
Hibiscus
Honeysuckle
Jasmine
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Mallow
Marigold
Marshmallow Root
Milk Thistle
Mint
Nasturtiums
Oat Grout
Peony
Peppermint
Plain Cheerios (1-2 a week)
Plain Shredded Wheat (a small piece once or twice a week)
Poplar Buds
Purple Globe Clover
Raspberry Leaves
River Oats
Rolled Oats (2-3 oats a week)
Rose Buds
Rose Petals
Rose Hips
 

veronicaaa

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Aug 28, 2019
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Apologies for the late reply but the area I live in has always some internet/connection issues, but thank you so much for the list, it helped a lot!

As for an update, I managed to book the vet appointment but sadly the only day available was on Monday the 13th, so I’ll have to wait for a couple of days. But I bought the pellets and also changed the hay for a different brand and I’ve noticed Ray has been chirpier (he jumps around the cage more and also sleeps on the top level of cage cuddled up with his brother like he always used to) and I believe he is slowly gaining weight back too so I’m a little less worried now but I’ll see what the vet says on Monday.

Once again thank you for your advice :)
 
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