Chinchilla bald patch above eye?

rodneyc8063

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Hi all

My chinchilla was born in 2013 June (so about 7 years young).

Recently we noticed her right eye, the fur around it seemed "poofy", like she messed it up.

Today when we were playing with her, we noticed that same eye seems to have developed a bald patch? This developed over the past month or two. Does anyone know what might be the cause?

Her diet consists of oxbox pellets, water, lots of hay and the odd oxbow treat. This is the same diet she's had since we first got her.

Her energy levels are fine, just as spunky as always. Appetite good, her weight is steady at 585- 590+ grams. She doesn't seem any different except for that bald patch. We are going to bring her to the vet, but ahead of that does anyone have any idea what this could be?

I have had a lot of small rodents and I know how fast they can deteriorate, so I'm just trying to gauge urgency level, and what to expect the vet to do.

Attached some photos as well below
 

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Chinmama

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Is it swollen, or just bald? I can't really tell from the picture. If it's swollen, it could be an abscess. If it's just bald, it does look like it could be ringworm.
 

rodneyc8063

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Is it swollen, or just bald? I can't really tell from the picture. If it's swollen, it could be an abscess. If it's just bald, it does look like it could be ringworm.
Hi there!

Since it was RIGHT above her eye, we couldnt quite tell if it was swollen at all - Since we felt both her good eye and bad eye, and they both seemed to have a slight bump (Im assuming its the natural eye socket).

We actually brought her in to the vet this past Monday (Southdown animal clinic in Missisauga, Toronto Canada). By the time we got to the vet and got her a check up, the vet noted that it appears that patch was a bit more pinky/reddish and also swollen.

While examining our chin, the vet also lifted her eye lids and noted how her good eye had a nice white "ring" around it (the whites of her eyes), while her "bad" eye seemed veiny red - Which implied to her that the bump was bothering her eye. We also noticed that our chin was starting to whince more and give a milky white eye discharge.

The vet advised us to lance the area as she suspected it could be an abcess but could not confirm until she saw what liquid came out.

After lancing the vet confirmed that it does appear to be an abcess as the liquid that came out was white/milky. We were advised to come back in a week for a follow up and were sent home with metacam and enrolfloxacin (baytril is another name for this drug I believe).

NEW ISSUE:

After sending us home, she advised us to give metacam once a day and the baytril twice a day. We noticed the evening after seeing the vet, our chin only eat 1 gram of her pellets over night (we weighed her pellet bowl). Our chin seemed to have lower energy levels, and was less interested in her regular food though she was readily taking treats. Her poop also seemed super small compared to usual, and also a LOT less poop and pee.

We are concerned the medication may be doing more harm then good and causing her to lose her appetite?

Should we perhaps stop the medication? Or can we continue with the medication but stimulate her appetite some how?

She is taking treats, but just not eating her pellets. Though not sure if she is digging into her hay bowl, or other chew toys in her cage, but thats not really "food".

Her food and water intake does seem significantly less then usual. I am tempted to stop her medication to let her get her appetite back
 

Pepperpot

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Baytril is a wide spectrum antibiotic and is notorious for suppressing appetite. It is important to continue the course of meds and syringe feed throughout the med period if your chin refuses to self feed. Try a probiotic in your chin’s water in order to help the gut flora stabilise.
 
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rodneyc8063

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Baytril is a wide spectrum antibiotic and is notorious for suppressing appetite. It is important to continue the course of meds and syringe feed throughout the med period if your chin refuses to self feed. Try a probiotic in your chin’s water in order to help the gut flora stabilis.
Not to sound bad, but how best can I syringe feed?

In the past I have used critical care, but have none on hand at the moment (will pick some up shortly).

But in the mean time, would it be sufficient if I made a liquid mash of my chins pellets to make her eat more? If so, is there anything I can add to the liquid mash to make it more "appealing" for her to want to eat?

Also, any suggested probiotics that I can use? I havent used probiotics before and am not sure what to look for?
 

Pepperpot

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I've always used Avipro Plus, but I'm in England and not sure what is available in the USA. You need to wrap your chin in a tea towel, burrito style, and place the nozzle of the syringe filled with Critical Care into the mouth behind the front teeth and gently squeeze, then allow your chin to swallow before repeating. Making a pellet porridge with warm water will not do any harm.
 

rodneyc8063

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So Im a bit conflicted as to what to do

Prior to going to the vet (Sunday this week), my chin weighed in at about 585 grams. After the vet gave the baytril and metacam (Monday morning), the next day I noticed that my chin wasnt eating anything except for treats, and she also dropped weight to about 545 grams (Tuesday morning).

I called the vet, and agreed to stop giving ALL medication to my chin to see whether her appetite would pick up again Tuesday midday.

As of Wednesday, her appetite did come back, but not a whole lot - As of Wednesday morning she weighed in at about 560 grams.

Wednesday night, I also picked up some critical care (apple banana flavor). My chin has never had this before, but she was sniffing the bag contents a lot. I prepped a very small bit, and put it on top of one of her treats hoping she gets used to the flavor. My chin sniffed, nibbled on the treat smeared with critical care and promptly threw it to the side.

I left her to do her own thing, and as of today (Thursday morning) her appetite seems to have dropped again? I can tell she drank water overnight, and picked through her timothy hay a bit but her pellets are totally untouched. I also left a treat inside her cage, but it was totally untouched.

My thinking is maybe the meds completely wore off at this point (Thursday), and possibly shes uncomfortable/in pain and therefore not eating. So I gave her a dose of metacam this morning, as I figure it wont hurt her at this point and if she is in pain then at least shes treated.

She was fine prior to going to the vet (appetite wise) - Really went south after taking the meds - Seemed to pick back up after stopping the meds (but not to her normal levels) - Then seemed to head south again last night a bit.

She seemed to lose even more interest in food yesterday AFTER tasting the critical care, but she still picked through her timothy hay.

So Im quite conflicted at the moment whether or not I should start force feeding critical care?

I have been weighing her pellet bowl everyday to see if shes eating it, so Im also basing a lot of her appetite loss on her pellets though.

Besides appetite she seems to be active though. She hops out of her cage for her runs, loves her dust baths, loves running on her wheel and around the cage.

On the one hand, I dont want to stress her out by force feeding her food and she is nibbling here and there but then on the other hand her food intake is less

Should I leave her be and hope her appetite comes back? Or should I force feed the critical care?
 

Dragonflye

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I always force feed Critical Care when a chin loses his appetite. Particularly when I notice they are pooping a lot less frequently or their poos are smaller than normal. It’s not pleasant, but it assures their gut keeps moving.
 

Chinmama

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I agree with force feeding. It's not fun for you or for them, but if their gut stops moving you have a whole new set of problems.
 

rodneyc8063

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Totally makes sense about the force feeding.

We did try to force feed last night with the critical care, and as mentioned it definitely was not a fun time for all parties involved :)

Is there anything I can do to help make the critical care more enticing?

My chin was really having none of it, and i think I got more on her face then actually in her mouth.

Can I mix in a juice or something?
 

rodneyc8063

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Hey all

Firstly thank you all for the advice and insight so far

So good news - It seems our chinny has begun to develop an appetite! Woke up to seeing a bunch of poop, saw she went through her hay and pellets and also drank some water.

We did weigh her though, and noticed that her weight has been "maintaining" the past few days.

So shes pooping and eating, although less then before seeing the vet and having the abcess drained, but its been ticking up in the past few days though.

Would it be safe at this point to stop force feeding her?

Just not sure when to stop/start force feeding.

Another question - So it looks like her weight has been maintaining the past few days. I am assuming and hoping her appetite continues to pick up - But how long can I expect until I begin to see her re-gain her lost weight?
 

rodneyc8063

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Quick update

We brought our chin back to the vet yesterday for a check up, and they noted that she seems to be doing ok generally over all, though this time we requested if we can get a pathologist to look at the fluid in her bump, since it still seems to be there. It looks better, just not perfect yet.

We noticed and also informed them that for the past few days her appetite seems to be trending upwards, though her weight was holding steady at around 555 grams? We had stopped feeding critical care for the past week, since we noticed that her appetite seems to be back and we wanted to let her pick up on her own.

Yesterday though after visiting the vet we weighed her in the evening and noticed she dropped to 540 grams. At the vet she did seem super stressed, she was non stop pooping, peed a big puddle and she some how managed to jump off the table when we were weighing her. Im assuming this weight loss may be stress related but none the less I am concerned since overall I would expect her to be trending upwards and not down.

I was just wondering, how soon/fast do chins regain weight? Do I need to force more play time to build up muscle/appetite?
 

rodneyc8063

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Another quick update

So my wife and I decided that we are going to force feed critical care for a bit longer as our chin is maintaining her weight (which is good), but is not gaining weight. So we thought the extra critical care feeding may help get a bit more food in her.

She does have a bit of an appetite, but just overall seems down. So with the extra force feeding, we are planning on doing it in the early mornings before we go to work, and probably right after work.

We did used to also feed her late in the evenings (around 9-10pm due to us getting home late). But we figure if we feed her that late, she may not be hungry for the rest of the night. So with the feeding in the morning (which is when she goes to sleep during the day), we want to force feed her and make sure she has a full belly before "bedtime". Then when she wakes up for the night, she can eat on her own since she does have a bit of an appetite.

From our last vet visit, they also took a culture to send off to cytology? To determine what exactly is going on. We got the results back, and they said that there doesnt seem to be a lot of bacteria but a lot of "neutrophiles"? and a lot of white blood cells which they said is a big red flag for infection, and no evidence of cancer or anything else (which is good news).

So this morning when we were force feeding her, her abcess ruptured in the middle of the feeding - so it was a bit of a panic moment as there was a bunch of white pus that came out and since the abcess was right above her eye we tried to clean it up as best we could with water and some gauze.

Once we got things under control though, we did take a q-tip and try to massage out more puss since the wound was open. We gave her a quick dose of the medication the vets gave to us originally (0.05 ml metacam and 0.02 ml baytril/enrolfloxacin) since we figured she had a full stomach, as well the abcess just ruptured we wanted to make sure she had good stuff in her.

Should we try to continue to massage the puss out? Since it seemed to burst on its own, i think we can massage it again and see if we can continue to get the puss out.

If we do massage it out, what should we use to clean it up? Is just water/gauze sufficient? Or is there a topical treatment we should try?

Im really hoping that with a full stomach, that she can tolerate the meds this time - As last week when she first got the meds her appetite totally dropped.
 

Unicorn777111

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Another quick update

So my wife and I decided that we are going to force feed critical care for a bit longer as our chin is maintaining her weight (which is good), but is not gaining weight. So we thought the extra critical care feeding may help get a bit more food in her.

She does have a bit of an appetite, but just overall seems down. So with the extra force feeding, we are planning on doing it in the early mornings before we go to work, and probably right after work.

We did used to also feed her late in the evenings (around 9-10pm due to us getting home late). But we figure if we feed her that late, she may not be hungry for the rest of the night. So with the feeding in the morning (which is when she goes to sleep during the day), we want to force feed her and make sure she has a full belly before "bedtime". Then when she wakes up for the night, she can eat on her own since she does have a bit of an appetite.

From our last vet visit, they also took a culture to send off to cytology? To determine what exactly is going on. We got the results back, and they said that there doesnt seem to be a lot of bacteria but a lot of "neutrophiles"? and a lot of white blood cells which they said is a big red flag for infection, and no evidence of cancer or anything else (which is good news).

So this morning when we were force feeding her, her abcess ruptured in the middle of the feeding - so it was a bit of a panic moment as there was a bunch of white pus that came out and since the abcess was right above her eye we tried to clean it up as best we could with water and some gauze.

Once we got things under control though, we did take a q-tip and try to massage out more puss since the wound was open. We gave her a quick dose of the medication the vets gave to us originally (0.05 ml metacam and 0.02 ml baytril/enrolfloxacin) since we figured she had a full stomach, as well the abcess just ruptured we wanted to make sure she had good stuff in her.

Should we try to continue to massage the puss out? Since it seemed to burst on its own, i think we can massage it again and see if we can continue to get the puss out.

If we do massage it out, what should we use to clean it up? Is just water/gauze sufficient? Or is there a topical treatment we should try?

Im really hoping that with a full stomach, that she can tolerate the meds this time - As last week when she first got the meds her appetite totally dropped.
Continue to flush the abscess with a warm salt solution use q-tips and gauze to absorb pus/blood away from the eye. Clean area with warm salt solution . You can use 3x antibiotic ointment on the affected area....ck with your vet they may suggest a different topical. I hope this helps and she's feeling better soon
🦔💖
 

rodneyc8063

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Continue to flush the abscess with a warm salt solution use q-tips and gauze to absorb pus/blood away from the eye. Clean area with warm salt solution . You can use 3x antibiotic ointment on the affected area....ck with your vet they may suggest a different topical. I hope this helps and she's feeling better soon
🦔💖
Many thanks for the advice!

We actually went back and tried using q-tips with warm water to "massage" her abcess, but it looks like its totally sealed up now :(

Its looking a lot more fleshy colored though, and doesnt look pus filled at all, or theres very little in there at least.

Would anyone know how can we "open up" the abcess again?
 

rodneyc8063

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Another update

I believe we are finally headed in the right direction

So to re-cap - Before going to the vet our chinny weighed in at about 590 grams. We also noticed this issue as shown below




There was a very distinct bald patch/lump right above her eye.

At our initial vet visit, the vet felt the bump and noted that it did not feel solid, but a bit "squishy" implying the lump was full of liquid. They advised us to lance it, and by seeing the discharge it would be quite telling as to what we are dealing with.

After coming back they noted that the discharge was a thick white liquid, the consistency of almost toothpaste.

After the lancing and first draining this is what it looked like




The vet also noted that when lifting our chins eyelids to look at the "whites" of her eyes, that it was a very veiny "bloodshot" looking.

The vet noted that it looks a lot more "dramatic" then it really is. She sent us home with a prescription of metacam and baytril/enrolfloxacin. We noticed an immediate drop in our chins appetite and her weight went down from 590 to 560. We updated the vet, and the vet told us for now to take our chin off the meds until her appetite returns, which we did and her weight stabilized in the 550-560 range.

We also force fed a mix of Sherwood SARx, Sherwood Appetite stimulant and also critical care to supplement her drop in food.

The second visit, the vet noted that the wound looked ok and showed us how to force feed more easily, though we noticed that her appetite was still very here and there. She was eating her pellets, hay, water and limited amount of treats we gave to her but overall her appetite was definitely down.

Upon the third visit to the vet, the lump looked like it was filling up again though it was showing signs of improvement. The whites of her eyes were now completely white, and the lump was smaller, though still present.

This time the vet advised us to do a pathologist report to determine what is the root cause of this lump. They told us that with a culture, it would determine if its a lot of neutrophiles (white blood cells) and if there was bacteria present which we agreed to.

He then took a needle and took a sample. After taking the sample and sending us home, we noted the lump now looked as follows



Notice that there is still a distinct area that is "yellowy" compared to the rest of the area. Mind you this is now the third week since we first went to drain it and we noted that she was not gaining weight, and her hair was not growing back still.

So we continued to force feed her this past week, and on one of our force feeding I must have accidentally burst the abcess. It was pretty freaky at the moment, but once we got things under control we took the opportunity to take a couple of q-tips to massage out as much of the yellow/white pus as we could since there was now a "point of entry".

We also got the test results as follows

lab.jpg

The lab results cost about $240 CDN to obtain.

The lab results noted that while it appears that it is highly likely it is an abcess, that no bacteria could be found. Our personal theory (aside from the vet) is that maybe there is no bacteria, as she has been able to fight off whatever the infection was, and now its just the remaining left over white blood cells that are left filled up.

Yesterday night we were able to massage out the rest of the white pus in her abcess. It is like how people say, take two q-tips and massage and "pinch" the abcess a bit - Just like popping a zit. This was the end result



If you take a close look, the abcess is significantly smaller/nearly gone and there is lots of little hairs growing in. So the amount of skin she has showing is less and less. The hair regrowth seems to start showing fuzz with a few days.

Initially after the first time draining the abcess from the vet, we didnt notice any hair re-growth. But the last two times that we were able to drain the abcess on our own, we can totally see baby hairs regrowing. So we suspect the hair re-growth wasnt happening since it was still pussey underneath. Now its just a small scab and pinky skin.

So I think we finally have the abcess under control and heres her grumpy look



So I dont think we need to give anymore medications (as that caused a huge appetite loss), and currently she seems to be eating/drinking/playing normally. So we dont want to stress her out to force feed her, since she is able to eat on her own, and eating on her own is always better.

But our main, and biggest concern now is that although her weight is holding steady - How long does it take a chin to regain weight?

As noted, she was initially 590 BEFORE going into the vet. Now after seeing the vet a total of 3 times over 3 weeks, taking baytril/metacam, force feeding shes sitting right in the 530-540 gram range.

Is it too optimistic to expect 10 grams weight gain per day? Or are we looking more at like 2-4 grams of weight gain per day?

Over the last two days we did notice that her lowest weight went from 528 to 530 minimum - Is this what we should be expecting?

If we need to force feed, we can - But from what I have been reading critical care isnt used for weight GAIN - Its more of a supplement to help MAINTAIN and PREVENT weight loss. But since she does seem to be able to eat on her own, we are thinking the benefits to letting her eat on her own out weigh us force feeding her.

Any thoughts of advice would be much appreciated
 

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Spoof

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Healthy weight gain takes a long time. I wouldn't expect her to be back to her normal weight before six months. If she is, great, but don't change her diet for it. Allow her immune system time to recover. After a severe injury I've seen on average 2-6 months depending on the age of the chinchilla. If it is a young chinchilla they bounce back quickly. An older chinchilla takes a lot longer, plus yours took quite a beating from the meds.
 

rodneyc8063

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Healthy weight gain takes a long time. I wouldn't expect her to be back to her normal weight before six months. If she is, great, but don't change her diet for it. Allow her immune system time to recover. After a severe injury I've seen on average 2-6 months depending on the age of the chinchilla. If it is a young chinchilla they bounce back quickly. An older chinchilla takes a lot longer, plus yours took quite a beating from the meds.
Thanks for the advice! We took it slow and didnt change her diet, or give her extra treats.

So far from Feb 10, her lowest weight was about 528 grams.

Its been about 2 months now and shes bounced a bit back up to 560-570g

Though I am going to make another post slightly related to this issue.

So since this all began to now shes drinking fine, eating her hay, eating her pellets, taking the occasional treat. Shes coming out for her runs and I been spoiling her a bit more with dust baths more often then usual.

But recently when we were handling her, she did something VERY weird with her "bad eye".

She opened up her "bad eye" super wide - So wide to the point that we could totally see the whites of her eyes as a total ring almost like her eye was going to pop out. It was quite freaky and happened twice in one day. Once when we were initially handling her, then we put her back and a second time when we came back to check on her.

Is it normal to be able to see the whites of a chins eyes without touching it? Like she totally opened her bad eye super wide.

We also did a very thorough examination around her bad eye - Felt all around to make sure there was no new growths or lumps and didnt find anything. But we did notice that her "bad eye" seems to protude out more then her "good eye"?

Its hard to explain, but we could feel through the skin that her bad eye seemed to protude out more and we are not sure if this is a cause for concern. Otherwise her behaviour is totally normal.
 

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