Chinchilla bald spot on tail

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lholly9

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Jul 1, 2021
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My 6 y/o chinchilla has had a bald patch on his tail for a year and a half now.

When I first noticed it I wasn't too concerned as he does have a history of nibbling at his fur on his body (mainly when he was younger).
He also went to the vet for a general check up and there were no problems.

I guess it's just a habit, though it did seem to get a bit worse when my other chinchilla died a year ago.
(They weren't bonded but their cages were side by side).

Today, however, I noticed a little scab.
I assume he just nibbled a bit too hard.
As you can see in the picture the actual skin looks healthy and there doesn't seem to be any infection or parasite, he also acts completely normally.

I would assume if it were something like ringworm, the infection would have gotten worse considering he's had the bald patch for 1.5 years!

I was wondering if there is anything I can put on the area to discourage him from biting it so it can heal, and perhaps so I can break the habit as well.

I didn't think about this until I saw someone mention it but they didn't say what to use.

Sorry for the long post!
 

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Amethyst

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Has it been checked out by a vet? I know you said he has been vet checked but did you specifically ask about the tail? It looks like he may have bitten it or if you have any other animals may be something else got his tail through the cage. One reason for chewing on the tail can be pain, so I would take him to the vet to make sure their isn't an old injury there or anything. It can also simply be habit, kind of like a human chewing their nails. If it's not caused by pain you can try just distracting him, new toys, new cage set up, stuff like that so he is too busy checking new things out that it gives the tail wound time to heal. I don't really know of anything that you can put on it that will stop them from chewing it if they want to, other then putting a cone on him. I've even heard they actually like the taste of those bitter no chew sprays like you would use for dogs or cats.
 

lholly9

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Jul 1, 2021
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Has it been checked out by a vet? I know you said he has been vet checked but did you specifically ask about the tail? It looks like he may have bitten it or if you have any other animals may be something else got his tail through the cage. One reason for chewing on the tail can be pain, so I would take him to the vet to make sure their isn't an old injury there or anything. It can also simply be habit, kind of like a human chewing their nails. If it's not caused by pain you can try just distracting him, new toys, new cage set up, stuff like that so he is too busy checking new things out that it gives the tail wound time to heal. I don't really know of anything that you can put on it that will stop them from chewing it if they want to, other then putting a cone on him. I've even heard they actually like the taste of those bitter no chew sprays like you would use for dogs or cats.

Thanks for replying!

Considering its been such a long time since the bald patch first appeared I don't think it's pain. Otherwise surely by now it would have started to affect him in other ways.
I really do think it's a habit like we have (I'm guilty of nail biting myself 😅).

I track his weight every week and there has been no change in his personality or activity and he always has plenty of toys in his cage.

It actually already looks a lot better today! I'll attach another photo.

He is due a check up soon though, so I'll ask the vet to have a look at his tail and to see what she thinks.

Thanks again!20220627_141928.jpg
 

Amethyst

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I don't just mean lots of toys, I mean rotate the toys, like you would a dog, take some out and put different ones in from time to time. Even if he has lots of toys if they are the same ones always there they are boring. Simply taking some out and put different ones in, then later putting the ones you took out back in can make them "new" again.

Another thought, especially with the last pic, does he stick his tail out of the cage like that a lot? I wonder if it could simply be he is rubbing the fur off there to some extent too, so not only chewing it off. Tail fur doesn't normally shed at the same rate as the rest of the fur, so if it gets chewed or rubbed off it can take about 6 months to a year to grow back.
 

lholly9

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Jul 1, 2021
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8
I don't just mean lots of toys, I mean rotate the toys, like you would a dog, take some out and put different ones in from time to time. Even if he has lots of toys if they are the same ones always there they are boring. Simply taking some out and put different ones in, then later putting the ones you took out back in can make them "new" again.

Another thought, especially with the last pic, does he stick his tail out of the cage like that a lot? I wonder if it could simply be he is rubbing the fur off there to some extent too, so not only chewing it off. Tail fur doesn't normally shed at the same rate as the rest of the fur, so if it gets chewed or rubbed off it can take about 6 months to a year to grow back.

I do try and rotate toys, and luckily the place where I buy toys for him have released a bunch of new ones so he'll have some things he's never seen before 😊

And yes, his tail does tend to stick out very often when he sits on that shelf (it's his favourite!).

Although I have caught him nibbling at his tail (It's like the same nibbling when he cleans his body fur), he could absolutely be rubbing it too.
He is mainly awake during the night so it's not easy for me to monitor what's happening with his tail well.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply!
 

borwin98

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I do try and rotate toys, and luckily the place where I buy toys for him have released a bunch of new ones so he'll have some things he's never seen before 😊

And yes, his tail does tend to stick out very often when he sits on that shelf (it's his favourite!).

Although I have caught him nibbling at his tail (It's like the same nibbling when he cleans his body fur), he could absolutely be rubbing it too.
He is mainly awake during the night so it's not easy for me to monitor what's happening with his tail well.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply!
Try moving his favorite shelf to another area where his tail won't stick out of the cage.
 

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