Critical Care Force Feeding- Tips, Suggestions?

DawnStar

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Jan 7, 2020
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37
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Missouri
Hello! I have been perusing for a couple months here. I haven't gotten to introduce myself. I wasn't sure if I should post this in new owners or emergencies. If I need to move it let me know! I am upset, distraught and looking for some good vibes and advice! Everything I've read confirms that force feeding is miserable for all parties and you just have to have perseverance. Is there anything I can do to make this process easier for any or all parties, such as mixing something with the critical care, burrito tips, etc.?

I rescued two females, 8-10 yrs, a male, 6 yrs, (not neutered) about a month ago. Gotta keep em separated 🎶! I would love to elaborate on their stories and will post in the new owner threads if anyone is interested.

I noticed that I could hear one of the females breathing-- that doesn't seem right.. So, I took her to the vet. It was not right at all! This ordeal has turned into quite the mess. :eek: She returned from small animal ICU on Thursday night (2/13), being kept 3 nights and 4 days. Her respiratory diagnosis is bronchitis. Startlingly, when they did an x-ray they found a mass in her stomach. Maybe it's a hair matte or compacted food 🤷‍♀️. Diagnosis = gastrointestinal stasis. :cry: I know this is not good news!! I have the x-ray I can send to anyone or post if interested. The vet suggested surgery (I've researched here and elsewhere and recognize the dangers). Also mentioned alternatively the highly debated pineapple juice, or papaya juice to help break it down..But before we can even discuss further actions with the stomach we have to get her breathing back to normal. I've been given two oral medications, which I can post if necessary, and oxbow critical care.

I have never force fed a small animal! I took off work the first day of solo force feeding to acclimate myself. The whole process is getting harder and not easier- is that a good sign? The vet tech made making a burrito seem incredibly easy and did it the way most of the tutorial videos seen on YouTube. It is incredibly difficult with this squirmy pants. Any tips? She just doesn't want the Crit Care food! Can I mix it with anything? Is there a typical time frame for force feeding? I understand it differs per animal and situation but is there a, "Don't do it longer than X." Is there a weaning process? What should I be doing to see if she'll eat by herself (like hand feeding pellets or maybe a treat)?

As I'm writing this, I'm coming up with more questions ... so feel like I need to take a break. I just want her her to bounce back and feel better!!
 

ChocolatPocky

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Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
52
I'm a new chin owner and had to force feed critical care after having had my chin, Mr. B, for a month. Talk about a real crash course! :p Mr. B didn't like his critical care either but he had to eat or he'd be one sad/dead chin. :(

My advice:

I first tried it on a table, like how the vet tech had showed me. Uugghh so exhausting, he found ways to get off the table and I had to chase him around. Not good for a sick/exhausted chin!

Plan B: I force fed him in a small cramped space he can't escape! No table, but I sit on the ground cross legged and put the cloth near me and tried my best to swaddle him once I catch him. I mostly just pinch the cloth together snuggly under his chin (be careful not to catch any little arms/neck in it!), so he is upright and facing forward (away from you), this prevents him from squirming out/forward and frees up my other hand to feed him. For the bottom half I roughly wrap the towel up under him, and use my legs to kinda "trap" his back legs in the towel so he doesn't kick/struggle. I didn't have the skill to wrap the towel properly around his bottom half.. :/ bleh anyways, whatever works! Then you just wiggle the feeder in and squirt little dollops of it into their mouth. It was definitely tricky at first but eventually I could get ~2-3 syringes of food down his throat per swaddling, and then give him a little break. Mr. B was very nice and only nips when he's annoyed, so I hope your chin isn't a big biter! Stay calm and speak softly/encouragingly, I think that helps too.

This actually really accelerated our bonding and forced me to become confident in catching/holding him! All in all a good thing. :) Good luck with your girl!

For Mr. B I had to force feed him for at least a week when he was on his meds, and then you can slowly wean her off the critical care when you see her starting to eat pellets/hay on her own. Ideally she won't be on critical care for TOO long bc if she's not chewing hay/hard stuff her teeth might growing too long. Most importantly she must be pooping! Pooping = gut is moving and not in stasis.
 
Last edited:

DawnStar

Active member
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
37
Location
Missouri
I'm a new chin owner and had to force feed critical care after having had my chin, Mr. B, for a month. Talk about a real crash course! :p Mr. B didn't like his critical care either but he had to eat or he'd be one sad/dead chin. :(

My advice:

I first tried it on a table, like how the vet tech had showed me. Uugghh so exhausting, he found ways to get off the table and I had to chase him around. Not good for a sick/exhausted chin!

Plan B: I force fed him in a small cramped space he can't escape! No table, but I sit on the ground cross legged and put the cloth near me and tried my best to swaddle him once I catch him. I mostly just pinch the cloth together snuggly under his chin (be careful not to catch any little arms/neck in it!), so he is upright and facing forward (away from you), this prevents him from squirming out/forward and frees up my other hand to feed him. For the bottom half I roughly wrap the towel up under him, and use my legs to kinda "trap" his back legs in the towel so he doesn't kick/struggle. I didn't have the skill to wrap the towel properly around his bottom half.. :/ bleh anyways, whatever works! Then you just wiggle the feeder in and squirt little dollops of it into their mouth. It was definitely tricky at first but eventually I could get ~2-3 syringes of food down his throat per swaddling, and then give him a little break. Mr. B was very nice and only nips when he's annoyed, so I hope your chin isn't a big biter! Stay calm and speak softly/encouragingly, I think that helps too.

This actually really accelerated our bonding and forced me to become confident in catching/holding him! All in all a good thing. :) Good luck with your girl!

For Mr. B I had to force feed him for at least a week when he was on his meds, and then you can slowly wean her off the critical care when you see her starting to eat pellets/hay on her own. Ideally she won't be on critical care for TOO long bc if she's not chewing hay/hard stuff her teeth might growing too long. Most importantly she must be pooping! Pooping = gut is moving and not in stasis.

Thank you for replying..and thank you for your words. That is actually REALLY great advice. I've only had mine for a month as well so I agree with the crash course.

Sadly, I came on here to delete my post. I can't figure out how. --- We lost her last night. 😭 ---
 

ChocolatPocky

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Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
52
Thank you for replying..and thank you for your words. That is actually REALLY great advice. I've only had mine for a month as well so I agree with the crash course.

Sadly, I came on here to delete my post. I can't figure out how. --- We lost her last night. 😭 ---
Oh no! I'm so sorry for your loss... :cry: It did sound like her situation was really bad, and you tried your best. Chins are in a super precarious situation when they aren't eating/pooping, stasis is no joke! And to add bronchitis on top of that.. Thank you for trying to save her!

I hope you have better luck with your two other chins! ❤
 

Spoof

Kung Fu Chinny!
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Jan 30, 2009
Messages
2,573
Location
San Antonio, TX
I'm so sorry to hear about your girl! It sounds like you did an amazing job with her. :(

If you wouldn't mind leaving the post, it will could others in the future, especially with the great advice on hand feeding above.
 

tunes

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South Dakota
I wrap mine in a towel, burrito style, with only their head exposed. If they are wrapped well, they can't struggle and it makes it a heck of a lot easier to feed them.
 

DawnStar

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Location
Missouri
Thanks for your thoughts and kind words. If anyone has suggestions on things I should be looking for in the female that lost her sister - I would appreciate it .

She has been clingy but poo looks good . I saw suggestions for a chin buddy but the vet recommended we wait and see. Vet wellness appointment for the male and female next week!
 

Amethyst

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Thanks for your thoughts and kind words. If anyone has suggestions on things I should be looking for in the female that lost her sister - I would appreciate it .

She has been clingy but poo looks good . I saw suggestions for a chin buddy but the vet recommended we wait and see. Vet wellness appointment for the male and female next week!
You could get a chinnie buddie for the female (maybe that is what people were referring to not an actual new chinchilla), it's a chin safe chinchilla shaped stuffed toy that she can snuggle with. Some chins like them others don't, but it might be worth a try, it can't hurt.
 

DawnStar

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Jan 7, 2020
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Location
Missouri
You could get a chinnie buddie for the female (maybe that is what people were referring to not an actual new chinchilla), it's a chin safe chinchilla shaped stuffed toy that she can snuggle with. Some chins like them others don't, but it might be worth a try, it can't hurt.
Thanks for the suggestion! She's been clingy - so maybe this will help. I don't mind of course but I can't help but feel like the little girl is lonely.
 

DawnStar

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Jan 7, 2020
Messages
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Location
Missouri
I wanted to come back and say that I just got back from a wellness exam and X-rays for my surviving chins.

The male, Chip, is doing marvelous!!!
The female, Sassy, has a small tiny something in her colon, (thankfully not in her bladder!) but the vet thinks it is tiny enough it will pass. I'll bring her in a few weeks from now to get an updated x-ray to make sure it isn't still there. I can only think of maybe she pulled up fleece and gnawed some plastic 🤷‍♀️. I will need to invest in metal pans, I think.

It was a lot of money- but I am so happy that I had tears! On the way home, the guy in front of me threw a rock and nicked my windshield :cautious:-*grumble* ... I'd rather replace a windshield than have to go through a sick chin ever again!

Thanks for your support!! 💜
 

kardelen

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Mar 16, 2014
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Athens
What exactly do you feed your chin?
Mine is catatonic and hasn't eaten since yesterday....
 

kardelen

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Mar 16, 2014
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Athens
Mazuri pellet and Timothy hay .

I hope your little one bounces back ! What happened ? 😳
She is catatonic and hypothermic. Not eating, not drinking not moving. Doc gave oil and antibiotics he said he doesn't hear anything in lungs but bowl movement is slow so some sort of blockage..... She is really not doing well....
 

DawnStar

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Jan 7, 2020
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Missouri
She is catatonic and hypothermic. Not eating, not drinking not moving. Doc gave oil and antibiotics he said he doesn't hear anything in lungs but bowl movement is slow so some sort of blockage..... She is really not doing well....
Whoa ! Blood tests at all? I'm really thinking about you! Are you giving critical care so she gets her nutrients ?
 
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