Drooling- could it be anything other than mal?

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Aurora's Mommy
Feb 9, 2015
Aurora is my 4 year old chinchilla whom I adopted when she was just over 1. As of late, my boyfriend and I have been noticing wet spots on her front paws and under her chin which appears to be from drooling. This is the only symptom we've seen that would make us think it could be mal. She's eating her food and hay at the same rate she always has (she's super picky so I would think this would be an issue, but has not been). Also her poops are normal, and she doesn't seem any less active or social.

While I know you can't always tell without an x-ray, from what we can see her teeth look fine. We also tried feeling around her jaw for any unusual bumps and all seems normal. I've noticed a few drops of water that leaked out below where her bottle sits, but it doesn't look like its leaking enough to cause a wet spot of this size on her.

Just to be safe, I'm setting up an appointment with the vet regardless, but I was wondering if anyone else has experienced anything like this or has any ideas of something else that could be causing this? Also, if I'm missing any of the warning signs of mal, please share! I'm stressing out because I read somewhere that they often will suggest putting down chins with mal because shaving the teeth is painful and only a temporary solution to an unfixable problem. I'm not ready to lose my baby )':
Drooling is just a sign of mouth pain, it could be malo, but it also could be something as simple as a tooth spur or something caught in her teeth. If it's a tooth spur, depending on what caused it, they just need to file it down and maybe file some of the other teeth so they line up right again. Unfortunately a tooth spur in such a young chin doesn't sound good. Tooth spurs can cause painful sores in the mouth, which can get infected so antibiotics may also be used. Getting something caught in their teeth is also not uncommon, chewing on hay and wood all day it's not too much to think they got a splinter or piece of hay stuck. Another issue that can happen is overgrown molars can also curl over on top of the tongue and trap it.

Feeling her jaw and not noticing anything doesn't rule out malo, it just means if she does have it the roots haven't elongated downward enough to feel it. The roots also grow upward into the skull too, and you can't feel those. The most common additional sign of going into the skull are runny eyes. You can also only see the front teeth without an x-ray, or at the very least a scope. Most problems tend to occur with the molars not the incisors.

You are right in that if she does have malo there is no cure (aside from having all the teeth removed, not advised), but filing the teeth can buy you time. Depending on how bad the malo is and how fast your chin's teeth grow you could actually have her for a few more years with regular filing before you need to put her down. I wouldn't think it's that much more painful then having work done on your own teeth at the dentist, it may hurt for a few days to a week, maybe a couple weeks if a lot of work was done, but then you are back to normal.

You said she is picky, but she is still eating hay. Is she actually eating a good amount everyday? Chins need to grind down about a handful of hay everyday, which should actually be their primary food and should make up about 70% or more of their diet. You also want to make sure you offer different kinds of hay, since each wear down teeth differently.
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