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Help with fureating and one doesn't like the other anymore?

Hanakishi

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Hello,

I wasn't quite sure if my question is at the right place, but I guess I'm a new owner and at a loss with this situation.

Currently I have a few problems with my 2-year old Chinchillas ( 2 of them Chorin and Watagashi) and hope to get some advice.

A year ago I got 2 chinchillas from a breeder and had no big problems in the beginning, they were already bonded with each other as well before arriving at my place.
A few weeks ago I noticed that Chorin was bloated and brought him to the vet, where the diagnosis was that he has a blockage, which resulted from eating too much fur.
The vet told me it may be because he was cleaning himself and the other chinchilla too much. I didn't think much about it at that time. Is it possible that there are other causes for this? stress-induced reasons maybe? The vet recommended me to feed 2ml Lactulose to Chorin, the one with the blockage. Unfortunately it's kinda hard to give him the meds via syringe. In the last few days I mixed the med with oats, which he then happily ate. Do any of you have any tips, so that he'll eat the meds voluntarily? Or is it bad to give him oats at all? At least he eats, drinks and poops. Still, his poop is relatively small.

The 2nd part of my problem is that a few days after Chorin being home again, (I let both stay at the vet together 1 day) Watagashi started to chase Chorin a lot. Some times they'd cuddle together and some times Watagashi will chase Chorin. Unfortunately there's a lot of furslip and I can see that Chorin is scared and hiding from Watagashi, that's why I decided in this emergency to divide the cage (100x80x180cm)(LxWxH). After 1 day it wasn't even possible to have playtime together because Watagashi will try to bite Chorin at first sight. Probably Chorin can't get well, because of all this stress. Do any of you know what's the cause of it? or have any solutions for it? Otherwise I need to either buy a new additional cage or give one away (not quite sure if another cage fits my apartment). I was at the end of my ropes in the last few days. It's really disheartening to see Chorin not pooping normally for now and now even Watagashi doesn't like him anymore.

I hope you have any advice. If any information is missing, then please ask straight away. I'd be really thankful for any small advice.

Thank you for your time.
 

Amethyst

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It can happen that a bonded pair can have a falling out, even after being together for years, just like a married couple can end up not liking each other and no longer want to live together. I would look at getting a second cage or keep them separated in the one you have if that is possible. I don't know what the cage is like but based on the measurements it's bigger then a double Ferret Nation cage, and a single unit FN is big enough for one chin. It is also possible that Watagashi senses something is not right with Chorin (smells sick or the smell of the meds makes him smell not right), I would try just keeping them separate until he is all better and then see how they get along again.

I would not give oats very often, they can cause gas and bloat, as well as throw of the calcium/phosphorous levels in the diet. Oats, if given at all (some no longer give them at all due to chemical use on crops) should be limited to just a few oats like 2-4 oats a week. I'm not really sure what else you can mix meds with, maybe you can try mixing into some mushed up pellets, or get some critical care and mix it into that? I've never giving lactulose to chins, but the way it works it pulls water to the intestines to help soften the poop, so that can cause dehydration so you need to make sure he is drinking plenty of water, mixing up watery critical care or crushed pellets in water and syringe feeding that can help increase the amount of water he is getting. You can also try syringe feeding just water, but there is a risk of accidentally squirting too much in the mouth and the chin inhaling getting water in their lungs.

Hairballs are very rare in chinchillas though, so unless your chin is chewing fur off himself and the other or fur slipping and eating it my first thought would not be hairball. How did they determine it was a hairball? Normally with a blockage they do x-rays then having you come back in in a few days to see if it's moving through or not. A blockage should pass within a couple days, or at least be showing signs of moving alone, if not it might be stuck and need surgery to remove it. Other things that commonly cause blockages are them eating things they can't digest, like paper, cardboard, fabric, or plastic. If it's been a few weeks now then something is not right and he needs to see the vet again or possibly try another vet if that one isn't knowledgeable about chins.
 

Hanakishi

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Thanks for your answer.
Unfortunately, I tested all the recommendations already. Chorin hates crushed pellets and in general he doesn't eat a lot of them, just a few compared to Watagashi. I even bought 3 different critical cares (Fine grind, Apple&Banana, Anis) and he hates all three of them. For me the question arises... if there's something I can mix it with, such that he'll like to eat it. Sigh...It would be good if he'd be less picky like Watagashi. He likes the critical care ( I even heard that it is actually delicious?) and even tried to steal Chorin's lactulose some times (before their fight).

It's too bad that I saw your post just after feeding Chorin oats again with lactulose. It's not even just 1-2, but relatively a lot I think... a teaspoon?. I'll try to forcefeed via syringe again and hope it works.
What I noticed is that he doesn't drink a lot of water, even not a lot usually when he isn't sick.

Maybe I should talk more about the medical history which may be long.

When I was at the vet this time it was the 2nd visit already. In both visits they made two xrays (before and after the "staying overnight" in the morning) and said in the morning that it was fur which was the blockage. They couldn't think of anything else, which may be the blockade. After the first visit the blockage was moving through(said the vet) and the vet recommended me that I had to give him every 3 days 1ml lactulose. Unfortunately, as a naive owner I thought I'd give him a small break, as he was really scared after the visit and just started to give him lactulose after about 2 weeks. After the first visit his poop was back to normal and even after those 2 weeks nothing happened. One week (week 3) after that Chorin suddenly relapsed from "being nothing wrong with poop" to "no poop at all", just a sudden change after one day. Additionally, the symptoms were even worse than the 1st time, so I was quite unsure if the problem was even solved after the first visit or it was only temporary. That's why I had to bring him to the vet again. After the 2nd visit the vet unfortunately couldn't take Chorin in, cause of renovations in their office. Because of that the vet described me to give him 2 days a set of lactulose, emeprid (gut mobility drug, I think?), painkillers and forcing him to eat critical care.
There was almost no problem on the 1st day, I was just about 10ml short of critical care than described.
The 2nd day, it was almost impossible to give him any meds nor critical care. He started to bite me strongly and didn't want to cooperate at all. So, I did give him the described meds, but could just give a little bit critical care.

It's already 1 week now and his poop is small, nonetheless he poops. Thanks for your recommendation I'll try to check out the vet again tomorrow and hope that it was only my incompetence that his blockage was not resolved. The vet mentioned a possible surgery like you said if it's not moving through, but I really hope that he doesn't need to go through a surgery.

The vet told me to brush his fur with a "dog flea comb", I tried to do that as well. However, either I'm not doing it deep enough or it doesn't help at all. Do you have any experience with that?

I also hope that you're right that Watagashi just doesn't want Chorin near him, cause of something being wrong with him and that they'll be friends again after he gets well again.
 

Amethyst

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I'm not sure it's an option for you depending on where you live, but Fuzzy Kingdom has a syringe feed that apparently chins love, even ones that don't like Critical care, it might be worth a try. Syringe Feed Complex for Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, Rabbits She also has some other supplements too like one for stress.
One reason for forcing the critical care (or other syringed food) is, as I said it helps make sure he is drinking enough, but also it helps push everything through his system.

I find a flea comb can be too fine toothed, I use a metal comb that has fine (but not as narrow as a flea comb) and wider teeth, I start with the wider teeth side first. Also the way their fur grows you can get up under it better if you brush backwards, from tail to head (that is how show chins are brushed to fluff up the fur). There are videos on YouTube on how to do it. I'm not sure how much fur you are going to get out through unless he is shedding though.

1601244124698.png comb.jpg
 

Hanakishi

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I'm very thankful for your help.
Am I right, that it is out of stock right now? Unfortunately, I'm on my phone right now, so I'm not quite sure. At least I don't see some buttons to add it to the cart. I saw that they delivered world-wide, so I am relieved, because I live in Germany. I do want to try any possible solutions and will buy it when its in stock with the stress and anxiety supplements. I do hope that he'll eat it voluntarily. At least I need the syringe feed in the next emergency situation. I'll look into the comb and try to purchase one like this and thanks for the idea how to brush them. Actually I did it the wrong way then.

20190117_221253.jpg

That's how the cage looks like in the beginning. Do you think it's appropiate if I divided the cage 1:2?
Chorin is actually not that active, that's why I gave him the upper part.
Whereas Watagashi is really jumpy, so I gave him the two lower parts and bought a new small house for him to rest. My question would be if the size of 1 part of the cage would be appropiate for a Chinchilla? Or do I really need to look for a second cage?

It reminds me, i may have other assumptions why the blockage occured. I thought about the lava edge stone, which I bought. But the vet said on the xray it doesnt look like stoney things. So I had another thought. I saw him eating the bedding a lot. I actually use straw pellets, as I saw some pages recommending them, but some pages say that bedding shouldn't expand. But the straw pellets always seem to me like they do expand...Could that may be the reason? So I just wanted to ask, if they're safe to have as bedding. Or if I should change them, then to what kind of bedding? It was so hard to research about it, because there were too many opionions confusing me.

As always thank you that you take your time to help me.
 
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Amethyst

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Oh sorry I didn't notice the out of stock note on the syringe food, sorry about that. Says out of stock until September/October, so maybe it will be back in stock soon, hopefully.
I think 1/3 of the cage should be big enough, that would be roughly 60cm high by 80 wide by 100cm long? so that should be ok, especially if he get out of cage playtime. The absolute minimum cage size would be about 60x60x60 (the average size of breeder's cages and legal minimum of kept as "livestock") but personally I think that is too small. ;)

The straw bedding I've heard mix things about, personally I say not a good idea and have been known to cause blockages. Pellet litters in general are designed to absorb and expand, even if they don't expand much the fact that they absorb moisture means they can end up absorbing most of the moisture in the gut and get stuck, especially with chinchillas since they don't drink much water, which would help break up and flush it out. The only bedding really considered safe would be kiln dried pine shavings or aspen shavings, personally I use aspen in their litter pan to pee on and line the floors with fleece liners. The odds of the blockage being from swallowing a lava rock are pretty slim, I would think he would have likely choked if it was big enough to cause a blockage.
 

louiseann.

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I’m not sure whether you can get it where you live, but our Vet recommended Protexin Fibreplex for Rabbits. It’s a probiotic and my chins absolutely love it. We were able to mix the fibreplex and medicine on a spoon and my chin just licked it clean every time, he wasn’t a fan of being syringe fed anything either. Made the medicine part of his care really simple.
 

Hanakishi

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Thanks both for your recommendations. Chorin is now at the vet and they'll give him critical care and medicine until wednesday hoping that it'll move through itself. If until thursday nothing worked they asked me if I'll consider to agree to do surgery on him. I do hope that it won't come to that.

For the bedding, I was thinking of buying a kiln-dried pine shaving bedding : Hagen Living World Kiefernspäne Shavings/Diverse Modelle: Amazon.de: Garten

Because all the aspen shavings on amazon.de are either for snakes? I don't know if that will work?

Or one which is personally for me really expensive? compared to the kiln-dried pine shaving:


Are those beddings recommended because the chinchillas won't eat them? or do they just not expand/clump in their stomach? I was thinking of just not using any bedding at all and try to do with only fleece beddings =/.

thanks loiseann for the recommendation of the probiotics. Indeed, it is possible to buy it here in Germany as well. Do you know what's the ratio of the probiotics to medicine? For example if I need 2ml Lactulose? Is it possible to "overfeed" the probiotics and obtaining negative effects? diarrhea or something?

Thank you both again for your help. I'll post again maybe later when the vet is calling me talking about the presend condition of Chorin after one day. I hope he's getting better and doesn't need any surgery.
 

Amethyst

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Thanks both for your recommendations. Chorin is now at the vet and they'll give him critical care and medicine until wednesday hoping that it'll move through itself. If until thursday nothing worked they asked me if I'll consider to agree to do surgery on him. I do hope that it won't come to that.

For the bedding, I was thinking of buying a kiln-dried pine shaving bedding : Hagen Living World Kiefernspäne Shavings/Diverse Modelle: Amazon.de: Garten

Because all the aspen shavings on amazon.de are either for snakes? I don't know if that will work?

Or one which is personally for me really expensive? compared to the kiln-dried pine shaving:


Are those beddings recommended because the chinchillas won't eat them? or do they just not expand/clump in their stomach? I was thinking of just not using any bedding at all and try to do with only fleece beddings =/.
Kiln dried pine and aspen shavings are the only recommended bedding because if they eat them they can safely digest them. Chins are designed to eat small amounts of wood like they do when chewing on wood shelves, toys, and chew sticks. Aspen for snakes is safe, but tends to be more expensive, it's just more finely shredded to be safe for snakes to burrow into without getting hurt. Kiln dried pine is fine too though, it just seems to trigger my allergies a bit, and it has a smell to it, aspen is pretty much odorless. Aside from something to absorb the pee they don't really need bedding though. As I said I just use fleece liners and have a small pan of shavings for my guys to pee in (though they do pee on the fleece some too). Here is a pic of the bottom of my chins' cage right now.
1601394590944.png

If you only do fleece you will likely need to change it at least a couple times a week, it doesn't mask odor at all like shavings do. Also if they are peeing on it make sure it's a few layers thick, I make my liners 3 layers of fleece so the pee gets absorbed into the inner layers. I prefer to just use more fleece inside rather then another material just incase they do chew a hole it's just more fleece inside not something that could be harmful like a towel or something that some people use. If you get them to use a pan of litter another option people do is use tile, it is nice and cool and easy to wipe clean. Most chins pick a spot to pee, normally a corner (my guys like to pee off the first shelf most of the time so it's in the middle) and you just put a pan of shavings there.
 

louiseann.

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Fibreplex comes in a syringe with 15 servings (15ml), we used 0.5 - 1 at a time on a 50/50 ratio.
Have a quick chat with the vet and double check they are happy for you to use along side the other medicines. They will be able to advise the maximum with his current medication.
Because Chorin is having issues getting his bowels moving it shouldn’t be a problem, just keep an eye on poops and if they are softening, cut back on the probiotic.

It’s probably a good thing that they are separated so you can keep an eye on water, food and poop levels. We were in a similar situation to you and had to split our boys up and unfortunately they never wanted to be with each other again. Your cage is nice and big for them to be split up so don’t worry about that. I really hope he’s okay xo
 

Hanakishi

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I got a call from the vet, but unfortunately they aren't only bad news, but the worst news.
They said that after those two days the blockage isn't really moving through. However, surgery which was an option now may not be a viable option anymore. They said that there's something wrong with his 'large intestines'? (I'm sorry I don't really know the correct word right now). They said that it is so bloated and that if it once is so bloated that it is hard for it to revert itself naturally. But they don't really know what is causing it.

They said it's like an up and down. Yesterday he was fine but today he got worse again. They told me it's not a viable option if he's bloated to do surgery on him. Finally, they told me to think about it, if I'd want to euthanize him, cause he indeed has strong stomach aches through this.

Both chinchillas are actually my first pet, so I am really disheartened about it and me and my family are either thinking of euthanizing him or even trying to get an opinion of other vets. Even though it is kinda hard to find a vet specialized in chinchillas. Do you think it is viable to search for another vet? (The vet I went is actually a rodent specialist).
 

Amethyst

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Well bloat is treatable, but it wont go away on it's own. Here is some info on Treatment and Prevention of Bloat Since it's combined with a blockage though it may have cause stasis, which could be why the blockage isn't moving and that is very hard, and in some cases not possible, to recover from. I'm also wondering if he could maybe have a tumor in his gut, which would be why it's not moving, and could also explain why the other chin was rejecting him, he knows something isn't right with him, like dogs that can sniff out cancer or other issues.

If possible I would try to get a second opinion, if you can get an appointment in the next day or so it can't hurt, the worst they can say is they agree with the first vet. If you do choose to euthanize, and you have the money, a necropsy (animal autopsy) is not a bad idea so you hopefully have a better idea of what went wrong and if it is something you need to worry about with your other chin.
 

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