Quarantine?

sheena lee

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I'm getting a new chinchilla mid-April, and was explaining to a friend that I would have the new chin, Abby, in another room for 30 days for quarantine. When she asked what the purpose of it was, I realised I have no real idea what the purpose is.

My apartment is small, and we don't always keep the doors closed. I'll have on the same clothes when touching Abby and Chia... So it won't be a "real" quarantine as you might see in medical shows or something...

What exactly is the goal of quarantine? And what are the risks of not doing it? (I'm not saying I don't want to do it, I just want to understand it!)

Also, after quarantine, I plan to put Abby in the bottom part of the Critter Nation cage. I read that side-by-side cages are often recommended before introduction (my eventual goal), but I just don't have the space to do that (I do have 2 cages though.) Is one on top of the other sufficient?

PS: I know I've got a long time before getting Abby, but I'm trying to be uber-prepared to avoid making any mistakes!
 

ChinnyMom

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the purpose of quarantine is to keep any diseases or parasites that the new chin may be carrying from affecting your current chin. in an apartment where the doors are open, and your clothes are not changed in between, can definitely bring down the effectiveness of the quarantine.

i would tend to your current chin first, and then wash your hands well and then tend to your new chin. this will lessen the chance that something is passed from new chin to current chin. i would also have feed and hay in two separate storage areas for them for the month, to ensure there is no cross contamination.

the other very important reason for quarantine is so that new chin can get used to their new home and used to you without being stressed by another chin in the same room when everything is new and frightening. this time period of a month in separate rooms also gives you the chance to see what your chin is all about - their eating habits, sleeping schedule, etc without the added stress on the new chin of having another chin nearby, which could cause them to deviate from what their 'normal' would be. a stressed chin can very easily equal a sick chin.

are you planning on having both chins live with each other eventually? (i'm assuming they are both female). if so, then side by side cages is the way to go, as they do need to be able to see each other. perhaps moving some furniture around would solve the issue of no room for side by side cages.
 
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sheena lee

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Thanks for the info!! That really clears it up - I didn't even think about the stress of having another chin around while she's trying to get used to the new environment!

And yeah, they're both female - I definitely don't want to breed! The only way I could do side by side would be to move my CN from my bedroom to the office, and move a shelving unit to my bedroom. It's something I might have to think about, because the shelving unit has a lot office-y things in it that would be inefficient to keep in the bedroom lol
 

ChinnyMom

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when i got my second chin, i sold my bed to make room for both the boys in what used to be my bedroom, but is now the chin room. lol! i'm a couch sleeper anyway, so no big loss to get rid of the bed for me.
 

sheena lee

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Sounds like something I might do! ... Except I'm thinking of moving my boyfriend out of the office and putting his desk in the bedroom - the chins can stay in the office with me ;D

For real, we'll be moving/buying in about a year, so at that point I'll have a designated chin room for sure!
 

Claire D

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But I thought 30 days was the standard?
That seems to be the standard in the US. Some will disagree with the length of time on my website and I have no problem with that. If the article sparks debate then great. ;)
The most common thing people list as top of the quarantine 'risks' is ringworm and that fits into the 30 days. However, some issues like giardia can cause problems over a lengthy period of time (a slow burn, if you like) and slow weight loss with intermittent diarrhoea or squishy droppings can be observed even though the problem can be passed on to other chins.
For me, the second biggest issue to illness being passed on to the other chins is behaviour - it takes time to assess the 'natural' behaviour of a new chinchilla and I think the longer one can take to assess that, the better. Without the baseline of natural behaviour for a chin how can subtle signs of problems be evaluated?

I'd rather take the extra time to get to know a chin so that when it does join the others, I can monitor eating habits and weight etc and I know how the interactions, change of environment, and any initial signs of problems can be spotted and acted upon.

Again, I know some will argue the lengths of time and when I get round to it, I will be updating the page to make the timings slightly shorter (12 weeks rather than 12-16) but I would still recommend longer than 30 days (6-8 weeks minimum) - people can make their own minds up whether they think that's overkill or not.
I've known someone lose over half their herd from a gastro-intestinal disease which was brought into the herd and took well over a month to show.

Quarantine can never be carried out fully (that would need hospital-type precautions) but reducing risk and assessing the chin should be the main priorities imho.
 

mistywaterwoman

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Claire brings up a very good point about behavior. Chins seem to be on their "company manners" for a good couple of months before they will show you how they can really act up, lol.

You can do intros with a divided cage. You just add in the step of cage swapping before they meet. Let them spend time in each other's space every other night so that the smell is at least familiar to them when they meet.

After quarantine, move the new chin into the bottom cage and let her settle in for at least a month, maybe two. Then you will get to know her personality quirks and be better at judging her stress levels. When you feel they are both comfortable with the new situation, you can start cage swapping every other night for at least a couple of weeks, and THEN try a combined playtime in a neutral zone. Go with your instincts, and good luck!
 

sheena lee

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Really great info! I didn't even think about habits and personality as a factor. I feel much better knowing this stuff in advance - I spend a lot of time preparing for things, I'm just one of those people who try to plan everything and know everything about a subject ;)

Love this forum!
 
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