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Sick chinchilla

fuzziehead

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May 7, 2020
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Harrisburg, PA
Hi everyone,
My chinchilla Marlo has been having some issues eating. Last Thursday she went 14 hours without eating but finally gave in after approaching her food dish 3 times and ate around 8:30pm. The next morning I weighed her and she had maintained her weight but then went another 14 hours that day without eating. This time around 8:30 she picked up two pellets and ate them then went back to bed. I put some of her pellets in the blender and offered them to her and she ate a ton. She was started on loxicom for pain and I noticed both Saturday and Sunday she was eating during the day again (no longer going 14 hours without eating) but is only eating the crushed pellets still. She was taken to the vet Monday, sedated, a full mouth exam was done including xrays and her teeth look fine. She has 2 split teeth but when poked are not causing agitation and is still keep those teeth flat. We are completely lost what is going on. She’s on gabapentin 2x daily for 3 days to see if this makes a difference but it’s been 2 days and she’s still only eating crushed pellets. When I offer her whole pellets she just sniffs them and walks away. When I take a handful and put them in from of her she throws most of them, maybe slowly eats 2 and is done with it. Please help I have no idea how to help my girl I feel so horrible. She is 8 years old and only eats oxbow pellets and Timothy/meadow mix. The vet suggests if there is no change after the pain meds to start an antibiotic for a possible underlying infection. Does this sound reasonable?
 

Amethyst

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Yeah, that sounds like a good plan, if the teeth aren't causing direct issue my next thought would be tooth infection or abscess causing pressure and pain when biting down. Is she chewing on her chew toys? If not that also makes me think tooth infection since other tooth issues are ruled out. Also is she eating her hay ok? They chew the hay with their molars and can bypass the insicors if needed, but tend to bite pellets with their incisors first before chewing them with the molars, so if their insicors biting down is causing pain they wont want to eat the pellets whole.
 

fuzziehead

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May 7, 2020
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Harrisburg, PA
Yeah, that sounds like a good plan, if the teeth aren't causing direct issue my next thought would be tooth infection or abscess causing pressure and pain when biting down. Is she chewing on her chew toys? If not that also makes me think tooth infection since other tooth issues are ruled out. Also is she eating her hay ok? They chew the hay with their molars and can bypass the insicors if needed, but tend to bite pellets with their incisors first before chewing them with the molars, so if their insicors biting down is causing pain they wont want to eat the pellets whole.
She is still chewing on some toys but not as frequently. She has always been a picky hay eater but is still going through her hay and eating some. Today I was even able to hand her about 10 pieces of hay and she ate them no problem. I believe the vet said she had 2 teeth that are cracked vertically but they arent releasing any pus or blood and when poked aren’t causing her to wince in pain, though this was done while sedated. I’m just finding it odd that even on the gabapentin she still won’t eat whole pellets.
So this sounds to you more like a possible tooth infection/abscess and not an issue from the cracked teeth? I’m just worried to put her on an antibiotic if not necessary, I know baytril made her completely stop eating before. Would you suggest a blood test first to check for infection? I assume you wouldn’t be able to see anything on a physical dental exam to indicate an deep abscess or tooth infection. She isn’t drooling but does “paw” at the mouth after eating the crushed pellets though it’s more like she just wipes her mouth one or two times.

She’s still on gabapentin but certainly still has an appetite and is acting completely normal otherwise. Some poos are a bit small and there seem to be a little less. She was maintaining weight until she was sedated. The day she was sedated (Monday) she lost about 20g (dropped from 540g to 521g). This morning she weighed 528g so she did pick a bit back up.
 

fuzziehead

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Harrisburg, PA
Just to update now that it’s night and she’s active.. she’s chewing on her toys fine- Cholla, sticks, my bedroom door :rolleyes: she ate lots of hay, but still only crushed pellets I’m so confused
 

Amethyst

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I don't know how deep the cracked teeth are, but since teeth can get filed down when too long if the crack isn't deep it might not reach the nerve and cause any pain. I'm assuming that the vet has ruled out the cracks, that is why my next though would be an infection deeper. If she is chewing on other things fine though, just not eating pellets, that is odd. A blood test is a good idea to check for elevated white blood cells, indicating an infection, before jumping into giving antibiotics. I wouldn't give antibiotics unless there is a proof of an infection.

When weighing her are you weighing at the same time every time? Their stomach and bladder can each hold about 5-10g so weight can fluctuate throughout the day depending on if they ate, drank, peed, or pooped or not. What you don't want to see is a steady down not going back up.
 

fuzziehead

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May 7, 2020
Messages
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Location
Harrisburg, PA
I don't know how deep the cracked teeth are, but since teeth can get filed down when too long if the crack isn't deep it might not reach the nerve and cause any pain. I'm assuming that the vet has ruled out the cracks, that is why my next though would be an infection deeper. If she is chewing on other things fine though, just not eating pellets, that is odd. A blood test is a good idea to check for elevated white blood cells, indicating an infection, before jumping into giving antibiotics. I wouldn't give antibiotics unless there is a proof of an infection.

When weighing her are you weighing at the same time every time? Their stomach and bladder can each hold about 5-10g so weight can fluctuate throughout the day depending on if they ate, drank, peed, or pooped or not. What you don't want to see is a steady down not going back up.

Would a deeper infection be missed by xrays? He did mention a cyst may be forming from one of the cracked teeth. Maybe this is the source of the problem? I am still scratching my head about her chewing on toys at night :unsure:

yes I weigh her right before giving medications the same time every morning. Oddly she’s maintaining weight but not eating as frequently during the day so I guess she’s just eating more at night.

thank you so much for your response! I’m just feeling a bit hopeless I hate not being able to help her!
 

fuzziehead

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May 7, 2020
Messages
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Location
Harrisburg, PA
The vet gave me baytril but I’ve been reading that this alone won’t do anything for mouth infections, is this true? I have flagyl that she was put on a few weeks back because she had smelly poo, but she tested negative twice for parasites. She I give her this as well? I don’t want to put her on too much
 

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