Tail amputation on 4 month old chin?

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aznmexaggie

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I have a female who was born in July that has never looked quite right in the use of her back legs. On her first day, her legs were often outstretched behind her and crossed but eventually she would roll over, get her footing and follow mom to nurse. As she got older, she gained strength in her back legs but just had an odd look when she moved as if the legs were lazy. She also does not seem to have any feeling or control of her tail which just lays limp.

Well, she has been weaned for almost 2 months and it seems that the underside of her tail is getting rubbed raw. It seems the skin is getting chafed, the tail hair is rubbed away and the area is getting rubbed until it bleeds.

I cleaned the area and I have her in a different cage now away from her weaningmate and am wondering if I should use paper towels on the bottom or put her in a sanitized wire floored cage (so urine won't be soaked into the substrate for her tail to rub in).

Also, should she have her tail amputated? Has anyone had an issue like this before?
 

Stackie

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I can't weigh in on the amputation, but what about just keeping her on fleece? It would probably have to be changed out daily to keep it sanitary enough.
 

aznmexaggie

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I have been thinking about this today and am wondering if an amputation would affect her balance. She is in a show cage right now so I can limit her movement and her urine/droppings can fall beneath the cage. When I cleaned her tail yesterday, there were shavings stuck to the raw area and I like that her tail now isn't being dragged through a soiled substrate. The metal show cage is also easy for me to sanitize.

I thought about using fleece... but I tried fleece liners once and didn't like how the urine would pool and take a long time to be absorbed. I am afraid she will sit right in a puddle of urine without knowing her tail is in it. Even with paper towels, I am not there to change it every time she urinates and she would probably drag her tail over the wet paper towel... or just rest right on it.

Poor Mousey.
 

Stackie

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That's odd. Urine doesn't pool on my fleece at all. It's immediately absorbed. I'm not sure what would cause that..maybe using fabric softener? Or a certain kind of fleece?

I'm not sure how it would affect her balance long term. I'm sure it would at first, she may be able to adapt...

Hopefully a good solution comes along soon!
 

fanofdmb84

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I guess I would be concerned with her tail constantly dragging across the metal wire and opening the skin even more.

Using fabric softener will cause fleece to repel liquids to an extent. I would wash any fleece in hot water and a little bit of soap (and vinegar) a few times and not use any liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets and see how it absorbs.
 

RDZCRanch

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I had the same problem with fleece liners when I started using them for Jimmy and the urine would pool and he developed a couple sores. I learned from talking to several fleece users that the way I was/wasn't washing them was causing it to pool. Before using fleece for the first time it needs to be prewashed a few times to kick up the absorbency. Also, no fabric softener or dryer sheets as mentioned above. I found this really helped the fleece absorb the urine. I changed out his cage every other day and there were never any sanitary problems or horrible smells...then again he was a tiny little guy.

I think amputating the tail would affect her balance. Even with it not moving, it probably helps keep her centered. Though, if it's an option of keeping sores and infection away so that she can actually have a viable life, I'd be inclined to have it amputated.
 

AZChins

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I'm sorry she's having to go through this. If it were a chin here, I'd try everything before having it amputated.

There's one chin here that had some serious issues with his tail being paralyzed. I put a towel down for him to sit on in his cage. That worked out really well...I just take it out on Tuesdays and Fridays because he will urinate on it a bit. It keeps his tail and leg from losing fur and getting irritated. BUT, he has made tremendous progress and he has maybe 70% use of his tail now.

I can imagine that if it gets really bad and the sores on the bottom of the tail are reopening and could get infected, I would opt for amputation...like Tabitha said. Just see what you can do before you make that step. With Lenny his tail issue improved dramatically...that probably isn't the case with your chin, but you never know.

I hope that she's alright. It sounds like she may have been born breech and been pulled a little too much by her tail and back legs. Poor thing...
 

Claire D

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My friend has a tail-less chin - it was amputated after an accident. Apart from the visible lack of tail you'd never know to see her bouncing about, balancing & generally behaving like any other chinchilla. Having no tail does not bother Mog in the slightest & she has adapted perfectly well.
 

cindyv3737

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Just a random thought. Would it be possible to keep the tail wrapped in gauze? That could help it from getting open sores.
 

aznmexaggie

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I had a rescue a couple years ago here that had a stump of a tail. I always assumed it was an injury he acquired at birth. He never had any issues with balance and got around fine.

I just worry about little Mousey because of her hind legs which don't move right. It's hard to explain the way she moves but sometimes it's like a rabbit that tends to kick out the back feet when hopping. She also sometimes has trouble stabilizing herself while I am holding her and she will just let her hind legs dangle or slide off my hand.

I just think if I don't get it amputated, the sores will recur. She's really active and I think no matter what substrate she's on, the tail will get rubbed raw...

Cindy, I thought about using gauze but I think she would try to chew it off. She loves to chew and destroy her toys...
 

cindyv3737

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I didn't think about her chewing it off. I wonder if there is something that could be put over it that would keep her from chewing it.
 

Claire D

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Personally, given the situation you are describing, I'd take Mousey along to a chinchilla competent vet & discuss all the options.
In my humble opinion you are looking for the path of least resistance - which means Mousey has a good chance at recovering & developing. Also a solution which does not cost you thousands in wasted vet bills. For example, we've seen people on here (on vet's advice) throw thousands of $ at a broken limb treatment (pinning, casting etc) only for the poor chin to end up with a $200 all-in amputation anyway after weeks of messing about - the chin bounces back (pardon the pun) in a very short space of time & everyone's happy except the bank balance is now almost $0.

We can't see your chin so it is difficult for us to comment other than with generalisations or examples of chins we have seen/owned ....................

Just a few thoughts:
A collar is going to make it even more difficult for her to mobilise & balance.
Amputation is harder on us humans than it is on the chins - they just adapt while we fret about them missing a limb/tail etc.
If the tail is "broken" or causing her pain it may be the reason for some of the difficulties you are seeing in her movements (it may not be but it's possible)
There is greater risk of infection if she is constantly dragging her tail across any type of surface & developing sores (which are also painful).
If she gets an infection it may not be that easy to treat & she will, in all probability, bite at her wounds as well.


As a matter of interest, has a vet xrayed Mousey's spine, pelvis, hips, tail at all?
 

aznmexaggie

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Thanks for all your input.

Claire, she hasn't been to a vet yet. I am trying to bring all my options out into the open so that I can discuss the ideas with the vet as well as hear what she has to say. I want to be well aware of the pros and cons of all the options as well in order to make my decision with the vet. I am leaning heavily towards amputation though.

I think there must have been an injury at birth that damaged her lower spine. The tail does not feel broken nor do either of her legs. Since she has limited movement in her legs and no movement in her tail, I think she may have some type of damage to the lower lumbar or coccygeal vertebrae and nerves in that area. I know an X-ray would be able to determine any abnormalities, fractures or breaks in her lower spine/tail.

I was looking back on a video of her at 3 weeks of age and you can see the odd way she moves. It seems she has a little bit of use of her tail at that age which sometimes would curl up at the tip but now, it just drags around limp. http://s124.photobucket.com/albums/p20/chinchillachateau/?action=view&current=100_4047.mp4
She can jump short distances and is able to jump into the fleece tube and hidey house and ledges. She just sometimes loses her balance on the ledges... then will just try again. Her cage is 18" high so she can't fall too far.

Here is my old thread on her as well: http://chins-n-hedgies.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16249&highlight=mousey
She was unique from the beginning. Her fur looks quite normal now, although not very dense or strong and her veiling has come in as well.

I wanted to mention, when I was cleaning the sore, she did not flinch as I pulled off the stuck pieces of shavings or rinsed the area. I thought this was odd as most chins would react to me touching a tender area. I then sat her down on the counter where she sat still and I pinched various areas of her tail. No reaction. I really don't think she has any feeling in her tail at all. She doesn't even bite at the tail or clean it, even though I would think it should be painful for her.

I will try to get some pictures and a new video of her this weekend. I will also be scheduling an appointment with my vet to discuss what options Mousey has.
 

Claire D

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I have to say straight off, how cute is Mousey? :heart:

Apologies for the general stuff in my pervious post - I had not seen your other thread about her so I missed the background - sorry.
I can see what you mean about not using her tail & probably not feeling it - I think I'd be doing the same as you, Sumiko, & erring towards amputating that tail. I doubt it is doing much other than hindering her TBH.
 

aznmexaggie

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She is super adorable... she is like a little baby. She sits in a cuddle cup on my lap and sleeps while I am on the computer. It just melts my heart!

Mousey is scheduled to have her amputation on Wednesday, the 24th. We are doing an exam/x-rays/consultation in the morning and likely the surgery just following. I will pick her up after work and then I have the Thanksgiving weekend (no work!) to keep a close eye on her.
 

Lynn & The Chins

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I've said it more than once -- animals are so much more accepting of their situations than humans. In addition to having only 2 legs, Little Two Paws also has a bobbed tail, probably as a result of a birth accident. He doesn't know that he is missing anything -- he just uses what he has.

He manages to zoom around his fleece lined paradise, even jumping from the floor to a low ledge and then into his hammock and from there up into his corner house. He's a happy little thing and does quite well!!!

Best of luck to your Mousey!!!
 

aznmexaggie

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I took Mousey in to see Dr. Koski today and she confirmed that Mousey has no feeling in her tail except close to the base. She has weak adductor muscles which are used to keep the legs from splaying. She is going to take an X-ray to see if it is a spinal or pelvic abnormality (she mentioned she has seen this in chins and other animals who had issues in the lower vertebrae) or if it may have been an injury she acquired during birth.

She's going to call me after she takes X-rays and will likely be amputating today. Fingers crossed everything will go smoothly for Mousey-kins.
 
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