Teeth: Treatment vs. Quality of Life

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littlelaughie

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Apr 13, 2009
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Encino, CA
My 9-year-old chin has been having more frequent dental issues and I am now considering . We've been doing floatings every few months lately, on top of Baytril & Metacam for cheek ulcers. His father passed away four years ago from health problems (dental, mostly) and his brother was put to sleep at only two years old due to dental issues. After this last floating (a week ago), he stopped eating on his own. We had been supplementing with Critical Care to get his weight up, but he wasn't even eating that when we brought him home. We took him back to the vet to be boarded, as the vet was having a better time getting his food and meds in. We also did dental x-rays.

He stayed the weekend and is now back home. The vet mentioned his upper molar roots are elongated, but thinks that there might be something else going on. They did full body x-rays, too, which were clean, but they want to do blood work. He had blood work about eight months ago and all was well, so I decided to hold off on that for now. He is not eating on his own still, and he is not taking his medicine well. He is keeping some CC down, but not really wanting to. I am waiting for a second opinion on his dental x-rays, but I wanted to see if you guys had any input.

This is my baby chin; I don't want him to suffer any longer, but I don't want to make a permanent decision if it is unnecessary. (When I asked the vet about the long-term, her solution was to keep him on pain meds.) I can attach the x-rays if it helps.
 

Dreamlite

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post the xrays if you are able to. IF there is root involvement (which it sounds like there is) there is nothing you can do at this point. The chin has a constant migraine and dental discomfort. Pain meds can dull that but wont eliminate it. Antibiotics and meds are very hard on the chins system. The fact that hes not bouncing back this time may be a sign that you have done all you can do. Its clearly a genetic problem that is going to keep reoccurring. I think that euth is the kindest at this point
 

ticklechin

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modesto CA
X-ray #3 clearly shows penetration of the lower teeth out of the lower jaw bone, the uppers look like they are penetrating the eye socket, the degree is pretty advanced in my opinion. Pain relief long term can cause issues on its own, GI ulceration being one of them. Since the chin is having issues with wanting to eat, its going to be a rough road for the chinchilla and really you need to have a heart to heart with yourself about are you just keeping him alive for you or him, because with this much going on in the mouth, he is not happy.

A idea of what you are looking at when its a skull, one of my chinchilla skulls-this looks very much like what you are seeing on the x-ray-the bumps are actually the teeth breaking out of the bone.

 

littlelaughie

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Location
Encino, CA
Thanks for responding, Dawn. I asked the vet about the jaw, and she said that those roots are actually fine, with his uppers being the real problems. This confused me a bit, though, because she was adamant his uppers aren't a big deal. I can't see where the eye socket is because in the x-rays I've seen, the eye looked more hollow. Is it the grey cloudy space?And now I see the little bulges in his jaw and I feel even worse for my fur baby. I don't want to keep him alive in this condition; it must be torturous. (I have jaw issues from a car accident, and having a headache and jaw pain 24/7 sucks. I can only imagine what he must be feeling, but it can't be better than this especially at his size.)

He is still not eating very much, which is clearly a sign he is not feeling good. I just feel like if I put him down, I'm giving up on him or that it looks like I'm being cheap by not wanting to do floats every month. We've spent at least $5k on him just this year, and I'd double that if it meant he would get better. Also, part of it is that I am attached to him and so is my dad who has been taking care of him. Gary's mom rejected him as a baby, so I've hand raised him (and he sure is extra cuddly for a chinny). But I know I can't keep doing this to him for his sake; yet I worry this is the wrong decision. I also don't want to be assertive with the vet because I feel like she should be the expert even though I disagree with her in this situation. I will probably still wait for the other vet's opinion, but I welcome and appreciate all your opinions especially because some of you have more chin experience than vets.
 

mercynursie

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Jan 29, 2009
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old vet advice. Pick three things that the animal loves/loved doing. If those three things are gone, the animal is no longer living happily and it's time to ease the pain forever. It is amazing what pets will do for their masters, now comes the time for the master to give an amazing gift of love/pain free and happy again.
 

Dreamlite

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I will be honest there are very few vets that are qualified to treat chins. They get a single class on exotics which covers several animals. There is no way for them to know everything. So being assertive and standing your ground when you know your chin is suffering isnt a bad thing. Your chin had horrible teeth and is in severe discomfort. There is nothing that can be done for him at this point so its not giving up. Its offering him an escape from the pain. Thats the most loving thing you can do for him
 

ticklechin

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Thanks for responding, Dawn. I asked the vet about the jaw, and she said that those roots are actually fine, with his uppers being the real problems. This confused me a bit, though, because she was adamant his uppers aren't a big deal. I can't see where the eye socket is because in the x-rays I've seen, the eye looked more hollow. Is it the grey cloudy space?And now I see the little bulges in his jaw and I feel even worse for my fur baby. I don't want to keep him alive in this condition; it must be torturous. (I have jaw issues from a car accident, and having a headache and jaw pain 24/7 sucks. I can only imagine what he must be feeling, but it can't be better than this especially at his size.)

He is still not eating very much, which is clearly a sign he is not feeling good. I just feel like if I put him down, I'm giving up on him or that it looks like I'm being cheap by not wanting to do floats every month. We've spent at least $5k on him just this year, and I'd double that if it meant he would get better. Also, part of it is that I am attached to him and so is my dad who has been taking care of him. Gary's mom rejected him as a baby, so I've hand raised him (and he sure is extra cuddly for a chinny). But I know I can't keep doing this to him for his sake; yet I worry this is the wrong decision. I also don't want to be assertive with the vet because I feel like she should be the expert even though I disagree with her in this situation. I will probably still wait for the other vet's opinion, but I welcome and appreciate all your opinions especially because some of you have more chin experience than vets.


I have spent well over 15k on malo, 8k on one chin alone and went through what you are thinking and I can tell you from experience malo will win and the chin will loose. The problem with the frequent floats is the immune system, the chin is under stress 24/7/365 and what frequently kills malo chins is URIs, they are swift and horrid. Do not think you are being cheap, you are not. Believe me, if I could have spent any amount of money to keep Gino, the one I had a serious bond with, alive I would have and I was on my way spending that amount when he went into congestive heart failure. It could have been treated but at what use, he still had Malo. My others, there have been like 8 all did not die of malo, I am great at keeping that in check, its the rest of the body that takes them down because of the constant stress. I have went from keep them alive at any cost, to keep them alive as long as I think they are happy, to what is the point, where I am at in my head now.

I don't want you to think people are ganging up on you telling you to kill him, I thought that when I first dealt with malo, the internet sucks at that. I want you to know if you want to keep him alive I can help with any questions as to how to keep a malo chin as happy as can be, I can also be your shoulder to cry on when you make that decision, its up to you since he is your kid.


As far as vets go, you really have to find one who gets it about quality of life. This may seen dick-ish, but I sometimes think vets see malo as a cash cow.
 
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ChilliPepper

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Feb 2, 2009
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Littlelaughie, I am sorry. It's so hard. I went through this several years ago with my Chilli. We went through the filings and the hand feeding and the meds. He lived his last year on metacam, 2x a day. He always ate his CC, always took his meds, grabbed the syringe out of my hand, actually. But the last time he had a filing, the vet told me he had a rough time coming out of the anesthesia. When a month later, he still wasn't putting weight back on and not eating much on his own, I had an appointment for another filing. I had misgivings though. The day of his appointment, I got him out for play time, I fed him his CC and his pain meds. And I enjoyed his bouncing and running and dusting. And decided that was his last day with me. It was so hard to do, but I was absolutely at peace with it. He wasn't going to bounce back anther time, I knew it in my heart. If he isn't taking it well, remember that he knows you have given it our best, that he knows you love him.
 

littlelaughie

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Apr 13, 2009
Messages
10
Location
Encino, CA
Sorry for my lack of reply since (when it rains, it pours), but I wanted to post an update. First of all, thank you everyone for your input. It really helped me make better decisions going forward with Gary. I ended up taking him in to see his old vet who has treated him for the first seven years of his life and got her opinion. She did notice the roots, but also noted that he was very energetic, eating on his own again, and putting on weight. She did understand my concern about quality of life, though. She said to give him a bit more time since he was doing well. If he started showing signs of needing more filings, that would be the time to reconsider. He's been doing great ever since, although he was on pain meds.

Three days ago, Gary took a sudden turn for the worse. He stopped eating when my dad would feed him. I was able to get him to eat a lot, and thought maybe he just didn't like my dad feeding him. I noticed his mouth and chest were wet, but I had hoped it was just a water spillage. He still wouldn't eat with my dad, and then wouldn't really eat yesterday. Also yesterday, I noticed wet puddles all over his cage and more wet fur, but still hoped for the best. I thought maybe it was from his nose. I fed him a little, and gave him a few more hours. By the afternoon, more puddles (drool, not water) and I was able to see the drool coming from his mouth. He was pawing at his mouth for several days, too. Then he fell asleep in my lap several times, something his dad would do when he was in pain and nearing the end. My heart broke, and I knew what I had to do.

I called his old vet, who happens to only be there that one day a week. My dad and I went in together and Gary got a little exam. The vet noticed all the wet fur and his pawing at his mouth, as well as his extreme lack of energy (something I've never seen a chin do at a vet visit). We went through his history and talked about all the possible options. We agreed euthanasia would be the best thing to do at this point.

I stayed with him the whole time, other than when they took him to give the sedative. I wanted to be by his side, but wow...nothing prepared me for that. They ended up doing it abdominally since they couldn't find a vein (low BP didn't help). It was quicker than she thought, only a few minutes compared to the expected 20. The vet left me alone with him, and came back in to check his heartbeat. I'm glad I was with him, but that was awful (as in too sad).

I'm so heartbroken. I didn't know you could be a grown adult and be so sad about a furball so small. I was definitely upset when Gary's brother and dad died, but I feel like this hurts so much more. He was named after my uncle who died of ALS, and I think that just makes my heart hurt even more. I also haven't seen my dad this upset since my uncle passed away. I know time heals, but I feel like maybe I didn't do the right thing after all and Gary's last thoughts were hatred. I wish I could hold him one last time, or that maybe I should have taken his remains to a taxidermist instead of getting them cremated. (I know, creepy.)
 

littlelaughie

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Apr 13, 2009
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Location
Encino, CA
Okay, I know most people will be grossed out by this (I was, too, up until today), but I have the vet holding the body while I get in touch with some local taxidermists. I did some reading (here and Google), and I think I at least want to keep some pelt(s). I know how weird that sounds, and my family and I even laughed about people who would do that. But I'm not ready to let go, and I know I'll forever regret it if I don't at least look into this option...
 

ChinsForLife

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Feb 9, 2021
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TEXAS, USA
Okay, I know most people will be grossed out by this (I was, too, up until today), but I have the vet holding the body while I get in touch with some local taxidermists. I did some reading (here and Google), and I think I at least want to keep some pelt(s). I know how weird that sounds, and my family and I even laughed about people who would do that. But I'm not ready to let go, and I know I'll forever regret it if I don't at least look into this option...
I’m so sorry for your loss. Don’t feel bad about what you did, it was the right decision. If he still was alive, he would be in great pain and suffering but because if you, he isnt. I know it’s hard to let animals go, but when they are hurting and in agony, its really the best thing you can do for them.❤
 
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