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Author Topic: Worried about health of chinchilla mother  (Read 1243 times)

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Molochop

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Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« on: September 18, 2016, 07:03:35 AM »

Hello.
Recently, my female, nursing chinchilla with 3 kits started becoming lethargic and losing weight, at first I thought it was my imagination but she felt light in my hands and i could feel her bones which really scared me. I have been giving her calcium sticks but clearly that's not enough. I don't think she is pooping neither and she is walking funny (like she is pregnant again, she's not pregnant again since she's been nowhere near the males). I called the vet for some advice because I think she's low on calcium and they told me to feed the babies once in a while to prevent them from taking too much milk from the mother. They gave me this powdered stuff and told me to mix it with water. I'm still concerned since the mother seems limp in my hands. Is there anything I could do? Or is it back to the vet? What's the best supplement for calcium to give her? The kits are a month old with another month or so to go before they are weaned.
Any suggestions?
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GrayRodent

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2016, 09:41:20 AM »

You need to have a vet exam ASAP. If she is not eating you must syringe feed to save her. You also need to get a diagnosis to find out why she has stopped eating. You risk losing all of your chins at this point. Usually calcium supplement is in powdered form. You can just sprinkle it over the pelleted diet without mixing it with anything.
You should be weighing all of your chinchillas regularly. It wouldn't hurt to weigh once every day or two to ensure your chins are thriving until they are weaned.

What is their diet? You should have hay and pellets in the cage that all of the chins have access to at all times. I recommend providing alfalfa hay until the kits are weaned instead of timothy. This provides calcium and more energy than regular timothy.

Have your vet do a physical exam and check for infections such as a UTI, pyometra, etc. If a chin is low on calcium its teeth will be a lighter shade of yellow than normal (or pure white). A vet that is experienced with chins can pick this out.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 09:42:57 AM by GrayRodent »
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Molochop

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2016, 02:45:34 PM »

Thank you for your reply, the weird thing is she does seem to be eating she hasn't stopped. Well I do have the powdered milk but they told me to mix it with water. I should try sprinkling it over the pellets? I'll take her to the vets tomorrow if no improvement. Yes I shall buy some alfafa hay, I don't think it's in my local pet store so I have to buy it online. Their diet consists of normal pellets (selective, supreme petfoods science) and store bought hay with the calcium sticks at pet stores. I take her out to feed her the calcium sticks so the babies don't have it all.
I shall start to weigh the kits as well just to see how they are developing.
Her teeth are white, could it be bloat due to hypocalcemia? Although she doesn't seem in discomfort when I press on her abdomen
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GrayRodent

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2016, 03:44:56 PM »

I'm talking about calcium powder supplement, not powdered milk. Don't put that on the pellets. If they are white you have a calcium deficiency. You need to get a proper supplement. That can cause all kinds of trouble. Lethargy as a symptom is very serious. Do not mess with it. Get a proper diagnosis and instructions. If the kits are losing weight you need to intervene quickly and properly.
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Molochop

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 04:36:27 PM »

alright, well i went to the vets yesterday and nothing is wrong. The vet listened to her chest and abdomen and she didn't see anything. She asked whether she had access to hay/pellets and I said yes she does. The diagnosis was that she's just tired because of breastfeeding three kits and lack of calcium. It's weird because she was so active at the vets. I think it's because she was in an unsual place and adrenaline kicked in. THey told me to continue with giving her the calcium sticks and find some pellets with high protein, so I did some research and the ones I have now are pretty high in protein so I thought ok I'll continue giving her them with the calcium sticks see how things go for a couple of days.
I pick her up gently to give her her calcium stick and suddenly she's all limp and keeps rolling her head around? She seems bright eyed. She keeps "jumping" every so often almost like twitches. There's a thin line of poop coming out her anus. I fear she won't last the night. I've tried feeding her a little but she's not taking anything in, even liquid stuff. I'm really concerned about this.
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GrayRodent

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2016, 05:39:04 PM »

Still not sure what calcium sticks are. I googled this and there's a treat made by vitakraf called Calcium Kracker Sticks. If that's what you're feeding you need to stop immediately. That doesn't look safe even to use as a treat. Apart from that I am very sorry to say this but in my opinion I think your vet is not competent. His advice is strange to me. You need to feed a high quality pelleted diet. I recommend diets such as Oxbow Chinchilla Deluxe, or Mazuri pellets which are widely available and properly formulated for chinchillas. I advise getting a second opinion and not feeding any more vitakraft calcium sticks which can cause malnutrition because it is junk food and is replacing a proper diet with fluff, and may even be contributing to the problem if it is high in phosphorus. You need to begin hand feeding a recovery diet such as oxbow critical care. You may need to start hand feeding the kits as well. I am also going to recommend this forum if you have facebook. I think you need to talk to an experienced chinchilla breeder ASAP and get advice on what to do about the kits. It sounds like you're in trouble.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/333577573641985/
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BLS Chins

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 04:30:38 PM »

Ok we need a lot more info to help you
1. How old is the female? Older females tend to loose condition faster than younger chins. This is a sure sign that she should not be bred again.
2. How old are the kits and what do they weigh? If the kits are over 6 weeks and 200 grams you need to wean them early.
3. How much weight has the female lost? So weight loss is normal especially with triplets
4. What pellets and type or hay are you feeding? Some pellets are better quality than others. She should have alfalfa hay unlimited to help with calories and calcium/protein
5. Is your female still caged with a male? If not how long ago was he removed? If shes still caged with the male he may be chasing her trying to breed her again, which can lead to weight loss. If he wasnt removed before she gave birth she can be pregnant again while nursing these kits which is very very hard on the female.
6. Is your female pedigreed? Any chin without a pedigree should never be bred. So please be sure her and her kits become pets.

The spasms you are describing sound like calcium fits/seizures. You can add calf manna to a quality diet to get her back on track. No treats and if you are using vitakraft please stop asap. Those are horrible and will cause more trouble for her
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GrayRodent

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 02:45:00 PM »

I asked about the diet earlier in the thread. She said "Their diet consists of normal pellets (selective, supreme petfoods science) and store bought hay with the calcium sticks at pet stores. I take her out to feed her the calcium sticks so the babies don't have it all."
When I asked about what "calcium sticks" were the only answer I got was the vet said keep feeding them. The vet also gave some weird advice in the thread. Have you ever of putting chins on a "high protein diet"?
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BLS Chins

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Re: Worried about health of chinchilla mother
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 08:00:25 PM »

Chins are not made to process high amounts of protein. Alfalfa is naturally higher in protein and calcium than other hay types which is why its recommended for pregnant/nursing females.

The pellets (selective and supreme) are good brands in the UK from my knowledge.

The calcium sticks are concerning. Without knowing what they are made of i cant say they are good or bad. Pure calcium in its natural from isnt easy to digest and use. Using a quality diet is the best way to prevent calcium issues. Calf manna is a well balanced pellet that can be added to your normal feed mix to boost calcium without other issues
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