I took my chinchillas to the vets because they were loosing fur. The vet treated them for mites and told me to come back in 2 weeks. A week later they are much worse and nearly all bald!. I rung the vet, but the earliest appointment is Friday. In the meantime, will they get cold as they dont have much fur left? What can I do to help them?
Chinchillas can stand cold temp's; they actually will suffer if it's too warm so keep the temperature well below 20 celsius. If you're concerned though, toss a ton of hay in the cage for them to burrow in (and eat!)
Otherwise... what is your chince eating? This kind of fur loss sounds more like a dietary issue or stress issue.
Chinchillas need a very bland diet; they need good quality pellets and long cut hay for fibre. They need plenty of chews as their teeth are always growing, like many rodents.
Give your chince 60g of good quality fresh chince pellets every day.
This should be augmented with a supply of fresh hay (lots of hay!) and water. Chinchillas have a delicate digestive system and their diet should be as dry as possible. Treats should be given sparingly.
Breakfast cereals, dried fruit and toast make ideal occasional treats. Do not feed Muesli mixes, sunflower seeds, peanuts or flaked maize. If the feeding bowl is not secured to the cage it should be made of heavy earthenware to prevent spills.
My chins eat 'Pets at Home' own brand chinchilla pellets and lots of hay :) I use an external hay rack so they are not eating hay that has been on the cage floor and contaminated with urine. (Although they may pull it through, then drop it ;) )
I have a couple of different mixes from 'Boredom breaker's' Natural range. The ones I use all say they are suitable for chinchillas on the packets. I only give them one pinch of these between the 3 chins every 2 days. Occasionally I give them a tiny piece of dried carrot or banana (about 5mm square). This keeps them still while I give them a good look over.
The dish is metal and is secured to the cage. They have a plastic water bottle which gets cleaned out every day.
As for stress, whats stresses a chinchilla? There are no predatory pets in the house like cats or dogs. The males are both neutered. The cage is a massive 4-tiered habitat but they also get exercise out of the cage every night. The room is very cool because I realised they are vulnerable to heat. I watch them all the time and they never seem to fight, although Iv heard this is quite common. They all sleep together in one wooden box.
Could there be something that I haven't considered that is stressing them out?
Hmm... are they exhibiting any other negative behavior? Biting? Urine spraying? Teeth chattering? Fur biting? (while they had fur...). Actually, does what fur they have look "choppy"? Then it would be a fur biting issue.
How about noise? Chinces are pretty stressed by noise, and what we may consider not noisy they may consider very noisy (loud music, loud talking, kids playing, etc).
how do they get along?
I'm going to be lazy here and give you a link to a chince diet page, just on the off chance you're missing something dietary (thanksgiving and all) :)
I'll be back on later tomorrow and see if you've had any improvement guessing just what is up. (Perhaps your chince's have gone for a new look! Bald is in?!?!?! :->)
Cheers for all the help!
I took them back to the vet today. She uses some tape on them and then examined it under a microscope. She says they may have had mites before, but don't have them now.
Her suggestion was to keep them separate, but I don't have 3 separate water bottles or food dishes, so they will have to spend tonight together until I can go shopping tomorrow (It was a late appointment at the vets). If this isnt the problem then it may be a fungal infection.
They dont show any negative characteristics that you mentioned. I'm keeping a close eye on them anyway. The beige one has lost the most fur, but when I looked today, it is already growing back (hurray!) The other 2 standard greys are a little bit better today. I didn't want to cancel the appointment in case they deterioted. (LOL it cost me $60 for them to stick a piece of sticky tape to my chinchillas back, then take it off again! LOL) The joys of being a pet owner, huh :)
Heh heh...well, that's pets for you. I'm glad they seem to be doing better. Perhaps they wre telling ghost stories one night and they were so scary it caused all their fur to fall out! :)
Well, keep us posted. If it just "goes away" then it probably was just stress. And lord knows what stresses a chinchilla half the time. Probably they were watching CNN while you were out...or Fox news. :-)
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