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Skinny chinchilla

March 21st, 2009, 07:59 AM
My daughter has several chinchillas. Her oldest one is getting weaker, and seems to have lost weight. She is still eating a bit. She doesn't have the strength to jump up to the other level in her cage. She is about 7yrs old. My daughter says they can live to 18. Nibbler is a friendly chin but I am very allergic so I don't handle her myself, but I do go down(they have a room in the basement) to check on their food and water. I'd like to know what illnesses they can get and what can be done to help. Can they eat fruit? apples,oranges?
Thanks for any help.

March 21st, 2009, 08:05 AM
Hey kmd, yes you can feed chin's some fruits, but in moderation, they loooooove raisins, some apple, limit citrus fruits due to the acidity, they also like banana. pumpkin seeds. My chin's favoritest treat in the world is either ruffles potatoe chips or McDonald's fries. But again only as a small treat. If you google chinchilla's you will come up with some excellent info on them. Is it possible she isn't getting enough food( is she caged with others). And your daughter is correct they can live quite awhile. Hope things improve for the little fuzzball.

She may be tired of the food your feeding her as opposed to being sick. Unfortunately there aren't alot of vets that deal with Chin's.

March 21st, 2009, 08:24 AM
kmd go here and investigate, could be her teeth. By the way, do you feed your chin's timothy hay(NOT ALPHALPHA)?

March 21st, 2009, 08:26 AM
Thanks for your reply. Nibbler is in her own cage. I do take her treats-people cerea- shreddies, shredded wheat, raisin bran and sometimes quaker corn bran squares-which she really likes. She is a sweetie. She was adopted when my daughter worked in a pet store. Nibbler was noticed to be missing a front paw and was destined to be rat food, so of course she came home. I too love all critters, so that is how we have ended up with more. We also have 2 bunnies, one was an easter rescue last year from the Spca. My daughter saw the news clip and of the bunnies and had to save one. Harold is a big whitish one. He was to be a meat bunny. Basil is a black velveteen. They are both lovely. unfortunately I am allergic to everything but mould(go figure), so I am constantly popping allergy pills, but when I venture into the critter room, I can't stay long. Oh yes, we also have 2 budgies, dropped off by a neighbour, and a lovely cat that my daughter rescued from a farm. Marley does have free roam in the house, and even though he is a long hair, it doesn't seem to bother me. Sorry, I'm rambling, thanks again,

March 21st, 2009, 12:42 PM
Karen, the very first thing to do is check her teeth!!!
Middle aged chins commonly have misaligned teeth (malocclusion) or molars that need to have a sharp point clipped down.
If you seek out a vet who has some rabbit experience, then they can check chilla teeth too. Your chilla is sending you signals that can't be ignored.
Nibbler should be eating a tablespoon full of high quality chilla pellets. LM makes the best. Avoid foods with lots of treats.....treats should be given separately and sparingly.
The base diet is the pellets and good clean TIMOTHY HAY.
Occasional treats would be one raisin, one small piece of dehydrated banana, a bit of dry oatmeal flakes.

Please do not give commercial cereals (shreddies, etc).....those are junk food for chillas.
Chillas have very delicate digestive systems, even changing brands of pellets can cause a major upset.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding like I am lecturing, but I've been doing chilla rescue for a long time, and I've had dozens and dozens of chillas.
My oldest is 15 and doing great.
Please, please, get her teeth checked and stick to a plain chilla diet for a while. :)

March 21st, 2009, 12:46 PM
Another thought, we feed one tablespoon per day in a ceramic dish so that we can see if it is all eaten. And a handful of hay.
Check her droppings, healthy chilla poo is slightly moist and oval shaped.... not small, thin and dry.
Also check her pee corner. Urine should not be dark.
Hopefully she is not bedded with cedar chips. Bad stuff.

March 21st, 2009, 01:14 PM
have you checked her teeth, also , do you give her wood to chew on? is she drinking? chins are very suceptable (sp?) to heat, is she near a grate? Mine is 7 yrs old also and very agile. maybe its time for a vet visit.

March 23rd, 2009, 10:05 AM
Thanks for all your information. Nibbler's teeth are good. She has a towel and some soft bedding material. I have given her some raisins and dry oatmeal. She does seem stronger and was jumping around better. My daughter has given her timothy hay and her regular feed is pellets for chinchillas. Her water bottle is going down, and I've also given her a little bowl to drink from. And yes, I will avoid boxed cereal...I guess it has too much sugar. Thanks again for all the help!:)

April 6th, 2009, 12:56 PM
She seems back to her old self. Maybe it was just a 'bug'. Thanks for all your help.:thumbs up

April 6th, 2009, 06:36 PM
I'm glad to hear that Nibbler is feeling better. :)It must have been a little bit of upset tummy.