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Old 04-30-2018, 08:45 AM Romania
ndesktop ndesktop is offline
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Default Chinchilla won't eat "hard" food

My 4-year girl Tupi had some health issues. She stopped eating like 4 months ago, become lethargic, stayed on heat sources, poop was small - the whole thing.

She had like 690-700 grams back then.

After several visits to vets, university medics, the conclusion was:
- incisors need some fixing (had some irregularities)
- a wound inside mouth (they suggested human glicerine, to help healing)
- she lost a lower incissor somehow (didn't noticed since only the uppers are visible, even now I can't see lower incissors)
She was asleep, entered surgery, it wasn't pretty.

Luckily she recovered, become active (slightly less than before) and inquisitive.
But she stopped eating hay, chewing (tries to chew softer things, but not wood, doors, even remote controls and computer keyboards like she tried before) and eating pellets.

Hand/force feeding since the surgery with a mix of hay, pellets and small quantity of filtered water, but still now is around 570 grams (lost around 120 grams).

Other than that there is not much visible difference in behavior.
Also, I am feeling the back more proeminent, before surgery they didn't asleep it with usual tube over face, but with an injection (not sure if that was so good, but they were afraid of lung damage, or so they said). I hope the injection in the back didn't caused damage or so.

Anyways, this is where I need help:
- What should be done in order to make her restart eating hay and pellets?
She *is* trying to eat pellets, but after taking into mouth she drops them like she cannot eat them. It is possible that the missing incissor to affect this so much? Is like she forgot how to eat pellets.
- If she won't eat pellets like... forever, since she won't chew as much as before (or even at all), what should be done regarding teeth (and how often)?
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:42 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,454
Chinchillas: 2

Ok, so if I am understanding you, one of her incisors broke? The teeth continue to grow their whole lives, unless the root of the tooth came out too then it will grow back it'll just take time. I had a chin who had his incisor teeth trimmed, the vet messed up and broke both top teeth off at the gum line. It was a long time ago but I think it too a good 6 months before his teeth were back to normal.

Another thing to consider is are the molars or roots causing issues? Were x-rays taken to rule out problems with the back teeth? You can't properly see the molars without an x-ray, and you can't see the roots at all without one. All of a chin's teeth grow, so if she is not chewing hay you could have a problem with over grown molars. Chew toys like wood and lava rock help wear down the incisors, chewing and grinding up hay wears down the molars. I would make sure nothing else is going on her mouth preventing her from being able to eat on her own. Dropping the pellets out of her mouth makes me think chewing hurts.

If she is not/can't eating on her own you need to make sure she is eating as much as she normally would, or more to help put back on weight. So if you are just going with your own mixture of pellets, hay, and water you need to be feeding at least 2 tablespoons of pellets and about handful of hay per day. Chins don't eat all a once, so the food should be split into several small meals through out the day. You are likely feeling her backbone because she has lost so much weight and possibly also muscle. You might also want to try a meal replacement like Critical Care if it's available where you are, it has more nutrients then just plain food. Or if you are willing to pay for shipping you can try Essentials for Life from Fuzzies Kingdom. Since you need to put weight back on the chin you will likely need to be feeding about 100 ml of food a day, about 10ml per feeding.

If she never goes back to eating on her own you will likely have to get her teeth trimmed and files every couple months. It depends on how quickly your chin's teeth grow. Some grow just a mm or so a month, others a few mm a month. If you are having to take her in often, and force feeding her you may need to look at quality of life and if what you are doing is really in her best interest.
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2 Chinchillas: Bazil and Wicket
10 Cats: Mystic, Coon, Rascal, Lucky, Mittens, Shadow, CJ, Tiger, Tux, and Nessie
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Old 04-30-2018, 04:54 PM Romania
ndesktop ndesktop is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 3

Thank you very much for the detailed and helpful response.

Yes, I do have x-rays when the teeth were trimmed. I will go again to the vet to be sure if the tooth is just broken and will regrow, or is something else.
I ordered the product from your link - sadly in Romania will arrive in 6-10 days - but at least I hope we're on the good track.

I will get back with news (and perhaps more questions, if that's ok) as soon as there are some.
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:01 PM Romania
ndesktop ndesktop is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2018
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Updates: Essentials was very well received, appetite improved considerably, she is now eating with more enthusiasm - although we still hand feed her, she started to pick dry leaves and Essentials For Life smaller things. She also become slightly more active.
Will keep to update (especially when she starts eating alone).
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