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Chin Emergencies Guidance given in this forum does not substitute for PROPER VET CARE.

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  #1  
Old 01-28-2019, 06:04 AM United States
Rodeer Rodeer is offline
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Default Choking on pellets - Throat tumor? Upper body seizure?

Took my chin to the vet after I witnessed him choking on his pellets a few times. His neck would stretch out, ears pressed down and tail thump like he couldn't breathe. One time, I saw a pellet dislodged and spat out.

The vet checked his front and back teeth and said they look normal. She raised the possibility of a throat tumor if choking continues.

What other tumor symptoms should I look out for?
Is it possible he was having some kind of upper body seizure? Does that happen in chins?
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:26 PM Canada
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How did they check the back teeth? Were x-rays taken or just a scope, or just looked in the mouth? Without x-rays you can't rule out teeth problems since you can't see the molars very well and can't see roots at all. If something is causing chewing to hurt it's possible the chin is trying to swallow the pellets without chewing.

It is also possible for there to be a throat tumor, I've never deal with one so I don't know for sure the symptoms. I would think it would cause issues with swallowing almost every time though, and possible even drinking water could become a problem. It could also cause breathing problems depending on where it is. Chins aren't prone to tumors like other rodents, but they can still happen, especially if the chin is poorly bred.

Another possibility, that seems more likely then a tumor, is he has something caught in his throat, like a piece of hay or sliver of wood. If it went down wrong and stuck in to the tissue of the throat that would cause irritation when he swallows or even prevent swallowing sometimes.

Chins can have seizures, sometimes they can be triggered by something like a drop in blood sugar after running around too much, or spike in blood sugar after having a sugary snack, or a fall/head injury. Other times there isn't a known cause.

If you can if it happens again try to get a video of it, that way you have something to actually show the vet rather then just trying to describe what happened.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:29 PM United States
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I forgot to add. His teeth are whitish yellow and the vet said they're discolored but strongly discouraged any calcium in the diet besides pellets. She said the risk of stones is very high. But I read on the forum that stones are mostly genetic, so can I start supplementing calcium safely?

He had x-rays done a few months ago, and there was no root or surface elongation. Can root elongation develop in a few months? And would choking be a symptom?

Please help if you know anything, I'm at my wit's end!
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:43 PM United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
How did they check the back teeth? Were x-rays taken or just a scope, or just looked in the mouth? Without x-rays you can't rule out teeth problems since you can't see the molars very well and can't see roots at all. If something is causing chewing to hurt it's possible the chin is trying to swallow the pellets without chewing.

It is also possible for there to be a throat tumor, I've never deal with one so I don't know for sure the symptoms. I would think it would cause issues with swallowing almost every time though, and possible even drinking water could become a problem. It could also cause breathing problems depending on where it is. Chins aren't prone to tumors like other rodents, but they can still happen, especially if the chin is poorly bred.

Another possibility, that seems more likely then a tumor, is he has something caught in his throat, like a piece of hay or sliver of wood. If it went down wrong and stuck in to the tissue of the throat that would cause irritation when he swallows or even prevent swallowing sometimes.

Chins can have seizures, sometimes they can be triggered by something like a drop in blood sugar after running around too much, or spike in blood sugar after having a sugary snack, or a fall/head injury. Other times there isn't a known cause.

If you can if it happens again try to get a video of it, that way you have something to actually show the vet rather then just trying to describe what happened.
Thanks for your help. I just posted another reply with additional info. She used a scope, but x-rays were taken a short time ago and I don't want to do them again so soon. Could something have gone wrong since then? What causes elongation? Injuries, genetics or both?

Yes, the pellet I saw spat out was 3/4 size. It was odd that it wasn't chewed more before swallowing. He bites at his water bottle spout sometimes, but is able to drink so maybe it's nothing.

It's been a week since the first time I saw the choke, so I'm not sure something could be stuck this long. But how can I check for a blockage? Only the upper body seized up, so I don't really think it's a seizure either.

Thanks for your input, I'll try to video it. I guess there's nothing I can do in the meantime except watch the eating and weight. He has lost 20 grams but I know it's common to fluctuate.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:31 PM Canada
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I wouldn't supplement with calcium, it's too easy to get the amount wrong. Stone can also be caused by giving too much calcium, like those mineral chews and cuddle bones are bad for chins. However you can generally add alfalfa hay to the diet depending on what you are feeding for pellets.

Since x-rays were just done just a few months ago I don't think that is the issue. Elongation of the roots happens when the crown of the tooth becomes too long and runs out of room in the mouth. That causes the teeth to grow from the other end, the root. Teeth over growing can have many causes, not wearing down the teeth fast enough, for example the good quality diet we feed in captivity allows chins to eat less, meaning less chewing, as well as allows the teeth nutrients to grow. That is why hay is so important in the chins diet, pellets don't wear down teeth and are full of nutritious stuff. Other causes include malo, which is misalignment of the teeth, if the teeth don't line up right they don't wear down properly. Malo can be genetic, caused by diet (for example too much pellets, not enough hay as I mentioned), or from injury.

Does he eat ok most of the time? If so it is also possible he just tried to swallow too large of a piece of pellet trying to eat too fast. If it only happened a couple times, not every time he eats that might be all it is. If it continues though you'll need to find out if there is a tumor or something. To check for a blockage in the throat I would think they would have to put him under and stick a scope down there. You could also try rubbing his throat and see if it irritates him, that could give you an idea if something is going on in there. Is it just the few times choking or is he coughing or drooling at all too?

Ok so looking up "choking" on the forum here I came up with some other threads, looks like choking is common in malo chins, but it can also be caused by a tooth abscess. Basically when they bite down with the sore tooth they end up trying to spit the food back out, chins can't throw up so they end up making choking motions. An abscess could have been caused by anything that he chewed on that could have poked through he gums.
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Last edited by Amethyst; 01-28-2019 at 04:35 PM.
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