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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Question Degu Tail Chewing?

I have a Degu who is almost 7 years old and it looks as if he has been chewing on the tip of his tail. It was very minor at first and he never seemed to be bothered by it, but tonight I noticed that it looks very raw and I can actually see what appears to be bone or cartilage now. This has me very concerned and he now seems to be in pain since he is constantly moving his tail back and forth very quickly. My Degu has been blind for the past couple of years most likely due to diabetes and I read that tail chewing/biting can be attributed to that as well since they may not be able to feel it or it is causing a lot of pain. Is there anything I can do, I am very concerned about it getting infected. I have attached a picture I just took of it. If anyone can provide any advice, I would very much appreciate it. Thank you.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 05:14 PM
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Ouch, that does look painful.

Does he live alone? Is it possible he originally caught his tail in wire (from a wire wheel, perhaps?)? How often is he let out of his cage? What types of toys does he have to play with? Have you talked to your vet?




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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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He used to have a cagemate several years ago, but now live alone. He has a wire running wheel which I suppose he could have caught his tail on, but he doesn't run on the inside of it, he stands on the outside and uses his front legs to spin it. He has a plastic toy in the shape of a few tires, a wooden block that he perches himself on.

I have received some advice to clean it with a salene solution, which I have just done. The exposed tail bone is now gone.. I guess he bit it off?

I bring him out as often as I can, but he does not like to be picked up very much, but is just fine after I do manage to catch him.
I also have a new kitten that has taken interest in the cage, but I try to keep him away as much as I can, but he is very crafty.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 06:28 PM
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It sounds like it was either injured and he took it upon himself to "clean" the wound (injured from the wheel or kitten, probably) OR he's starting to self-mutilate. Self-mutilation is most common in lone degus and you can reduce it by giving him more stuff to do. Which country do you live in? I could definitely help with toy and chew suggestions .




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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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I live in Ontario Canada.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 12:36 AM
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Ok, then you should have most of the same stuff available. Here are some ideas (a mixture of commercial toys, DIY toys, and things you can find at craft stores) :

-Nut Knot Nibbler (toy that they have to take apart to get the treat)
-Apple branches
-Willow branches and baskets
-Hanging bird toys (go for wooden ones, not plastic, and avoid rawhide/leather)
-Cholla (cactus) wood
-Yucca wood (always a favorite!)
-Cardboard toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay and treats
-Ledges (they have ones that clip on, designed for chinchillas)
-Wooden bird ladders
-Pumice stones (hit or miss but so cheap it's worth a shot)
-Grapevine (grapevine balls are especially useful as you can stuff hay in them and they can be rolled around)
-Brown paper bag stuffed with hay, food, and treats and rolled up
-Wooden spoons (can be chewed and tossed)
-Toys with bells (try both the small animal and bird sections)

You can also try scattering and hiding his food to encourage foraging. Degus are active, intelligent animals so they really thrive when they have stuff to do .




~Stephanie

"We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice."


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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He didn't make it through the night. =*(
He was still on the towel I put down for him...

Rest in Peace little buddy, I will miss you.

Thank you for your kind help though, I do greatly apprecite it.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 01:35 PM
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your post brought me to tears I am soo sorry for your loss
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 03:53 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss .




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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you
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