My chinchilla, Chupie, has had a rough time with health. A bit of background is in order. He started having problems with his ears and his eyes. Over-active tear ducts, I suspect, because his eyes would seal shut occasionally. Of course, my wife and I have made numerous trips to the vet.
Then, Chupie had some trouble eating. He lost a lot of weight and almost died. It turns out he cut his mouth (possibily on a peice of wood?) and it was infected. That was taken care of.
Soon, however, he had new troubles with his mouth. This time it was his teeth. After four or five visits to the vet and a few procedures, he was recovering. But he couldn't eat hard food. So my wife and I would smash the food and wet it.
We started feeding him with our hands and then got him to eat on his own. Well, because he got used to the soft food, his teeth starting having trouble again. More trips to the vet. We knew we had to get him to eat hard food to grind his teeth, but he refused (literally went two and a half days without eating). Well, my willpower gave in before his, and I gave him some soft food. He would, however, eat nutra puffs*, a "healthy" snack. We gave him a few here and there, to get him chewing.
Well, now, a few months later, his teeth are looking good and his weight is back up. The new problem is that his back is looking hunched with a dip in the neck. As some of you know, this is a sign of some potentially very bad things. We took him to the vet and he said it was more important to keep the weight up than to worry about the hunch.
All of this background is given to ask: What do you think I should do? My present course of action:
1.) Make sure water intake is high
2.) Keep an eye on fluctations in his droppings
3.) Withhold ALL treats, feeding him only Mazzuri and Timothy and Alfalfa (sp?) hay.
4.) Keep his stress level as low as possible.
5.) Administer (at the vet's request) .5 Bactrym twice a day
The rub is that he eats less when we are not giving him treats. So that, it seems very difficult to keep him healthy.
At first, I was concerned that we weren't taking good care of him. He has an enormous cage (in fact, two cages mended to together) and is very loved. We have another chinchilla, Bunkie, who has never had a health problem in her whole life.
Sorry for the long post. Any suggestions?