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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Some Chinchilla questions (with pics)

Hi all,

Have some questions about my Chin - we got him a few weeks ago at the age of 4 months from a local pet shop, hope I can get some of my questions answered here

1) He's got some small patches of fur missing, but can't see the skin underneath - would this be caused by fur biting? I've only seem him scratching (cleaning?) himself but not biting his own fur. You can see on the picture below. Is there anything we should do, could this be caused by fungus infection also?

2) Noticed some red skin on the nose and going slightly bald , from looking this seems to be fungus infection - was recommended to give him daily dust bath with fungus/athletes foot powder, is this correct or should it be less frequent than this? Dust gets discarded after every dust bath.

3) He doesn't seem to like chewing lava blocks/wood that much, just a lot of hay and pellets - is this normal?
4) Scratches inside his ear with his foot sometimes, anything to worry about , or does he just maybe have some dust/hay in there from playing around?
5) Put a few more pictures - does he look healthy otherwise? He seems happy and very active (especially when out of the cage)

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Seems I can't post pictures on this forum as I'm a new member - below is the URL for my imageshack profile which has the pictures.

profile.imageshack.us/user/rjb852852
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 07:59 PM
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The picture doesnt work.
The nose with red skin and balding is Definitely not normal. I dont know about the athletes foot powder, but I wouldnt do it unless recommended by a experienced chinchilla vet. Which leads to my advise. See a vet, if you find someone knowledgeable about chinchillas they can tell you if he is healthy and what needs to be done if he isnt. The fur biting can be a sign of stress, and if you just brought him home, he may stop eventually. Mine fur bit for a year and never has since. As for wood, some chinchillas are a little more picky, mine dont like lava blocks, but love apple wood. Try different textures/types and see what he likes its fun to watch them with new toys anyway! Just make sure its safe wood for chinchillas before you give it to him
Good luck!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 03:56 PM
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I haven't personally owned my own chinchilla but my mom has had her Fizzgig for over 15years now!! those two I swear lol. How big is his cage? when we first got fizzle she would chew and our vet said she is stressed from having too small of a cage so that could be a problem. I agree with nik8806, finding an experienced Chin vet would be your best bet since they will be able to pin point any and all issues your little guy might have.

The picture also did not work for me ='( maybe try again? I love chins they are way too cute for their own good =D

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2011, 07:11 PM
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pics worked for me he seems really healthy only for the skin problem i purchased 2 chins about 2 years ago with the same problem vet said it was a fungal infection but it was simple to treat ...he gave me an insecticidal powder <magic dragon insecticidal powder> its natural and can be put in their dust bath daily...and another thing he gave me was an antibiotic called aureomycin its a water solubable antibiotic ..its a 3 week course and i never looked back to this day there as healthy as can be thank god best of luck


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 05:06 PM
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I couldn't see the pics but if you have any doubt, taking them to the vet is the best way to go. Sometimes too much dust can make their skin dry out so 3 times a week is good for dust. Does the spot smell? Sometimes they will wet in their dust and roll in it, if you don't catch it...but that also looks and smells similar to a fungus so it's better to be safe than sorry with that and have a vet check it out. Is the spot growing? Mine did that once and the vet said it was best that I did bring him in because without seeing it, he couldn't tell me over the phone...it turns out it was just him wetting in his dust and I didn't catch it. He only did that once, thankfully. The other thing, in response to possible chewing...I've had some trouble with my little guy with that too. He gets separation anxiety and I had to be away for a family emergency. Now, he travels with me and he's much happier. (Most chins would not like to travel but mine seems to find it more stressful to be left home without me, than to travel. He travels great and it's cheaper than the vet bills and the stress on all of us to get him better!) Chins will sometimes chew for multiple reasons, normally some sort of stress. (could be the change of scene, food, lots of different things) Mine has only done it when I've been away from him for a period of time so it was easy to pin point the problem. Honestly, if you're worried about anything and being that he's a new one to you, it wouldn't be a bad idea to take him in to get checked over and a physical. That way you find out anything you need to know that might be a problem and get a better answer as to what's going on with him. Look for a good exotic vet in the area. You'll want to have him established with one anyway because, trust me, things can happen fast with a chin and you'll want to know where you could get him in fast if need be. They're wonderful and fun but something I've learned is that it's always a good idea to have a vet on hand so that if you need one, even to ask questions, you can find one. Because of the chewing with separation anxiety thing my little one went through, I've gotten to know our vet pretty well and he knows Nipper.

As far as refusing to chew on certain things...is he eating and drinking normally? It's very important that if they stop eating and drinking normally or seem like they're less active. I describe it as the "wounded animal defense" because they are prey animals and to show injury by nature would make them a target so they hide pain and things well. If they start doing anything like that...they need to see a vet ASAP. At the same time, chins have their own tastes of what they like. My sister-in-law that had one that refused to chew on any wood chews that didn't have bark on them. Nipper isn't really choosy with his chews but he goes through phases of favorites. He's never had anything with bark though. He likes lava rocks but then he'll go through phases where he'll prefer something else. I keep a variety around for him. His current favorite seems to be little wood chews that are in the shapes of fruit because he can pick them up and run with them.

The other thing that could cause fur to come out is a "fur slip" if you are holding him when he does it or something is scaring him (which is easy to do with a new baby in a new environment), they shed fur sometimes as a defense mechanism. The idea being that they can slip away from a predator.

Read lots and lots any chance you get to familiarize yourself with chins and their care and needs. It's well worth it to stay as educated as you can. I also find it really fun to learn about them. They're fascinating little critters. Also, as you get to know your little one and bond with him, you'll find that he has his own way of communicating with you that is really fun. Congrats on being a new chin owner! (Sorry if this is a bit of a book.)


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 05:10 PM
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Oh yeah, as far as him scratching inside his ear, he probably just has an itch. The other thing is that with him being so young and new, he's maybe not chewing on stuff as much quite yet. Let him get acclimated. Ours was about that age when we got him and he didn't do much of anything in front of us for a while. He was just adjusting. As long as he's eating hay and pellets, don't worry about the lack of chewing. I'm sure that will come.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 09:44 AM
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The fur chewing is probably related to the stress of the pet store and a new environment, As for the red, balding nose-it probably is a fungal infection. I would highly recommend seeing a vet. However you can put the anti-fungal powder Tiacin (Probably spelled wrong) in his bath daily. The cage will need to be 100% sanitized for this to have a chance at working though. The fungus is contagious for humans, so be careful! Wash your hands well after touching him or his cage, and change your clothes.

As for the lava stone, if it's from the pet store, don't worry about it. My guys didn't like it either. But the L-O-V-E pumice stone! So try to get your hands on that. I'm guessing the wood you bought was from the store as well-which means it's nasty, too. Chinnies are picky about wood! I would suggest finding someone who has a chemical free tree that's on the safe wood list and seeing if you can take a few twigs from it. Just cut it up, scrub it, and bake it until it's 100% dried. I bet he'll attack it then! I have a working safe / unsafe wood list on my website. Just click the link in my signature and click on the "Chinfo" tab.

Good luck!
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