Monday, 12 October 2009

Dramas again!

Well, I am all too aware that I have gone quiet again! Life is conspiring against me.

Shortly after the ball, my beloved Chinchilla, Stitch has become ill again and has needed a lot of my time. He is suffering from Malaclussion, which is a nasty and all too common ailment in Chinchillas. He is only young (in a couple of weeks he will be 3) so it is more than likely it was inherited from his parents. As a rescessive gene it is one of the sad facts of chinchilla life; no matter how hard the breeders try to eradicate it, it always crops up. Having lost leroy, who came home at the same time as Stitch (Stitch was 4 months, Leroy 3 months) it is a huge blow to have this diagnosis hanging over him.

Malaclussion (commonly just called 'Mal') is technically a mis alignment of the teeth or jaw. This can cause the teeth to wear unevenly and develop what is know as 'spurs'. Spurs are like spikes that form on the side of the teeth (sometimes inside, others outside); These can cut the tongue and cheeks causing problems eating - which of course, leads to wieght loss, starvation and gut stasis - which is a major problem in itself. Spurs are treatable - they are filed down by vets to allow the mouth to heal.

Stitch is suffering from Root elongation as well; this is part of Mal, and a terminal one at that. With Chinchillas the teeth grow constantly, pushing upwards.When the teeth are not worn down correctly, or quickly enough, the tooth roots grow instead. This causes the bottom roots to grow out through the lower jaw, and the top roots grow into the sinuses, eye sockets and if left, eventully the brain.

Stitch suffers from constant eye discharge, as his roots are already in his eyes.

This of course is fatal, and I have to face facts that when he has had enough, it will be my job to let him go in peace, without pain. He has pain killers now, to ease his suffering.

He had some spurs trimmed off last monday, as he was loosing weight.Most of the week he has had to be syringe fed every few hours, 24 hours a day. He is now finally, starting to eat for himself, and I am finally finding some time for me again.

Seeing as it has only been one month since his previous dental, I suspect he may need then monthly unless I can get him eating hay; to wear his teeth. Something he has refused to do for a couple of months now - probably due to his root pain.

The first few days, he was really miserable; but he soon perked up and is his usual cheeky little self; bouncing about, looking for treats.

Hopefully we have turned a corner, he has totally fed himself for the last 24 hours.

I managed to stuff a bear today - my 'secret project' bear from the Teddy Tutor - I am liking the double neck joint, very much. I am learning loads!

I also tried a new craft the other day, Chain Maille - it's great! You make jewellery out of the humble Jump Ring - following traditional Chain mail patterns; it's relaxing, addictive and quick! Hooray!

Hope to have some more news for you all soon!

Bear Hugs,
Julia x


  1. Awww... that is so sad... I used to own Ferrets, who are prone to cancer... so I understand. :(

    Well, I am hoping for it not to be too rough, for you or your little fuzzball.

    On the positive note, I still can't wait to see your secret project!!

    And... I saw your post on Ginger's candy corn post... and you need to email me, STAT, with your address so I can send you some Candy Corn!!!!

  2. Poor Stitch! At least you have a good vet who can do dental work on chinchillas, I have yet *touch wood* to need a vet for my 2.

    Chain Maille sounds interesting, I have just acquired some jewellery making items I hope I can get my mojo working and make something!

    Looking forward to seeing this top secret project, cant we have some sneaky peek pictures? Purrlease?

    Look forward to the next update!


  3. What a shame, you sound as if you are doing your best, hang in there....

  4. Thank you everyone for your kind wishes; He is doing quite well today and it's a relief that he is eating for himself again. I like sleep!

    Heather - thank you for your offer - email on it's way! I'm curious...

    Dazie - a Good Chinchilla vet is very hard to find! Mine has kept Chins himself for many, many years (although I don't always agree with him). Best to find one before you need one. Loosing my first little lad taught me they can get seriously ill, fast - if I had have acted right away, I may have been able to save him - he died of stasis; now I ALWAYS! have a bag of syringe feed to hand just in case.

    Chain Maille is awesome, and dead easy.

    Amanda - thank you; I am hoping these positive vibes will help him get to normal (well, ish! ASAP)

    The secret bear is pretty much done.He's part of Ellen Borgreave's Teddy Tutor; she has supplied the pattern and variations - we learn the bear! I love his double joint neck but something went squiffy in the sculpting and it makes one eye look bigger than the other!! I am just waiting for the next step - Which I think may be some form of stuffed trapunto paw pads.

    Thank God, that touch wood, my other Chinchilla, Lucky is healthy; he was bought to be a companion for Stithf, I had been doing intros for months and just as they were due to live together, Stitch was diagnosed. Now I need to monitor his poop and his eating so they can't live together although they do sometimes have play sessions.

    Luxky loves attention and frequently begs for playtime; as I was devoted so much time to Stitch, I bought him a wheel. He is now obbsessed and you can hear it 24 hours a day!

    He reminds me so much of Leroy, my lost boy - only much more confident and outgoing. Lucky was gifted to me by his breeder, as he has mental problems (he chews himself bald when he's moved) So he needed a good, non breeding home. I took one look at him and he came to live with me. Such a sweetie!