Chinchillas are adorable and cute. Chinchillas are also relatively easy to take care of. However, just like any other type of pet, Chinchillas are prone to several health problems, including respiratory issues. They are somehow, prone to choking.
Choking in chinchillas is not normal. It can be a serious situation because without proper treatment, it may lead to death! It can be life-threatening to them because they cannot vomit. The sign of choking in Chinchillas are labored breathing, drooling, gasping, and pawing at the mouth. The best way to handle it is to rush your Chinchillas to the emergency vet immediately. Having a choked Chinchilla can be pretty scary. So here’s a brief on how to prevent the choking in Chinchilla and ways to handle the situation properly.
Choking on Chinchillas; Is It Normal?
What is actually happening?
If you want to prevent it, firstly, you have to understand how it happens. For short, choking can occur when the chinchillas’ esophagus is obstructed or when something, which commonly a piece of food or bedding, blocks their airway. Remember that they cannot vomit so they don’t have the ability to relieve the obstruction. The obstructed esophagus is harmful because it may press on the windpipe that leads to respiratory distress. If it doesn’t get treated immediately, the chinchillas may die due to a lack of oxygen! How scary is that?
The causes of choking on chinchillas
The windpipe of Chinchillas can be blocked when they swallow a large piece of food or accidentally swallow a sharp or rough surface of non-food material. In the female chinchillas, they might also get choke on the placenta after they get birth to the infants. How could they swallow a big chunk of food, anyway? Well, it can happen due to the poor condition of their dental health and dental malocclusion which makes them unable to chew the food properly. So you better bring them for a regular dental check-up, too!
The sign of choking on chinchillas
Chinchillas may show some signs when they are choking. They will begin to cough and take a gasping breath. Your chinchillas may make a sound as if they are attempting to vomit, but nothing comes up because they can’t! Usually, when animals try to vomit, the muscle of their belly and sides move in and out, but you will not be able to find it in Chinchilla’s, so don’t wait for it. Once you notice your little furry friend is suffocating, get it to the vet as soon as possible!
Besides coughing and gasping, your Chinchillas may also perform other symptoms such as loss of their appetites, restlessness, and drooling or excessive salivation
Diagnosis and treatment for choking chinchillas
The best way to properly diagnose a choking chinchilla is by letting it get to observe and examine by the vet. After you rush your choking chinchilla to the vet, tell the signs that you can observe before from your chinchilla so they can get to the procedures effectively. The vet may perform some run blood work to figure out the health status and take an X-rays examination to locate the blockage. Don’t worry! From here, your little furry friend is on the right hand.
In some cases, if the obstructed material is near to the chinchilla’s mouth, the vet can remove it carefully by hand or with the help of forceps. Or, the vet may recommend some agents, like Arecoline. This will help to increase the esophagus movement so the food can pass through to the stomach and remove the blockage. As for the last option, if nothing works out, the vet may produce surgical operation on the esophagus of your chinchillas. Well, that doesn’t sound fun at all, right?
Once the chunk in the esophagus is removed, your chinchilla will need fresh food and water. After the vet has ensured that your chinchilla’s gastrointestinal tract is back to normal, you can bring it back home. The chinchillas may still need some time to recover so let it rest in a calm environment. Your vet may also suggest you with a diet plan that can be digested easily by your chinchilla. Usually, it will be some food in a small piece or a mashed form.
How to prevent choking on chinchillas
After all this explanation, you may already know that the main way to prevent choking in chinchillas is:
1. Take care of their dental condition so they can chew their food properly.
2. Avoid feeding your chinchillas with a big chunk of food. Only provide the food that is easy to manage and chew. If the food or treats are too big, chop it up into bite-sized or if it takes too much effort, just provide them with food pellets that are specifically made for chinchillas at stores.
3. Be careful about choosing their bedding material. Make sure the material is safe for them, soft, and harmless if it accidentally ingested. Avoid the ones that not only could potentially get swallowed by them but also the ones that can be toxic for them.
4. Keep the small or sharp objects from the chinchillas and be careful about choosing their toys or accessories. They chew habit is good for their dental health, but can also harm them if they manage to swallow some parts of the materials that harmful or potentially get them to choke up.
5. Keep your eye on any signs of choking. If you find your chinchilla keep on refusing to eat, drooling, and pawing at its mouth, be cautious about it and get it to check out by the vet immediately. It does not always have a sign of choking. It may be some other health or respiratory problems. But still, it can be life-threatening to the chinchillas especially if they have not eaten for a long time because it may lead to dehydration, malnutrition, or even liver diseases!