On knowing when to let go…
We all live in hope.
We can be blinded by this.
For pet owners, knowing when to seek vet care and knowing when to let go are very, very, difficult decisions. With chinchillas, they mask their symptoms for as long as possible, but certain biological symptoms cannot be hidden. If a chin refuses to eat, drink, is lethargic or has unusual bowel movements or activity level, those are all cause for concern.
Many times treatment can be effective if intervention is provided before the point of lethargy. A slow, sleepy or wobbly chin is not normal. It is a downward spiral that will not get better on its own. This is true IF the cause of lethargy is not overheating. If the chin is overheated, the immediate course of action is not to force feed or medicate, but to cool. Don’t fool yourself into seeing improvement that isn’t there. If there is the least bit of nagging suspicion that all is not well, please trust your instincts and get veterinary help right away.
Having experienced just about every chinchilla ailment with the hundreds of animals that have come through our doors, we have a fairly accurate sense of knowing when a chin is not going to pull through. There are certain characteristics that chinchillas show when they have reached the point of no return.
A chin can be lethargic, which is usually the kiss of death, but if they accept hand feeding and medications by mouth, they still have a fighting chance. Even the most radical medical emergencies can succeed if we gauge the chin’s behavior and act accordingly. A chinchilla with a spark of hope will fight hand feeding, chew or lick whatever comes in contact with their mouth: the more vigorous the movements, the better the prognosis. But it is important to get help while the chinchilla is still strong.
A lethargic chin who simply drools out is not likely to have the fight to survive. As painful as it sounds, it is at this point we should prepare to say our good-byes.