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You’ll be able to see that your new mother is trying to avoid suckling her kits. If the kits succeed in latching on, the pain to your mother chinchilla will lead to her becoming overly aggressive toward her babies, possibly biting them and causing serious or even fatal injuries.
If you can see what the milk looks like, it may look blood-tinged and clotted. If you notice any of this, take your chinchilla for veterinary care right away.
When your female chinchilla gives birth to her kits, her milk will come in within three days so she can nurse the babies. The newborn kits are extremely hungry, so when they feed, they may bite her teats with their teeth (kits are born with their teeth intact). If the injuries aren’t detected and treated with antibiotic cream to prevent infection, the mammary glands will become inflamed, leading to mastitis in the mother chinchilla.
When your chinchilla begins to nurse her kits, try to be on the lookout for any unusual or troubling behaviors and symptoms:
You’ll also notice that, because they are unable to feed from their mother, the kits become lethargic and listless.
The typical cause of inflammation of the mammary gland in your chinchilla is fairly direct. Her kits may nip and bite her teats while feeding, which causes small cuts in the tissue. If these injuries aren’t treated, she could develop inflammation or an infection.
If you suspect that your chinchilla has developed inflammation or mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland), you need to take her to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.
In the exam room, the vet examines your chinchilla, observing her behaviors. During the physical part of the exam, he’ll look at and feel each teat, looking for the location of each infection. If he feels that the teats are swollen and hot, he’ll diagnose mastitis.
The vet may examine and culture the mother’s milk, looking for the exact bacteria causing the infection. If the milk is infected with bacteria, the kits shouldn’t try to drink it.
Once the vet diagnoses mastitis, he’ll prescribe treatments that will allow your chinchilla to recover so she can begin to take care of her kits.
Your pet will be given warm compresses to reduce the level of inflammation in her teats. She’ll also receive topical antibiotics that will begin to kill the bacteria that are making her sick. Depending on the severity of her infection, she may also receive systemic antibiotics that may make nursing her kits impossible because of the risk of transferring the antibiotics to their systems.
The vet may also recommend that you bathe your chinchilla’s teats with an antiseptic solution or treat the wounds with Kamillosan cream. This is an herbal preparation that poses no risk to the kits if they ingest it. Always follow your vet’s instructions regarding herbal preparations; use only prescribed products, methods, and dosages.
If a mastitis infection is discovered, diagnosed, and treated early, your chinchilla will recover and return to living a healthy life with her kits. While she is suffering from this infection, her kits should be hand-raised, which means you’ll have to feed the kits replacer milk every two hours, around the clock. If you already have a nursing female, she may be able to foster and feed them while the kits’ mother is recovering from her illness.
The only time that your chinchilla would not recover is if you don’t realize that she has developed an inflammation of her mammary glands. As infection and inflammation progress they turn to mastitis which, if left untreated, leaves your pet vulnerable to developing septicemia (bacteria in her bloodstream). Once she has developed this illness, her condition is grave and her prognosis will be poor.
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