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Jessi gives an update on the new chinchilla rescue. So much has happened in the last month, including picking a name!

New Chinchilla Intro video: https://youtu.be/-PMEQeuGyeo

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Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  A few weeks ago, I introduced you to our newest rescue, a chinchilla!  If you haven't seen the video yet, check it out, links in the doobly-doo.  We didn't have a name picked out, so we asked you for some suggestions and we got so many good ideas.  We decided to put it to a vote on our Patreon page and have our Patrons pick their favorite.  The vote is in and the winner is Pebbles!  So Pebbles finally has a name, but there have been quite a few other things that have happened since the introduction, so hold on to your hats, because it's been a busy month. 

(Intro)

When we first rescued Pebbles, we were told he was a four year old male and my initial exam told me that he was overweight, he had a respiratory infection, and some slight irritation on the bottoms of his feet.  We took him into the vet clinic to see how we could best help him become as healthy as possible.  The first thing that our vet said was that she thought he was much older than four years old because of the condition of the skin on his ears.  She also agreed with the rest of my evaluation, though the respiratory infection seemed to be clearing up in just the few days he'd been with us.  This was great news.  We could hold off on antibiotics and we summed up the nasal discharge and sneezing to an environmental irritant in the previous home. 

Our vet prescribed Pebbles a strict diet of two tablespoons chinchilla pellets and a handful of hay daily.  This is the perfect maintenance diet for all chinchillas.  I also encourage as much exercise as possible and was hoping the three story enclosure would help, but Pebbles really prefers to just chill in the hut.  I added lots more toys to encourage her to explore her enclosure and I lined the shelves with fleece to prevent further injury to her feet.  I just want to take a moment to let you know, if you hear some extra noises, it's because we have a construction project going on for the animals, updates coming soon.

The extra toys were exactly what Pebbles wanted.  She started exploring more of her enclosure.  Unfortunately, one morning, we discovered that she had gotten her leg stuck in one of the side bars and couldn't get it out.  We were able to quickly get a very upset Pebbles free and rush her right into our vet clinic.  Our veterinarian, Dr. Carr determined it was best to amputate the leg, since chinchillas have very thin bones and it's difficult to get them to set well enough to heal properly.  She also revealed that Pebbles was not the male we thought he was but a female.  So much for both of our initial exams.  

Pebbles made it through surgery and we set her up in this small cozy recovery cage so she could learn to negotiate the world on three legs.  She was comfortable but the first two weeks post-op were really rough on her digestive system.  She needed to take antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection, but chinchillas have very sensitive digestive systems.  Antibiotics can kill off unwanted bacteria from becoming established, but they can also kill off the good bacteria in their gut.  

What happens was Pebbles' stomach felt so upset that she stopped eating.  This is really dangerous for chinchillas.  It can lead to GI stasis, which leads to death.  I needed to get her eating again, whatever it took, so every two hours, I offered her fresh grass and dandelion greens and she'd eat them as long as I put them right up to her mouth.  I also syringe fed her moistened critical care.  Critical care is powdered hay and it's perfect for getting the needed fiber in a sick herbivore.  

Pebbles was not a fan at first and I had to wrap her in a towel to get her to eat it, but after a few times, she decided she did like it after all and now whenever she sees it, she comes running.  Pebbles is just now starting to eat hay on her own, which is awesome, but she won't touch the pellets.  I think she's become a little spoiled on the apple flavored critical care. 

Let's see if she wants to come out now to get some exercise and explore.  As you can see, she's managing quite well on three legs.  Dr. Carr was concerned that Pebbles may never be able to maneuver well enough to use ramps, but she's doing so well that I've been able to re-introduce her to this multi-level enclosure with some upgrades.

I feel really terrible that the fleece layer wasn't able to protect her from getting caught in the side bars.  I thought she was protected, but she wasn't, so to make sure she's safe, I've completely covered the bars on the shelves with thick plastic slabs.  I've also slipped a layer of fleece completely over the ramps and woven fleece through the side bars as well.  I chose to use plastic so I could really get it clean and the fleece can be taken off and washed.  Adding hay mats and wooden furniture are great ways to vary texture and prevent foot sores and they're easily replaced if they become soiled.  Shelves are a really great way to enrich a chinchilla's life, but as Pebbles and I have learned, if you have a large enclosure with barred shelves, make sure the bars aren't large enough for their legs to slip through.  If they are, cover them up.  Cover everything up.  

So Pebbles' life adventure continues.  I'm so sorry about your leg, but I hope that I can continue to give you a great life from here on out, and let's keep our fingers crossed that she'll have a best friend in the future.  I'm hoping that our other chinchilla Cheerio thinks she's just as awesome as we do.

Thanks for joining us today.  I hope you enjoyed the update on Pebbles.  If you would like to help support our rescue efforts, you can check out our brand new 2017 Animal Wonders calendar.  It has some awesome pictures in it.  You can check it out, it's on our website, link is below, and if you would like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel AnimalWondersMontana.  Thanks!   See you next week.

(Endscreen/Credits)

Let's start by classifying him so we can figure out exactly what he is.  He's in the kingdom Animalia because he's an animal.  Phylum, chordata, basically, he has a spine.