So sad to report our male Chinchilla Chuck (we had a dozen names for him) "Boy" past away last week. He was buried in the park and we received lots of flowers, condolence cards, and phone calls. Everyone loved Chuck. We noticed a week before he was having labored breathing, wasn't eating, and was gagging when he drank anything. We thought maybe he had a cold or heaven forbid, heart failure. Unfortunately it was the latter. We wanted x rays right off the bat but the vet refused having us try antibiotics first. After 5 days Chuck still wasn't better. We brought him back in and they put him on oxygen and took x rays of his chest. His heart was enlarged and that was why he was gagging. The vet said we could try heart medicine for him and Lasix to rid him of the water. Blood pressure medicine to open his blood vessels and another heart medication. Because Chuck couldn't take pills the pharmacist had to make it liquid. So much medicine for a little mouse. Medicine came to over $100 a month because it had to be specially made and was human heart medicine. We managed one day of medicine and he passed away the next morning. Chuck was 12 years old. : ( So anyone who has a chinchilla that is gagging while drinking it may be heart failure related. Get x rays to get a better idea. Just because our experience was expensive doesn't mean yours will be the same. Have your chin x rayed on the first visit. Don't wait.
Sorry for the delay on responding I didn't get an email letting me know I got responses. : ) Thank you so much everyone. It was such a shock to lose him so quickly but I think he may just of had an enlarged heart and it kept getting bigger throughout his life, so yes I do believe that was inhibiting him from swallowing correctly. There isn't much you can do or vets can do with heart failure. Our other female we had her for 16 yrs and we think she also died of heart failure she went very quick. I wish they had heart transplant surgery for them because we would of paid for it. After Chuck died my sister sent a bouquet of condolence flowers so big it was literally 3 feet across and 3 feet high. I called the compounding pharmacy the day he died and left a message informing them they would not have to make up his last medication because he passed away. 2 days later we received a card with all their condolences and they didn't even know who we really were. They just felt awful because we were in such a panic trying to get his medicine all made up the days before. But everyone loved him and besides his cataracts, that got much better with his drops, he had zero health problems all the way up until the end. He had a wonderful life and we are convinced Chuck is in heaven waiting for all of us. So crazy how little 2 lb chinchillas can have such an impact on so many lives. They are truly wonderful one of a kind little creatures. True LOVE!!!