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*Positive Results from Vitamin C and Calcium Supplementing: Correcting Calcium Deficiency, Reversing Malocclusion (herd of maloccluders; casper in japan; henry, sugarpuff and dinky in the uk; sasha's miracle and more)

Continued on next page from Positive Results from Vitamin C and Calcium Supplementing:
*Sasha's Miracle and More

Continued on next page:
*The Red Print: Please Read First
*Dental Health (articles and photos, dental formula, facts and problem prevention, crossley articles)
*Malocclusion (defining; articles and photos; environmental factor- calcium deficiency, insufficient tooth wear, implementing changes to address calcium deficiency and malocclusion; symptom progression of malocclusion)

Continued on next page:
*Supplementing Vitamin C for Dental Health (articles, vitamin c sources)
*Supplementing Calcium to Correct Calcium Deficiency (calcium metabolism, moderate ca:no p calcium supplementing, articles, bladder stones in perspective, calcium sources)

(herd of maloccluders, casper in japan, henry, sugarpuff and dinky in the UK, sasha's miracle and more)

Also see these articles that have a direct bearing on this section: The Red Print: Please Read First,
Environmental Malocclusion: Calcium Deficiency, Calcium Metabolism and Moderate Ca:no P Calcium Supplementing

The articles in this section (with the exception of Sasha's Miracle) are from some of the other people who have experienced positive results with vitamin C and calcium supplementing. Quotes and dates derive from actual email correspondence, and all articles were reviewed and approved by the persons involved for posting on ChinCare.

Calcium deficiency is a cause of environmental malocclusion and malocclusion is NOT always a "death sentence," it may be reversible in the initial and mid stages with vitamin C and calcium supplementing among other things, see Implementing Changes and Positive Results. While only calcium deficient or pregnant/ nursing chins need calcium supplementing, EVERY chin should receive vitamin C supplementing because it strengthens the connective tissue around their open-rooted teeth.

Calcium supplementing in chinchillas can be beneficial because chins aren't like rabbits and guinea pigs, whose atypical calcium metabolism predisposes them to urine sludge and bladder stones. While vitamin C and calcium supplementing can improve some dental problems, they are not being suggested as a miracle cure-all for every type of dental problem. Chins that are NOT calcium deficient, including those who are maloccluded from causes other than calcium deficiency (genetic, accidental, environmental malocclusion from insufficient tooth wear), do not need and may not be helped by calcium supplementing.

Be advised that past care, age, general health, and the type and severity of the dental problem, including how long it's been neglected, will affect how the chin responds to any kind of treatment. For instance, it is much easier to correct calcium deficiency before malocclusion develops. As stated in ChinCare's disclaimer, there is no suggestion, advice or recommendation on this site that is intended to serve as or substitute for the expert diagnosis and treatment
of an exotics specialist vet.

Herd of Maloccluders Gets New Lease on Life

On May 7, 2007 we, the ChinCare webmasters, heard from a breeder, TW in Arkansas, about a herd of 37 chinchillas that had arrived at her place "at almost midnight on a Friday night (Friday the 13th [of April] to be exact), and they came in soaking wet and very stressed." Her first look at the bedraggled chins led TW to believe that they were wet solely from the leaking caused by having their water bottles left in with them during travelling. But drooling from advanced malocclusion can also make chins wet...

TW didn't get an opportunity to examine their health status until the next day: "Some were severely matted, which I was picking fist-sized mats out of their fur. I put one of them in a scruff hold to pick some out of her belly and she screamed... revealing teeth that curved back from the top and pierced the roof of her mouth! … I have been working for 2˝ weeks feeding cc [Critical Care] and crushed pellets to the worst of them, trying to keep them alive. I lost one already that was horribly matted up and the shock of the move and her teeth problems killed her... I have NEVER seen a case of malocclusion this bad... expecially not in these numbers…" (photos: 1, 2, 3)

Two of the 37 died before Matilde's Mission, a chinchilla charity that gives aid to both rescue and ranch chinchillas, got involved at our request. To help the remaining 35 chins, MM immediately sent calcium powder, Ca:no P in the form of Fluker's Repta-Calcium (with vitamin D (.doc) to aid calcium absorption), and 500mg chewable vitamin C tablets, which TW later ground into powder for easier consumption. MM also paid for the chins to be seen by DVM Leslie Block of South County Animal Hospital, an experienced exotics specialist vet.

Two vet appointments were set up to get all the chins in for examination, and the results as relayed by TW for the 5/16 and 5/18 appointments were: 6 chins had to be euthanized due to severe malocclusion, 8 had moderate malocclusion, 13 had mild malocclusion, and the rest were in the clear. TW reported that the chins were already beginning to show some improvement in their dental health as a result of better diet, which makes perfect sense because their photos, especially this one, clearly show malnutrition as the cause of their calcium deficiency (and dental disease). Incredibly, some of these chins had kits after arriving at TW's, it's just unconscionable to think that their previous owner was breeding them when they were in such poor health. All 21 treatable (moderate and mild) maloccluders were put on the Fluker's Repta-Calcium and vitamin C: "Upon returning home, I put the chins on a regimen of Fluker's Calcium powder and vitamin C tablets, crushed and mixed in with the pellets."

On July 15 we received good news from TW: "They did go to the vet [for follow-up], and Duncan (you remember how bad he was, he was moderate/severe) is VERY slight now!! Some of the others are totally CLEAR! The only one that didn't improve much is my Connor, and I'm working on him, and the brown velvet female, who WAS slight and is now moderate." And on August 20: "Yep, they [maloccluders] had final check and they are doing great but that brown velvet girl. She actually is looking quite a bit better too."

TW updated us again on November 14: "As the chins were being adopted out to pet homes, I got the slight/moderate chins rechecked again. Of those chins, ALL of them came back clear of malocclusion. I still have possession of one of the chins that was almost put down due to borderline severe malocclusion. About once a week he gets the pellets mixed with the calcium/vitamin C combination. As of his last vet visit he is still completely clear of maloclussion. It is my conclusion that the treatment of vitamin C and Fluker's Calcium powder cured the malocclusion and continues to keep it at bay. I have checked in with the adoptees who have had the chins at the vet since then, and all of the chins are still testing clear. One of the adoptees gives the calcium/vit C treatment mixed into the supplement daily, another adoptee gives it as I do, once a week mixed with the food. I have since started using this combination with my breeding females as well to help boost them after a litter."

On March 11, 2008, we got the final update on their condition almost a year after the herd of maloccluders had first arrived at TW's: "Update from all the adopters, all but one of the chins [brown velvet female] is doing great. The brown velvet female did die, the vet told the adopter that it was because of old age. He estimated her at around 25-30 years old! No wonder she was so grumpy! The one I kept is still doing great and still clear of malo [Duncan, in photo]. He's one of the top chins around here because he will lay on his back in my arms with his little feet in the air!"

Nippon Chinchilla Rescue in Japan: Casper's Story

In summer of 2007, Karen of Nippon Chinchilla Rescue approached us about our vitamin C and calcium supplementing regimen, for possible use with one of her chins. From 3/20/08 email: "Casper's dental issues started about 3 years ago, however, it wasn't a big concern then and [his molars and incisors] only needed filing every 4-6 months to make chewing easier for him. Then in July last year [2007] while I was checking him for hair-ring, I noticed his bottom incisors were odd, they were uneven shades from ivory to light yellow and were growing outwards in a form of 'V' with a gap in between. Luckily [the head] x-ray didn't show any misalignment or root overgrowth even though his jawline felt kind of bumpy/ jagged, but nevertheless I took the warning and trips to the vet became a routine."

Sensing that Casper's case was urgent, Karen began administering vitamin C and intensive calcium supplementing (which we define as supplementing from more than one calcium source or greater quantities from a single source) about the same time we began intensive calcium supplementing with some of our chins, as described in Sasha's Miracle. For calcium sources, Karen used Rep-Cal Ultrafine Calcium With Vitamin D3 (Ca:no P, for dusting pellets) and Coral Calcium Complex Liquid: "I did notice some darkening of the incisors on the 3rd week but it was on the 7th week that my vet noticed a shift; the incisors seemed to be growing back straight with the gap being smaller. It's been 8 months since I started him on the supplementation, I'm pleased to say that his teeth now [3/20/2008] are dark yellow and even, the lower part of the incisors have closed up, growing straight and neat, leaving just a small 'V' at the top."

Since the intensive calcium supplementing had improved Casper's condition, Karen decided to scale back to just moderate calcium supplementing, from a 3/27/08 email: "When his incisors started to grow straight with the gap closing up, and dental checks were like every 6 weeks instead of 4, I thought dusting pellets [alone] would be good enough and I stopped the liquid calcium. Everything was fine until 2 weeks ago, we discovered that his bottom left incisor was like starting to over-lap the right and was shaky. Yamada [DVM Tizuko Yamada] thought it was bad and asked that I keep an eye on it and come back 2 weeks later, which is today. I started him back on the liquid calcium with Vit C that night, so far he seems fine, and he even put on weight, funny eh?"

Sadly, on 3/29/08, on Casper's follow-up appointment, he had to have his left mandibular (lower) incisor extracted (photo of tooth and photo of mouth one month later). "When Yamada gave it a gentle shake, it was very loose and then it started to bleed profusely and smelt. She suspected an infection in the gums and that it was imperative to remove the incisor now before it gets really bad with complications, it would be a relief for him and we could eliminate the possibility of a root elongation from happening which would otherwise be more painful and threatening. But, there will be some swelling of the gums and bottom lips after and most likely an infection caused by food, foreign objects stuck in the deep open wound, not forgetting the stress and loss of appetite. It was a dilemma but what other choice do I have? I can see it hurts and probably has been for a while. It wasn't like that when I checked 2 days ago and he was still playfully climbing all over my back… Anyhow, he wasn't under full anesthetic, just the gums and it was fairly quick. 6 days of Baytril [antibiotic] and Metacam [painkiller] (thank God I've still some Bene-Bac [for gut upset] left), and x-ray on the 7th day."

It is important to realize that vitamin C and calcium supplementing can go a long way with helping various dental conditions like environmental malocclusion caused by calcium deficiency and loose or crooked (misaligned) teeth, but sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, like additional complications or perhaps the problem is already too advanced for a complete recovery to take place.

Casper also received a significant amount of grains during this period of his calcium supplementing, which is something we now caution against, and informed Karen of. The high phosphorus content of grains (.doc) raises phosphorus levels and that interferes with the effectiveness of calcium supplementing (ref). This would explain why Casper's improvements were sustained during intensive calcium supplementing, but not with moderate supplementing. At least Casper made some positive advances, and is in the care of a good rescuer and chinparent who doesn't hesitate to provide excellent veterinary care.

Henry, Sugarpuff and Dinky in the UK

After correspondence with Linda of Chinchillas2Home concerning our positive experiences with Ca:no P (calcium: no phosphorus) supplementing, she decided to give it a go with some chins from her rescue crew:

HENRY, 11/11/07
"Henry, this little chin I have, his bottom teeth are white and there is a gap in the middle of them, his top teeth have overgrown since I brought him home (not sure why! as he only had a block of wood for 6 months with the breeder to sit and chew on and I've loads of chewies in the cage now!). It may be that by coincidence, he just 'started' to show a teeth problem when I brought him home at 6 months old, he eats well but now has this front 'eating problem' with his teeth growing a bit long to bite anything- so he's off to the vets. I'm giving it two weeks first to see if he can gnaw them back (like one of my others did once a while ago when her teeth grew too long through illness) but if not, then that's the time I'll see the vet and see about calcium views!"

"When he first came home with me about 6 weeks ago, top teeth were very pale yellow, bottom were white and parted like the red sea, quite a gap in the middle that I was tempted to teach him how to whistle ;-) So straight away I started on the Ca:P 2:1 – he had this on his pellets everyday, then on the 3rd of November you emailed about ‘straight calcium’ [Ca:no P, which Linda used in the form of T-Rex 2:0] so I switched to straight calcium and he’s been on that for over 2 weeks. His top teeth were not overgrown when he came to live with me, but for no reason they started to grow and grow and grow! All the chew toys in the world wouldn’t stop them as he wasn’t interested but did like his hay, so, after 6 weeks I decided he needed to go to my vet."

"I did notice that the ‘new’ tooth growth started showing a more yellow colour– his top teeth went from new yellow to white at the ends (not orange yet but getting there hopefully!) She checked his teeth at the back, there was no indication of any problems at all, the front/back molars had slight spurs on but the vet said this was more likely because his front teeth had overgrown. There was no reason why his teeth should of overgrown, and all his teeth were fine– a little pale but fine, which was a relief as I know this short bodied gene [type of chin, not dwarf] can have problems." We explained, as the Moderate Ca:no P Calcium Supplementing article relates, that tooth overgrowth at first is normal and that it stops when teeth begin to darken, indicating improved calcium levels in the body.

"Well, Henry over-grew the teeth once again at the front, so another file down by the vet but this time he seems to be keeping them well and truly down ;-())) It's been 4 weeks since his last file down, and the vet says his teeth are fine at the back- not sure why he lets the front ones grow, but he is chewing a bit more (and the teeth look really nice and straight now). If you remember, he had a gap in the middle top and bottom front teeth, and they had a 'mind of their own' growing outwards at the top- well to look at them at the front they look really perfect and yellow now. I wish I had taken a before and after pic- but just over a few months there is a world of difference with his teeth- they are nice, neat and happy. I will keep with the calcium for another month gradually stopping and then see how he goes ;-)"

"Pity I didn't take photos- as Henry's teeth are no way like they were before- they are absolutely perfect now."

SUGARPUFF, 2/18/08
"Sugarpuff has a gap at the back where a tooth should be, and the tooth that should be there is 'side by side' with the end tooth at the back- very odd! Nothing could be done with that oddness, but did cause a problem with eating obviously, therefore, causing teeth to grow all over the place! She used to have to go to the vet's every 5 months- went on the 6th month this time, and the vet said she doesn't need anything doing! Teeth at back are fine- so i'll leave it for 9 months and see how she goes for that length of time. Her front teeth look really yellow and nice and very straight at the front- which is unusual for her as she always had one shorter than the other on the 5th month! (she was on Ca:P and then calcium [Ca:no P, T-Rex 2:0, like Henry] a couple or so months ago)."

Note by ChinCare: One benefit of using the T-Rex 2:0 for Ca:no P supplementing is that it contains ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, which strengthens the connective tissue around chins' open-rooted teeth. Together with the calcium that strengthens the teeth and stops overgrowth, the vitamin C undoubtably helps the teeth straighten by securing them more firmly in place.

DINKY, 2/18/08
"Dinky- she's fine- never had to go to the vet's to file her teeth, but she was the one with very overgrown front teeth aged 3 months and broke them down herself a month or two later. So [she] tends to cope with the front well herself, but they are not strong, they are white/yellow shades, and the bottom teeth cross over a little and one of them is thicker than the other. She is doing well, teeth need more work on the shape and growth of them, but she is very healthy and eats well- so will keep on with her as she will need this [Ca:no P, T-Rex 2:0, like Henry] for a long time yet!"

"She keeps them down- they tend to look broken down as they are never straight. They are never straight but they were all white at first- now they range from white to a good orange yellow on the teeth (at the moment she has one broken out at the bottom- probably a fall as she never usually loses a tooth!). I've enclosed a pic of how her teeth are at the moment- bottom left is missing, other overgrown a bit, top teeth ground down but there is an upside down 'V' in middle if you look- they grow all shapes and sizes! But at least they are now yellow at the top and getting a little yellow at the bottom ones (well one at the moment- the bottom ones are the ones that cross over a bit when grown)."