~ contributed by Lori E
When I moved to Alabama five
years ago to get remarried, my 12 chinchillas made the trip with me.
They all seemed to like the South, and soon kits began arriving regularly.
As much as my husband loved the older chins, he really fell hard for
the kits! So we decided to keep them, and began to consider ways to
contain our chinchilla population. There really aren't a lot of options
in a situation like this, and at the advice of our vet, we began the
process of neutering our males.
At that time, I knew very little about this procedure, but we had
complete faith in our vet, and he felt that the surgery would carry
minimal risk. Many years later, having had over a dozen of our males
neutered, I would have to agree with him. All of the surgeries have
gone well, and recovery times have been quite rapid. Despite our positive
experience with this procedure, you need to be aware that there are
risks involved, as there is with any type of surgery.
Our chins have always tolerated the Isoflurane gas (used as anesthesia)
very well, but there's no guarantee that every chin will do so. You'll
also want to watch closely for signs of infection, and check the incisions
daily. Personally we haven't seen any problems with the incisions
healing, or the stitches not remaining intact, but you need to be
aware of the possibility. Also, the vet you choose (and his surgical
technique) are an important consideration here. According to my
vet, a chinchilla neuter is trickier that that of a cat or dog - it's
actually more similar to neutering a rabbit, since the inguinal canal
needs to be closed up. So, chances are your vet might want to do a
bit of research on this, if he/she hasn't done the procedure before.
I really haven't seen any significant behavioral or personality changes
in any of our males that have been neutered. The guys pretty much
seem the same - they may be a bit more sedate, but not shockingly
so. Life in the chin room is definitely more peaceful, as there's
no frantic mating activity going on. I think it's a common misconception
(so to speak) that neutering a male means that he will be castrated.
This is not so - two incisions are made on the abdomen, and the testes
are removed (the penis remains untouched). Consequently, I
don't feel that neutering a chin is cruel in any way that affects
Because I had no information to guide me, I had to wing it when figuring
out how to deal with the recovery period after surgery and how soon
to return the chin back to his home cage. I found that the incisions
healed in 7 to 10 days, and for that period of time, I kept the newly
neutered chin in a single level cage. Without exception, all of my
males slept a great deal for the first 2-3 days after surgery, and
then gradually returned to their normal level of activity. I applied
an ointment called Otobiotic twice a day to their sutures. After the
7-10 days of healing, I returned them to their home cage.
There were no problems with them being accepted back into their home
cage. All the other chins (both male
and female) in the home cage would come up to them and take an
obligatory sniff at the suture site, and that was extent of their
interest. I have 7 chin cages and all of them have accepted neutered
boys back without a problem. I have read on the Net of other folks
who've had a difficult time reintroducing their chins back into the
home cage - perhaps the recovering chins were held out of the home
cage for a lot longer time than 10 days. When you do decide to reintroduce
a chin back into his original cage after surgery, watch very carefully
so you can assess what the reception for him is going to be. If you
are considering neutering one of your chins, consider if the advantages
outweigh the risks involved. For us, it was a necessity, as the 30
chins we now currently have keep my hands full, especially as our
chin population begins to age. I'm very grateful that all our experiences
with neutering have been positive..........................................................