View Full Version : My Chipmunk has has MBD could she relapse?

02-18-2010, 08:38 PM
Hi this could be a long post so apologies. I will write it in several posts, please bear with me. My Chipmunk Pearl had MBD is 2008 but seems ok now. It was a long road to recovery. At the time i didn't know what she had. I posted on a Chipmunk forum and was told to check out Metabolic Bone Disease on The Squirrel Board. I didn't post on here but followed the advice. . We bought her in September 2008 she was 3 1/2 years old. Her owners were moving abroad to the U.S. and couldn't take her or Abigail with them. We was told that Pearl was the shy one and Abi (called Fudge at the time) was bold but i found that Abigail was nervous and Pearl was friendly. Eventually Abigail became friendly after a few weeks of hand feeding her nuts. They both lived outside before i had them. When i first brought them home i had them inside.

To give you a better idea i'll post what i said to the chipmunk board. This was the 18th October 2008

'I am abit worried about Pearl, as earlier when i went to clean her cage she wasn't out and it wasn't until i went to take their digging container out of their cage that i noticed her, she was lying in there and i really thought she was dead at first as she didn't look right and when i felt her she was icy cold and the eye i could see was tightly closed making her look even more like she was dead. But it wasn't until i looked more closely and picked her out of the cage that i saw one eye was open but the other one was still tightly closed. I held her for awhile and noticed that she was breathing but i knew something wasn't right the fact that she was allowing me to hold her and not trying to escape. I held her for awhilein my hands and then placed her on my lap, she opened the other eye and started to slowly move around but rather shakily on her legs and for about half an hour she was still awake but not moving a lot but gradually she started to move around more and at one point nearly climbed up the chair. I placed her back in her cage, now she was trying to get out of my hands. Once in the cage though she became a bit subdued again and went in the box. I realised i wouldn't be able to keep an eye on her in the nest box where Abigail was sleeping. Pearl came out and i placed her in the travel carrier with some soft hay and some kitchen paper to line the bottom, at first she was jumping to get out but quickly settled down , ate somethiing, started shredding the paper and then she went to sleep. I placed the carrier near the radiator to try and warm her a bit. She is more active now so i've just put her back in the cage, hopefully she will be alright now. She has had some water to drink and as i am writing this i can see her moving about. It's amazing to see her almost normal as earlier about 7 she really looked in a bad way and i feared the worst. I don't know what happened. My dad said about hibernation and i said well she is used to hiberating in her old home but she has no need here as the temperature was the right temperature, it didn't seem cold enough, the symptons she was showing those fitted with hiberation, i think her heart rate was slower and she had slow movement. I've never had a chipmunk hiberate before and i can say that the day before she was fine, she was active and looked well. I think we may have had a hamster hibernate once, who again was inside the house and i moved it to some warmth and it became active again. Another thought was she might have had an accident and gone into shock which could have explained her skaky movements. I had a white chipmunk once who fell off the top shelve and i think went into shock, similarly to Pearl, Creamie looked almost dead but at a closer look was breathing so i placed her in a travel carrier and watched her, it took awhile but she slowly became active again, and like with Pearl i thought it was a miracle as it looked bad. I think she did get brain damage as she no longer could run around the cage, she just walked around and used all the mesh to get around instead of jumping from one side to the other. We thought she would always be brain damaged but about a year or so later one day she became fully active again and could run around, climb normally and jump, again another miracle. I guess i will never know what happened to Creamie or what has happened yesteday with pearl. I just hope she will recover and it will not happen again.I wonder if it could have been hibernation. Does anyone have any ideas? as we are at a loss to an explanation to Pearl's miraculous recovery.'

02-18-2010, 08:43 PM
My next post was 19th October 08
'Hi thanks very much for your replies. When i got up today Pearl wasn't around and i was a bit worried, but not long before i left to go to southend, she appeared and eat some food, had water and was moving normally and everything so i felt a bit relieved but now i'm worried again after reading your replies. I don't really know about metabolic bone disease, i don't remember it being mentioned in any of my chipmunk books so its new to me. Doghouse i will have a look at what you wrote on the calcium rich food post to see if i can find out more information.

The diet i feed all my chipmunks is mainly chipmunk food with some hamster food which has dried fruit in it. Once a week i mix this in with the chipmunk food. The chipmunk food i feed every other day. As well as that they get fruit, salad food such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and some vegetables, usually a bit of what i'm eating. They get different types of nuts. I have cuttlefish bones in the cages and they also get fed every so often hamster nut and fruit sticks. Up to now i've never had a problem with any of my chipmunk's diet, but Pearl wasn't originally my chipmunk, i've only had her about a month so i don't know much about her original diet, only that she was fed hamster food (which was given to me by her existing owner) I've wrote more about what my chipmunks are eating in calcuim rich foods.

About vets, there did used to be a vet near where i lived that specialised in chipmunks but i don't know if they are still there as it was years ago i went there, it was with chip my very first chipmunk female who i had mistaken as being pregnant. I'll see if i can find out. Other than that the vet my cats go to is pet's at home vet, which i'm not sure they deal with chipmunks, they should do as they used to sell them, that was several years ago now. The vet may see a chipmunk to be a cheap pet but to me she's a part of my family, loved like my other chipmunks, cats and family and i don't want anything bad to happen to her if it can be prevented. I will have a talk with my dad and grandparents (as i'm at their house at the moment) about metabolic bone disease and see what they say. I'll mention about the vet and see what i can do, i'm not what their opening hours are the vet i first mentioned but the pets at home one is open until the evening which may be easier, but i'll try and look into it.

Doghouse, you mentioned that your boy chippie would sleep along time and i have to say that Peal does that too, since i've had her she doesn't come out like the other four but i had put that down to her not being very happy in the cage but now i don't know. My other four are active almost all day, from morning until evening and then they all get up several times during the night, all except Asriel who sleeps right through the night getting up 7am. Pearl is never usually up early in the morning and not always when i get home in the afternoon, She is more likely out late evening and then she may come out several times that evening/night but doesn't remain out long, just has something quickly to eat, has some water and has a quick wander around the cage then goes back into her box. When she is out if i go over to the cage, she comes over for some nuts and is very friendly.

I'll let you know how she gets on.

02-18-2010, 08:46 PM
Next post 20th October 2008
'Hi, an update, after posting last night and looking through topics on this forum i found the topic 'poorly chipmunk' and then clicked on the squirrel board link - metabolic bone disease symptoms that doghouse previously posted and read through the whole of that topic so i now understand more about MBD, this has helped greatly. It talks about different foods that are good in calcuim but i don't have that much at the moment. Pearl wasn't around when i got up but she appeared later after i shined a torch in the nest box so i could look at her, this also made Abigail come out too. I then picked Pearl up, she resisted a bit and placed her in the pet carrier for a bit and then i got an old hamster cage out of the garage, cleaned it and put her in it. I read in the squirrel board post that chipmunks with MBD are more prone to accidents and movement should be restricted as much as possible. The cage is the largest hamster one i have, with three levels and she seems happy enough in there, she's not going mad or anything like a chipmunk normally would in that sort of space, she is calmly walking around up the ladders and climbing up the bars. As for food, i have started her on a calcuim and vit D diet, i gave her a large slice of apple with the peel on and a piece of cucumber and cheese. She has eaten quite a bit of this, i have hand fed it to her to tempt her more to eat. I also gave her a small amount of chipmunk food with all the nuts and sunflower seeds removed. I gave her a new cuttlefish bone. I have also decided to give Abigail the same diet too, just in case she also develops the disease at a later date. And also decided to give all my chipmunks some apple too.

I was surprised that she never eats the cuttlefish, neither does Abigail but my other three all do every so often, they seem to know when to have some. Every so often i sprinkle some of the cuttlefish into all their food bowls just to make extra sure they get enough. Today i sprinkled some in the food i gave Pearl and mixed it in so she can't see it, hopefully she will eat the food with it in.

As we don't have much suitable food in the house at the moment, tomorrow i'm going to get her some oranges and some grapes aswell as some yogurt, i plan to mix the yogurt with a calcuim supplement i will try and get from pets at home, i will have a look for esbilac puppy formula too to also mix with the yogurt. It mentions on the squirrel board post about changing the chipmunk food to Kaylee forti-diet food for rats and mice but as that is more an american site i'm not sure it will be available here. Also on there it mentions about a full spectrum light you can get from the reptile section of the pet store, we will try and see if we can get one of these, we can put above all our chipmunk cages as they don't get much natural sunlight, except when it shines directly through the patio doors. It says that they should get at least an hour of sunlight a day, either natural of from a full spectrum light.'

02-18-2010, 08:48 PM
Next post 21st October 2008
'Hi Doghouse and Gilly, sorry for the very late reply, i've spend the evening looking through all my chipmunk books to try and see if i have missed anything, i couldn't mind anything in any of the books about MBD, it did mention about calcuim supplements, mineral blocks and cuttlefish bones. I haven't ruled out the vet, i just wanted to make sure the main priority was changing the diet as if it is MBD this seems the most important and then see if there is any improvement, if not then we will need to most likely take her, i am a bit worried through that they may want to sedate her to take samples of bone marrow possibly and as she's not well what if she doesn't wake up. If they could take a blood test or something then thats ok as she wouldn't need to be put under anathetic. Think i've found our old vet and they are open in the evening so that is good if she needs to go as then my dad is available from work to take us as he is the only one who drives, also i'm not home until 16.30. It may mean my dad would have to leave work an hour or so earlier but i'm sure that will be ok. The vet deals with exotics as well as your usual cats and dogs.

As for today, i fed Pearl some orange segments and grapes aswell as a bit of lettuce. I gave some grapes to all the chipmunks also. She still isn't very active, she only comes out for a few minutes to eat and then goes back to sleep and while she is awake she is blinking her eyes making her look tired. We haven't seen her drink any water which we are quite worried about, i gave her water in a bottle which doesn't look like she's touched it and to try and encourage her more put some in a bowl, she put her nose in it and sneezed, i think the water went up her nose but she didn't drink. I tried offering her some on a spoon but again no interest. We know that she will be getting some water out of the fruit we are giving her but still want her to drink as it is probably not enough. If she doesn't drink soon she will probably need to see the vet for this reason. I will see how she is tomorrow, hopefully she would have drunk something, i would think if she is really thirsty she will. I'll write another update tomorrow as tired now and i'm supposed to be up at 8 but although late i felt i had to come on here to see if there was any replies.'

02-18-2010, 08:51 PM
Next post 23rd October 2008
'Just a quick post, i phoned the vet early this morning and got an appointment for that evening. The vet gave her a good check over, she weighted her, she said she was a bit overweight for a chipmunk but not fat. She checked her for lumps, found nothing. She looked at her eyes and teeth, all was fine there. She then checked her heartbeat and said it was normal. I told her about Pearl not drinking water but she didn't think that was much of a worry as shes getting the water she needs out of the fruit shes been getting. She said she couldn't find anything to worry about. I mentioned about friday could it have been a possible seizure, she said yes possibly but without taking Pearl in for blood tests and sedating her she couldn't know for sure. She said it could just be a lack of calcuim and gave us a supplement to sprinkle on her food, she also told me to give it to Abigail too, she advised me to put the two back together as if they get on well its best not to separate too long. She said first we should try the supplement and see if Pearl perks up more but she thinks she may possibly just be a chipmunk who isn't that active and this could be due to her weight, she can't much be bothered. She said though if Pearl does go like she did on friday then she will have to be brought in to the surgery and undertake tests as it could then be an epiletic fit. So our advise is to try her with the supplement see how she goes and unless she gets worse just leave her, hopefully she will start to improve soon, fingers crossed. At least now i feel reassured that there is nothing seriously wrong with her.'

02-18-2010, 08:53 PM
Next posts 26th October 08

'Thanks Doghouse for your advise, i already have branches and shelves in the cage, one low shelf and one higher shelf, they have a rope to climb up and a tunnel to run through, plus they also have a wheel, they have a digging container and various wooden toys to chew on and a cuttlefish bone.

Sadly, i found Pearl near death again yesterday (friday) about 17.30 when i went to feed them. She was just on the floor near the corner and was icy cold, had her eyes closed and slow heartbeat. Nate, i was going to take your advise about putting hay on the floor, i was going to do it later that evening but unfortunately hadn't got round to it. I immediately removed Pearl and put her near the fire to warm her, she slowly came round again and began walking slowly but shakily. In the evening she came out a few times and had something to eat, she's not been out much today but has been eating. I'm giving her the calcuim supplements and today went to pets at home on the way to southend and got some dandelion leaves and some salt and minerals - one fruit and the other parsley and also some dried mealworms. This is the second time she has been like this now and i just don't know what to do but because its happened twice i don't think it is a fall, were starting to wonder if she is older than we thought, just don't know. I don't feel much hope.'

'The vet said that the only way i could diagnose a seizure would be to take her in for tests, a blood test was mentioned but of course Pearl would have to be sedated. I'm pleased to hear that i'm giving her the right diet and environment as i don't want to make her condition any worse. Erm do you know what happens when a chipmunk has a seizure as i haven't really heard of seizures in chipmunks but i would imagine it wouldn't be nice to see, quite distressing. There's probably other things it could be, the vet mentioned a possible brain tumor too but again she would need tests. I wish there was a definate answer so i at least knew what was wrong with her, theres not much info on the internet about chipmunk health so i'm finding it difficult to find out something. Think i may add something about chipmunk health problems on my own website.'

02-18-2010, 08:57 PM
Next post 27th October 08
'Things have now got worse as my prized Bengal cat is also sick, don't think something serious thank god but it is a worry as she is now middle aged and on top of Pearl being sick i could really do without her being ill. But some good news - Pearl has been fine today, moved around a bit still not loads but she is active at times, she has also been eating well and going to the toilet. I have decided to keep a record of when she has the seizures, my dad thought of it and grandad said that it would be a good idea as then we can see if there is a pattern to them and if they get more frequent or less frequent. Then we also have something to show the vet which might then give more idea as to what is wrong. Doghouse, i haven't seen Pearl shivering, when i find her after a suspected seizure she seems to be unconcious i think as she has her eyes closed. I found a video of a chipmunk said to be having a seizure and it was sort of jumping and doing somersaults (wasn't very nice to see). Maybe seizures vary in chipmunks, some may have more extreme ones and some more minor. Meningitis the same as what humans get? Thanks both of you for all your help, i just have to hope with time she will get better, as i don't think she will get better quickly it could take time, depends how long she has had it. I'll be careful what i say as i don't want to jinx anything.'

02-18-2010, 09:02 PM
Next posts 4th November 08

'Hi as many of you know Pearl one of my chipmunks is poorly and the vet found nothing wrong with her, i'm trying everything to make her better but just as she makes progress it all goes wrong again. I've owned chipmunks for eleven years and never had a problem with them, apart from one who had to be rehomed because of bullying but lately its all going wrong.Pearl isn't making great progress, just as i think she is she gets badly ill again. I took your advise Nate and covered the floor in hay incase she fell and hurt herself, i tried a hot water bottle but it didn't stay warm long enough and i've moved the cages around so that Pearl is away from the drafts from the back doors, we have a thermitor to keep an eye on the temperature by the cages and it hasn't droped below 19 so don't think it can be cold enough to cause her illness, anyway she was used to the cold at her previous home. I now suspect seizures as the main cause, she can be fine in the morning then i get home in the afternoon and find her in a bad way again, short time frame for something to happen. I'm keeping a log of when they occur, how she is when i find her and how long before she is normal again. So far she has had four i think - first was friday 17th oct, second friday 24th oct, third thursday 30th oct and now today tuesday 4 nov. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to it but everytime it is the same symptoms - Pearl is cold, lifeless, unconscious and once i warm her up in front of the fire and place her on the carpet, she walks shaky at first and then walks normal and once placed in the cage starts climbing and moving normally and eating fine. Recovery time varies from today it was about 10 minutes, other times it has been half an hour with last thursday about 40 minutes. At least she seems happy and gets on good with her cagemate Abi and eats well. She is moving around the cage more which will help her lose weight at least, she weights 149 g (that is quite abit overweight). It takes me about 10 minutes t sort out her food now to try and make sure she isn't eating fat foods and that she is getting fruit and extra calcuim. Finding Pearl like that was abit of a shock today particularly as i had a bad day at work and tomorrow have to take my cat into the vet surgery to have a tooth out, at least the vet can help her, she knew straight away what was wrong unlike with the chipmunk, which was said to be fine.

Hope everyone else's chipmunks are well and happy. '

'Hi Chris, thanks for your message. Pearl is not a very active chipmunk, my other four act perfectly normal, they get up early in the morning, stay up the whole day until evening and then go to bed and often get up several times during the night. Pearl only seems to come out for about 10-15 minutes at a time sometimes up to half an hour and she seems to have become more nocturnal being more active late evening and night, it varies day to day, she don't move about as much as the others. As i'm not around i have an idea that i could set up a video camera pointing at her cage all day to see exactly what she gets up to when i'm not around, we did this when we had a chipmunk escape under the floorboards, every day we set up a camera and he would come up every morning before my dad got up for work and me and my sister for school (this was about 7 years ago i think) we used to enjoy watching the recording every evening just to see he was still well. So thought it would be a good idea for Pearl. I feel this is going to be the only way we will know for sure what is happening, i only ever find her after the 'seizure' has taken place so don't know events leading up to it, whether her behaviour changes and exactly how long it lasts and how bad it is. I think your right if we could give the vet more information about what happens to her before the event she could probably help more (my vet is specialised in exotics). '

02-18-2010, 09:06 PM
Next post 24th November 08
'I actually took the next day off work and although watched Pearl nothing happened (seizure wise) which was good, behaviour was normal. Julius - hi, the idea about the sock with rice is a good one, i tried a water bottle as you mentioned but found it didn't stay warm for long. What would you do with the sock, just put it in the nest box with the chippies? i put the water bottle under the cage. To answer your question yes a chipmunk can have too much calcium which can be bad like too little, my chipmunk though had not enough. Pearl has been quite active today which has been good but she still doesn't come out for long periods and seems to choice evening. Unfortunately although Pearl is getting plenty of fruit (oranges, grapes, blackberries, apples and figs) and now has access to a full spectrum light 12 hours a day (light we purchased about 2 weeks ago from pets at home when we picked up our cat from the vet, its a reptile one called Repti-Glo) she seems to be getting worse, as in the seizures are more frequent. She has had 3 seizures since i last posted, last one on tuesday. Symptoms are always the same, she appears to be cold, unconscious, heart-rate is reduced. Once put in front of the fire she warms up, wakes up and then starts moving about, then behaves normal until the next one. '

02-18-2010, 09:08 PM
Next post 24th January 2009

'Hi everyone, Good news about Pearl my dilute female she is doing well, she is now out of the danger zone i think, she is eating well and drinking abit now and is much more active but still not as much as the others but i doubt she ever will be as active as the others. She has done well with losing the weight, when the vet weighed her she was nearly 150g, now she weighs just over a 100. I have now started giving her all the seeds in the normal chipmunk food as well as the fruit which she still has the medicine from the vet mixed in, she don't seem to eat much chipmunk food but hoards alot, she prefers the fruit. She is given much less Chipmunk food than before which will hopefully stop her getting overweight again. And good news is she hasn't had a seizure for 2 months now. She now lives with Asriel and they get on fine as Abigail atacked her, there didn't seem to be any reason.'

02-18-2010, 09:16 PM
Next post 20th March 2009

'Since her illness before christmas she has grown fur on the bald patches and is now a more normal 108g, she also seems to have a lot more strength in her back legs, they look less skinny now. She must be a fighter because otherwise she wouldn't have made it through the months of seizures and weakness she had before christmas. '


02-18-2010, 09:20 PM
Next post 16th May 2009

'Hi Nate and Grasshopper, sorry i've taken so long to reply i have been replying to someone on the TSB about MDB, plus updating MDB on my website as i wanted to make sure people get as much information as possible about the disease and about Pearl's ordeal with the disease, thankfully she is getting better all the time I've included a pic of her, she is sitting on the bowl'

02-18-2010, 11:21 PM
She seems to have been fine since November 2008 apart from one scare beginning of Jan 2010 where she went cold and lethargic again, just for one day she's fine now. Our heating broke that day and i think she just got too cold (the room was like a fridge) so i moved her in my room where its hot and she became active again. The heating was hot upstairs but there was no heat downstairs caused by a blocked system, it was very unpleasant but has been fixed now.

She is mainly an outdoor Chipmunk since we had our aviary built summer 2009 but came inside in the autumn as i was worried about her in the cold. She eats cuttlefish regularly herself off a cuttle bone and also gets it once a week grated onto her food. She has a fruit Mineral block but doesn't eat that as much. She was eating yoghurt Petis Filous but is not so keen on it now. She eats lots of fruits, clementines, mandarins, apple, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, cucumber, honeydew melon, dragon fruit, papara are all examples. We try to give variety she seems to like fruit. She eats mealworms for protein and bits of cooked chicken. What none of my Chipmunks like are vegetables, should they be eating more vegetables and how could i get them to eat them? They do like corn on the cob and peas but don't like carrots. She is less active then my others apart from Hazel who is my old Chippie who is also inside, she tends to be more active at night and will come out several times in the night now she's indoors. When she was in the aviary she didn't come out the sleeping house at night. She does come out during the day but not much. Because she's not out much in the day she doesn't see alot of the Full Spectrum Light we have. When she was in the aviary she liked to sunbathe and maybe the reason she don't come out of her box much indoors is cause she'd rather be back in the aviary but she'd be disappointed at the moment as there is no sun just rain all the time or snow/ice. My other Chipmunks are still active in all weathers. She eats fine and drinks alot. She goes to the toilet fine. She climbs well and can move quick so all seems normal there. I will weigh her tomorrow. I have just got some Calcium and Vitamin D tablets from Tesco, the Calcium is Calcium Carbonate. Will these be ok if crushed up and put in her drinking water or mixed with peanut butter once a week?

Thanks if you have read this topic as it was very long and i thank you very much.

I will post a few videos so you can see what she was like when she was ill. The videos were in October 08. I've never posted videos before so not sure it will work but i will try.

http://i677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/th_S1053833.jpg (http://s677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/?action=view&current=S1053833.flv)

http://i677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/th_S1053850.jpg (http://s677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/?action=view&current=S1053850.flv)

http://i677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/th_S1053851.jpg (http://s677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/?action=view&current=S1053851.flv)

http://i677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/th_S1053855.jpg (http://s677.photobucket.com/albums/vv139/chirpiechipmunkz/?action=view&current=S1053855.flv)

02-19-2010, 05:24 PM
Some recent pics of Pearl

First pic is taken today 19th February 2010


Second picture Monday 15th February 2010


By the way i made a mistake with the topic title it should have said:

My Chipmunk has had MBD could she relapse?

02-19-2010, 07:23 PM
I weighed Pearl today and she is 110g. She has eaten some tomato and Papaya today.

My male Asriel lately has been leaving his fruit but looks healthy. All the others eat theirs fine. He is at the front of the pic.


02-20-2010, 03:54 PM
I don't have any chippie experience, but with all of these small critters, MBD is always a major concern. I hope others with experience with reply. All your babies are beautiful, btw!

psychotic feather
02-21-2010, 02:59 AM
That is the biggest chipmunk I have ever seen :sanp3

02-21-2010, 05:36 PM
Hi, thanks for your replys.

Yes she is a big Chipmunk. When i bought her september 2008 she weighed 149g and we put her on a diet we cut out most of the hard foods and gave her more fruit and she lost some weight but then put it back on again in the aviary so there was a few setbacks but she now weighs 110g so is in more of an acceptable weight for a Chippie. I am glad she's not fat as before she could hardly climb, she climbs very well now and can run fast. She looks much healther. She does have a high calcium need and this has just increased. I have heard that one reason for a higher calcium need could be pregnancy. Is there any other possible reason for a high calcium requirement.


psychotic feather
02-21-2010, 06:32 PM
maybe old age:thinking
ahrlan eats his cuttle bones twice as fast these days
usually when i first got him he would nibble it maybe once or twice a month
now he acts like its his favorite thing in the world