Common Chinchillas Health Problems:

Common Health Problems:

Diarrhea/ Runny poo
Symptoms:
-Soft, sticky, squishy droppings. They may smell. In severe cases it can be runny.

Summary of Causes:
– Sudden switch in food, hay or water.
– Stress, such as moving to a new home/environment.
– Stress from being pregnant or lactating can also cause diarrhea.
– Giardia or other parasitic infestations such as Coccidia (see vet immediately if you suspect either)
– Algae in drinking water
– Too many treats
– Damp or moldy hay
– Ingesting non food items

Summary of Cures:
– Plain Shredded Wheat (no frosting) can be given in small amounts.
– Burnt toast: Must be BURNT black. The charcoal from the burnt part will help clear the digestive tract.
– Children’s Kaopectate: Can be give in small amounts. Let the chin lick it off the end of a spoon or right off the tube to relieve symptoms
– Activated charcoal (pour powdered capsule onto a raisin)

Teeth
The normal color of a chinchilla’s teeth should be dark orange. If the teeth are chalky, yellow or white this is a sign of calcium deficiency. In this case, a calcium supplement could be used and the chinchillas diet should be reviewed. Using a good quality pellet should NOT result in a calcium deficiency. Vitamin C is also a important part of a chinchilla’s tooth heath, it keeps the gums and connected tissue healthy so the teeth stay strongly aligned. The chinchillas teeth are not imbedded in bone like most animals. They are free floating are connected in the socket with connective tissue.

Cures:
– Tums/calcium corbonate tablets (¼ tablet)
– Calf manna
– Rosehips (vitamin C)
– vitamin C tablet

Constipation
Symptoms:
– Small, hard, crumbly droppings that are thin and pointy; they may smell and be infrequent. A normal chin pretty much poops non-stop. 4 or 5 smooth, firm poops in a pile while sitting a moment or two is normal. Normal poop is not sticky and has rounded ends.

Causes:
– Lack of hydration
– Dehydration
– improper diet
– too many treats
– not enough exercise
– disruptive lifestyle
– hairball

Cures:
– proper diet
– unsweetened apple juice or cranberry in water to encourage drinking
– cut back on treats
– move chin to a quieter place
– in the case of hairballs give dried papaya, or some fresh juice in their water
– exercise
– children’s pediatric electrolyte (available at drug stores)
– papaya chunks dehydrated
– gas-x to relieve bloat or discomfort

Fungus
Symptoms:
Patches of missing fur with dry flaky skin, red and irritated. Usually first signs visible on nose and tail.

Causes:
The skin fungus that usually afflicts the chinchilla is a strain of ringworm, also found on dogs and cats, and many other animals including humans Spores are airborne and can be transferred also through hands, chinchilla to chinchilla and through sharing sand baths. It thrives best in dark moist, poorly ventilated conditions and can also be brought in with new animals and moldy hay It can be transferred to humans so if possible use gloves and/or Q-tips for application of medications
Cures:
Cure is relatively easy a long as it is properly treated. Finding the source of the problem is important to insure that once the animals themselves are cured, the cause is also eliminated. Run through a basic checklist:
– Clean cages
– Humidity at or below 50%
– Air circulation is good
– Good lighting during daylight hours
Treatments:
– Medicated athletes foot powder added to the sand bath (about a tablespoon)
– Fungicides that can come in either a cream or liquid form (liquid not recommended for use around the eyes)
– Athletes foot powder can be applied directly to affected area with a makeup brush
– Be sure to apply powder or cream on the affected area and the surrounding area of approximately 1cm

Remember all cages need to be disinfected, even those without infected chinchillas that are in the same room, the spores are airborne.
Treatment must be applied everyday for at least five days.
Wash hands after every animal.

Bloat
Symptoms:
– Lying on side often.
– Discomfort or squealing when picked up.
– Tight “full” stomache/midsection.
– Small poos, signs of constipation.

Causes:
– Bad hay/feed
– Too many treats
– Ate something they shouldn’t have (ie. plastic, too much wood, plaster)
– A side effect from a more serious problem like constipation, parasites, etc.

Cures:
– Allow extra exercise
– 1/4 brand name Gas-x tablet (simethicone)
– May need stronger meds if it lasts longer than a day. Could be a blockage in the intestines.

Keeping warm chins cool
Symptoms:
Bright ears, panting, lying on side, lethargic.

Cures:
– A floor/wall tile placed in the fridge or freezer then place in chins cage.
– Fans do not cool chinchillas, they simply move air around, and with their thick coats their body temperature is not affected.
Cool the actual temperature in the room, not what it feels like to you.

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