Keeping your Chinchilla Healthy

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Keeping your Chinchilla Healthy

General health care Common health problems Neutering General health care You can tell if your chinchilla is feeling poorly by their behaviour.  If you notice a change in their behaviour or if they are not eating and drinking this could be a sign that they are ill. Teeth – Chinchillas teeth should be checked to make sure they are not over grown or uneven. A healthy chinchillas teeth are yellow / orange coloured, not white!  White teeth can be a sign of vitamin deficiency.  Symptoms of teeth problems in chinchilla are loss of weight, difficulty eating, pawing at their mouth, drooling or weepy eyes. Your chinchilla will keep their teeth trim by chewing so make sure you provide plenty of hay for them which acts as roughage and gnawing toys to help wear their teeth down.  If your chinchilla does suffer from overgrown teeth make an appointment with your vet to have their teeth trimmed. Ears – Chinchillas ears are easy to check for potential health problems as they are so large.  When a chinchilla is feeling hot their ears become redder as they lose heat from their bodies through their fur.  Red ears can be a sign of heat stroke. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Nose - Your chinchillas nose shouldnt be crusty or runny.  Chinchillas can catch colds so a runny nose could be a sign of a cold or respiratory infection.  If you are concerned that your chinchilla is not recovering from their cold should contact your vet. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Eyes - Your chinchillas eyes should be bright and clear, with no signs of runniness, redness, swelling or soreness.   Some chinchillas can develop eye infections caused by dust from their dust baths and from and bedding that they kick about in their cage.  Eye gels are available to help treat this problem and you should contact your vet for anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatments.   Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Claws – Chinchillas have small thin claws which do not need trimming.  Regular exercise in their chinchilla wheel and exercise outside their cage should be enough to keep their claws short. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Skin, coat and tail - Loss of fur, inflamed skin or flakiness can be caused by allergies, fungal infections or mites. It is important to seek your vets advice to rule out other illnesses in case there is an underlying cause for your chinchillas poor skin and coat condition. Chinchillas are usually free of parasites, but occasionally they can suffer from mites.  Signs of mites are scratching, brown matter in the ears, bald patches on the coat and irritated broken skin.  Signs of a fungal infection are scabby sores, flaking skin and hair loss. Our qualified staff at Petstop are licensed to sell a full range of anti-parasitic and anti-fungal treatments, which you would normally find at your veterinary clinic. Chinchillas have extremely delicate coats and rough handling or stress can cause them to lose their fur (this is known as fur slip).  Hairless patches on your chinchilla can be an indication of over-grooming, which is a sign of boredom so ensure your chinchilla has plenty of toys to keep them occupied.  Visit Chinchillas As Pets to learn more about fur slip and how to handle your chinchilla Chinchillas need regular sand (or dust) baths to keep their coats healthy and free from grease. Your pet chinchilla should have a dust bath several times a week for about 20 minutes or so.  Remove the dust bath after your chinchilla has used it otherwise they will start to use it as a litter tray.  Metal or ceramic dust baths are available with suitable and safe dust for your chinchilla to use.  They adore their dust baths and are great fun to watch! Visit our Chinchilla products section for our range of dust baths and chinchilla grooming accessories Chinchillas can be aggressive with one another and if their skin, coat or tail are in bad condition you should check them all over for any signs of injury caused by squabbles or fighting.  Small bites should heal well but more serious injuries will require a vet’s assistance. Visit our Chinchilla Products section for a selection of Treatments for Mites Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Feet - Check the underside of your chinchillas feet regularly to make sure they are not sore, inflamed or have broken skin.  This will help you spot the early signs of bumblefoot which is caused by constantly walking over wire mesh. Bumblefoot is not a common ailment in chinchillas but it is something you should be aware of.  Preventative action can be taken by ensuring the floor of your chinchillas cage is solid and not made of wire. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. BackTo Top Common health problems Hair Rings - This is a problem that only affects male chinchillas and occurs when a ring of hair builds up around the base of the penis. If this happens it can constrict the blood supply, causing very severe problems, and you should take your chinchilla to your vet for treatment. Dietary deficiencies - Chinchillas can not digest foods that are high in fat or sugar properly and this can lead to liver damage or diabetes.  High fat foods like peanuts, sun flower seeds, beans or nuts should not be fed.  Nor should fresh fruit as this is high in sugar.  Only feed your chinchilla pellets that are chinchilla-specific and do not give honey based treats.   Call Vet Clinic at Petstop Visit our Chinchilla Feeding advice to learn more Bumblefoot – (pododermatitis).   Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection which commonly affects chinchillas. It is often caused by chinchillas walking on wire surfaces, which leads to inflammation on the underside of your chinchilla’s feet, soreness, pain and broken skin.   Symptoms are difficulty in walking, cries of pain, swollen feet and sores.  To avoid bumblefoot, remove the wire-mesh bottom from the pet’s cage. If your chinchilla has bumblefoot you should contact your vet for treatment. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop Heat stroke -   Chinchillas are very sensitive to high temperatures and can develop heat stroke very quickly as they can not sweat like humans. Ideally pet chinchillas should be kept at a room temperature between 15 – 20ºC.  In hot summers you can place a   granite cooling tile in your chinchilla cage for them to rest on.  Granite naturally maintains a temperature below that of the room and will help your chinchilla feel nice and cool.   Symptoms of heatstroke are laying motionless or appearing dead, feeling hot to the touch and red ears.  If you think your chinchilla has heatstroke slowly immerse their body in cold water and take them to the vet immediately. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop Diarrhea - Diarrhea can result from a number of infections or from excess fresh greens in their diet.  You should only feed them to your chinchilla in small amounts as a treat. If the diarrhea persists for 24 hours or more, take your chinchilla to your vet immediately. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop BackTo Top Neutering We recommend that you neuter your chinchilla.  Neutering obviously prevents unwanted litters if you have a male and female pair, but it also prevents aggressive and territorial behaviour, which both sexes can display after puberty. Neutering can be performed from 5-6 months of age in both sexes. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop BackTo Top