Keep Your Chinchilla Healthy

Find a veterinarian before you need one; this could save your pet’s life!
The first thing you need to do to keep your pet chinchilla healthy is to find a qualified chinchilla vet. Not all veterinarians will treat chinchillas and not all that will treat them know a lot about them so chose carefully. Find a veterinarian before you need one as well as a 24hr clinic that will see your pet. You do not want to be scrambling around trying to find one when you have an emergency.

What Goes in Must Come Out
Chinchilla droppings tell you a lot about the health of your pet. If there are no droppings, you have an emergency and a trip to the veterinarian is needed immediately- your pet likely has an obstruction in the digestive tract or the digestive tract as slowed/stopped in a condition known as GI stasis.

Hard, crumbly, and or small droppings are an indication of constipation.

Watery or soft droppings is an indication of diarrhea and can be caused by parasites among other things.

Droppings should not smell, be free of mucus and gas bubbles.

Normal droppings should be odorless, well formed and just slightly wet when fresh but dry relatively quickly. They should be dark in color and consistent in size and shape, the ends should be rounded and smooth. The normal color of chinchilla urine is dark amber to an orange/brownish color.

Food and Water Intake
Chinchillas drink relatively little, only about 1.5 oz per day. They eat about 2 TBL spoons of pellets per day as well as a small handful of hay. A decrease in food and or water intake is a sign your pet is sick. Chinchillas need food in their digestive tract at all times so get your pet to the vet as soon as possible to prevent more complications.

Heat Distress
Chinchillas are sensitive to the heat, after all they do have a built in fur coat, and must be kept at a comfortable temperature (under 75F). 80F can be fatal. If your pet is warm get to a vet immediately while cooling your pet slowly. If the temps go down too fast the chinchilla can go into shock. Heat distress is very serious. The best thing to do is to make all precautions to prevent heat distress such as having air conditioning. Chinchillas do not sweat, so a fan will not cool them like it does you and me.

Teeth Conditions
There are several teeth conditions chinchillas can develop.
Spurs
Uneven wearing
Overgrown incisors
Overgrown molars
Signs of teeth problems are drooling or wet chin and or chest, watery eyes, hard time eating, or weight loss.

Weight
The adult chinchilla weighs 1-2 pounds. Some are more chubby than others but in any case you should not be able to feel the bones. It is a good idea to weigh your chinchilla on a regular basis. You will want to find a digital kitchen or postal scale that weighs in grams (adults avg 500-900g). Weight loss is an indication that something wrong is going on with your pet. If your chinchilla is young, he or she should be gaining weight but chinchillas do grow at different rates so as long as he/she is gaining they should be okay. A little fluctuation in weight is normal but a sudden drop of 30g or more in an adult is a concern.

5 Comments

    • Hi Jocelyn, there a a few vets in the Chicago area listed on my Chinchilla Vet Directory page. It looks like the one in Westchester would be the closest to you. I do suggest to always ask questions before choosing a vet, how many chinchillas do they see, etc. Good luck!

  1. Hi Sara!
    I have always found your articles very helpful after adopting my little guy Max!
    I do have a question about chinchillas and rabbits.
    I recently got a bunny and although they are caged separately I see that people are very against rabbits and Chins even being in the same room. I should’ve realized sooner but the opinions online are so different and I just want my babies to be safe.
    What are your thoughts?
    Thanks!

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