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Illnesses and Injuries in Chinchillas
Chinchillas do a good job at hiding their illnesses and injuries, they’re prey animals. If your Chinchilla needs medical care, a veterinarian acquainted in Chinchilla care is required. If you notice your Chinchilla acting drowsy, having a change in appetite, or having discharge from the eyes or nose, you should get your Chinchilla to the vet ASAP. Hand-feeding is often necessary when dealing with a sick or injured Chinchilla. It’s common for a Chinchilla who is sick or injured to become anorexic. Becoming anorexic will lead to even more problems. Once a Chinchilla goes of its feed, it’s necessary to begin hand-feeding.
A first-aid kit is good to have for minor injuries and ailments. It’s a good idea to be prepared for a more serious illness by having all of the basic supplies early. You should have Blu-kote, which is a cleaning spray/liquid that can be used on fungus and wounds. You’ll need Oxbow Critical Care, which is for hand feeding. Next, you’ll need Life Line, a great supplement for sick/injured Chinchillas. You will need Syringes, both large and small for hand feeding and managing medication. Then, you’ll need Vitamin E Oil and/or Bag Balm for dry skin. You’ll also need Acidophilus, for maintenance of good bacteria of the digestive tract. Last, you will need Kaolin-pectin, treatment of stress induced diarrhea.
If your Chinchilla stops eating on their own, it’s necessary to hand feed them. Chinchillas unfortunately commonly go anorexic if they’re sick, injured, or taking medication. Oral Baytril is infamous for causing Chinchillas to stop eating. Place your Chinchilla in a carrier and lay down paper towels if you’re unsure if your Chinchilla is eating. Observe your Chinchilla to see if any stools are produced. If no stools or small, hard poops are created, than it may be a sign that they have gone of their feed. The best food replacement for Chinchillas is Oxbow Critical Care. Critical care comes in primitive and apple banana flavors. You can get critical care from a vet that supplies Oxbow products. It comes in a powder form and it’s mixed with water to become a paste or liquid consistency. It’s good to have it on hand in case an emergency should emerge. Then, you’re prepared and time isn’t wasted if something does happen to your Chinchilla and it refuses to eat.
If a Chinchilla doesn’t eat, it can go into GI Stasis. GI Stasis is where the digestive system shuts down. The Chinchilla must constantly have food moving through its system or it will begin to shut down. That’s why hand feeding is so critical if a Chinchilla stops eating. To hand feed a Chinchilla or manage antibiotics, it’s a good idea to wrap him up in a towel or a blanket. It’s called the burrito method. You wrap the Chinchilla up securely, but not too tight. Make sure to wrap the legs. Hold firmly, but not enough to injure the Chinchilla. After being wrapped up, the Chinchilla will usually calm down.
A syringe can be used to hand feed or to give medication. Place the syringe in the side of the mouth, behind the front incisors, and squirt only a small amount of liquid in at a time. Keep in mind not to give too much, the Chinchilla can aspirate.
Fungus is caused if Chinchillas are kept in environments with high humidity. It makes them delicate to ringworm. If can also occur if a Chinchilla gets wet and isn’t dried thoroughly. It’s highly contagious so it can easily be transferred from other Chinchillas, animals, or people. They lose their fur, they get itchy, they get dry, and they get red and/or scaly skin. You must see a vet. The vet can do a skin scrape and test for the area for fungal spores. If you’re fine with treating the fungus yourself, you can follow the treatment guideline. If the treatment doesn’t seem to be working, definitely consult a vet. To treat yourself, add Tinactin powder to the dust bath. Add about one heaping spoon to a cup of dust. Apply Blu-kote to the affected area. Sanitize the cage and anything else with bleach. Throw away any wood since it’s porous and hard to sanitize. Continue the treatment for at least six weeks or until the vet says. Be sure the Chinchilla is fungus free before allowing contact to others.
You can prevent by keeping the cage clean. Be sure the Chinchilla isn’t in a humid environment. Keep the Chinchilla from getting wet. Keep any effected Chinchillas away from others and be sure to isolate new Chinchillas for at least thirty days. Fungus is extremely contagious, but not deadly. It can be difficult to get rid of. When treating the fungal infection, being persistent is key. It’s important to practice safe hygiene because the ringworm can be transferred to you. Fungus in Chinchillas is most common around the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
Chinchillas get eye infections from irritation in the eye, bacteria, or a virus. You will know if you see wet fur around the eye, watery eyes, red/irritated eyelids, swollen eyelids, or goop coming from the eyes. You should definitely see a vet! It’s a good idea to have the vet test their eye with a dye solution to make sure the cornea has not been scratched. You can treat it by giving them eye drops or applying gel to the effected eye(s). You can also be prescribed an oral antibiotic. You can prevent eye infections by keeping the cage hygienic and practice hygienic handling. Avoid contact with other pets!
Parasites in tap water cause Chinchillas to get parasites. They could also get it by other infected animals. They get diarrhea, mucous like stools, larger stools, weight loss, loss of their appetite, or change in their activity levels. You should take them to a vet. The vet will test a fresh sample and then examine it under a microscope looking for parasites and/or other cysts. The Chinchilla should be given antibiotics or antiparasitics in rounds. The most common medication prescribed that’s effective is flagyl. If the infection is bad, it will be needed more than once. To upkeep fiber, unsweetened shredded wheat can be used. Clean everything the animal comes in contact with! Sanitize the cage with bleach. Any wooden items should be sanded down or disposed. Keep in mind, their recovery can take weeks. It may be necessary to hand feed. Definitely monitor their weight. To prevent parasites, give your Chinchilla filtered, bottled, or reverse osmosis. Isolate any new animals for a minimum of thirty days. Avoid any contact with other animals. The most common parasite that Chinchillas become infected by is giardia. Giardia is an intestinal parasite that can cause diarrhea and anorexia, and leading to dehydration. Giardia is contagious. It can be passed from pets to other pets and even people. After coming in contact with the parasite, it could take between one to two weeks for any symptoms to appear. When treating the parasite(s), vet care and prescribed medication is a MUST!
Upper respiratory infections are caused by bacterial infection, contact with other animals, crowded conditions, or poorly ventilated housing. They start sneezing; have labored breathing, nasal discharge, watery eyes AKA: conjunctivitis, clicking sound when breathing, wheezing, or squeaking. You should definitely see a vet quickly. URI’s can be serious very quickly. Most likely, the vet will prescribe an oral antibiotic, but may give an injectable if you’re comfortable with it. Keep your Chinchilla away from drafts. Keep up with sanitation conditions and avoid contact with other animals.
Bumblefoot is caused by unsanitary cage conditions, or wire flooring which causes feet to become dry and cracked. A bacterium gets into their wounds and causes infection known as bumblefoot. Their symptoms consist of dry, cracked, or bleeding feet. To treat bumblefoot keep the animal on soft bedding such as fleece. Remove any wire or cover with solid shelving or fleece. Apply Blu-kote to the feet. If the problems continue to occur, then take the Chinchilla to the vet for antibiotics.
Chinchillas bloat because of bad feeding habits including excessive treats, vegetables, fruits, anorexia, or constipation. They are stretching, have lethargy, twisting, lie flat, or press their belly to the ground. If you notice the symptoms, see a vet immediately! X-rays can be taken to determine if the belly is full of gas bubbles. The vet should prescribe GI medications like Reglan and Propulsid. Manage infants’ Mylicon AKA Simethicone. It helps break down gas bubbles. Give Reglan and Propulsid. With small, circular, firm motions moving downward, the belly can be massaged. Let the Chinchilla have gentle exercise to help get their gut moving. Give them plenty of high count acidophilus. Do not feed them excessive or sugary treats. Do not give any fruits or vegetables. Make sure to provide the Chinchilla with healthy Chinchilla pellets and hay. Complete the diet with acidophilus.
GI Stasis is caused by anorexia, stemming from stress, dehydration, pain, injuries, illness, or blockage. They appear to have anorexia, lethargy, small hard stools or even no stools at all. Definitely see a vet immediately! It is very hard to treat. They should get constant massages, hand feeding, and medications are definitely needed such as Reglan and Propulsid. To prevent GI Stasis, hand feed the Chinchilla if it goes of its feed for ANY reason.
Dental Spurs are caused by uneven wearing teeth. They drool, lose their appetite, paw at the mouth, have gagging motions when chewing or eating, and have weight loss. See a vet! Oral exams can pinpoint teeth spurs. It’s a very good idea to get x-rays. The vet can file the affected teeth down. It’s a good idea to bring the Chinchilla in for routine check-ups if they’re common. After dental work, you may need to hand feet.To prevent Dental Spurs, provide your Chinchilla with plenty of chew toys and different varieties of hay.
Malocclusion is from uneven wearing teeth, genetics, and environmental injuries. They drool, lose their appetite, get watery eyes, paw at the mouth, make gagging motions when chewing or eating, lose weight, change activity level, or have bumps on their jaw. See a vet! The vet will have to perform a thorough oral exam such as x-rays. They’re urgent to be sure that the roots are not overgrow into the jaw or sinus cavities. It’s not a curable disease. Their symptoms may be impediment and looked after, but only for a certain amount of time. If the teeth are overgrown, the vet can file down the molars or clip the incisors. The Chinchilla will need routine check-ups. You may have to hand feed after dental work. To prevent it, provide many chew toys along with different varieties of hay.
They don’t know what causes fur chewing. Some believe that it’s stress, the environment, boredom, or genetics. Their fur is chewed short down the hips/back. Even cage-mates could be chewed. They’ll need a visual examination. There isn’t a known treatment for fur chewing. Just provide the Chinchilla with many enhanced items and things to do may help. To prevent it, give them plenty of chew toys and activities.
Hunchback is caused by malnutrition leading to liver disease. They get a characteristic “hunched” back. To come to a diagnosis, a vet can run tests. Offering a high quality diet can help. Provide your Chinchilla with a high quality feed, and do not feed excessive treats or unhealthy treats.
Overheating is caused by keeping a Chinchilla in an environment with too high temperature, allowing the Chinchilla to play excessively. They get red ears; have labored breathing, and lethargy. Vet care may be needed. Immediately move the Chinchilla to a cooler area. Put a frozen water bottle next to the Chinchilla or lay the Chinchilla on a chilled granite tile. To prevent the Chinchilla from overheating, keep the Chinchilla in temperatures lower than seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit.
Male Chinchillas are inclined to hair rings. A hair ring is a ring of fur that forms around the Chinchillas penis. Males usually clean their penises themselves and remove any hair rings. Fur may build up and the Chinchilla might be unable to remove the ring itself. That’s when you must step in. Once a month hair ring checks should be performed. You can do that by wrapping the Chinchilla in a towel securely. To remove the penis from the cover, a dab of KY Jelly could help lubricate and make it easier. Gently roll the cover back to reveal the penis. Take the penis with your fingers and gently pull outward until the penis is fully revealed. If there’s fur present, it’ll need to be removed. The ring can be lubricated with more KY Jelly and gently worked off of the penis. Then, the penis should withdraw itself, but it may take some time. If the penis is still revealed after a few hours have passed, you then may need to see a vet. If your Chinchilla has a fur ring that can’t be removed, then you should definitely see a vet. Make sure to be gentle and not hurt the Chinchilla.
Chinchillas have dainty skeletal structures. Broken bones are common in many pet Chinchillas unfortunately. Cages that have ramps are infamous for causing Chinchillas to get their legs caught and ultimately broken in between the wires. Cages with wire flooring that’s too large and shelves could also break their legs. Another thing that’s known to break their legs is wire wheels. A broken leg will be cut off by a vet. Chinchillas with their legs cut off do pretty amazing on three legs. They can still hop, run, and play like regular Chinchillas. They can even run on their wheels with no problems at all. If you notice your Chinchilla favoring a leg, and the condition doesn’t improve within a day, take it to the vet for X-rays. X-rays are great for finding out if your Chinchilla has a broken bone. For a broken leg, cutting it off is the best option. Under some circumstances, some have been able to save the leg.
Chinchillas can turn on their cage-mates and cause nasty wounds. If the wounds are shallow, they can be cleaned with a damp cloth and Blu-kote can be applied to them. If the wounds are more serious, vet care should be seen immediately because Chinchillas can go into shock. Shock is dangerous if it isn’t treated and it can be fatal. The vet will most likely shave the affected area and clean the wounds. To either prevent the infection or fight the infection that has set in, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed. If you notice your Chinchillas wound looking red, inflamed, or seeping, vet care should definitely be provided in case an infection is beginning to take place. A wounded Chinchilla may stop eating and you’ll need to step in and hand feed. It’s crucial to watch your chinchilla to see if they’re eating. If they go anorexic, they can face more serious problems. Hope this has helped and good luck!
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