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Signs of Common Chinchilla Ailments

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Common Chinchilla Health Ailments

Common Chinchilla Health Ailments

Chinchilla Health and First Aid Tips

Although chinchillas are relatively robust and hardy, they can succumb to several common health ailments. Of these ailments, the most frequent are respiratory disease and heatstroke. Luckily, most of the following common conditions are preventable.

Common Chinchilla Diseases and Conditions

  1. Respiratory Disease
  2. Heatstroke
  3. Abscesses
  4. Broken Bones
  5. Broken or Frozen Tails
  6. Torn Ears and Head Injuries
  7. Broken Teeth
  8. Swollen Penises
  9. Eye Injuries

Signs of a Sick Chinchilla

It's important to know that chinchillas hide their symptoms very well, so when it comes to identifying the main symptoms of disease in them, you usually don't notice them until after several days.

  • Labored breathing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Matted hair

How to Do a Health Check on a Chinchilla

1. Respiratory Disease

Causes of Respiratory Disease

Respiratory disease can be caused by a number of situations, such as exposure to chemicals (aerosols), moist bedding, bedding with too much debris, viruses, weakened immunity, and bacteria, mold, or fungus exposure.

First Aid or Treatment

Change out any moist, wet bedding, and remove any high-particulate bedding. Take your chinchilla to the veterinarian ASAP as respiratory illnesses often require treatment with antibiotics.


Always make sure your household and your chinchilla's habitat is free of trapped moisture. Never introduce a new chinchilla into your herd without quarantining them first and observing them for any health issues.

Important: Never Use Aerosols Around Your Chinchilla

Make sure to never spray aerosols in the same room as a chinchilla. Refrain from spraying scented, odor-reducing sprays (never use Febreze). These chemicals can be toxic. If the room smells because of the cage litter, clean it.

2. Heatstroke

Causes of Heatstroke

Heatstroke can be caused by a number of situations, including excessively high temperatures, poor ventilation, insufficient water, and direct exposure to sunlight.

First Aid or Treatment

If the chinchilla is unconscious and has a higher-than-normal temperature, place them in a cool place and try to lower their body temperature back to normal (between 99°F and 101°F) gradually. When the chinchilla is conscious again, give them a few drops of cool water.

Important: Cool off the chinchilla gradually with passive cooling (e.g. a fan); cooling them off too fast will cause them to go into shock.


Always offer proper housing and air conditioning.

3. Abscesses

Causes of Abscesses

Abscesses are caused by infection and sometimes injury. Injuries from sharp, protruding objects in a cage or from fighting with other chinchillas can cause abscesses. Abscesses can also be caused by unclean cages or cages that aren't disinfected regularly, as such conditions can harbor bacteria.

First Aid or Treatment

If your chinchilla has an infection, he will need antibiotic therapy for about three to five days to eliminate the infection. Sometimes it will be necessary for a veterinarian to lance an abscess.


Remove any risk factors such as sharp objects in the cage, check the front teeth for irregularities (sharp points from a broken tooth can lead to injury), and make sure to clean the cage and accessories thoroughly and regularly.

Creating a safe living space for your chinchilla helps to prevent injury.

Creating a safe living space for your chinchilla helps to prevent injury.

4. Broken Bones

Causes of Broken Bones

Hind legs are the most common bones to break from falls on hard surfaces, strikes from falling objects, and stuck limbs in wire cages or narrow openings. Improper handling can also result in broken bones.

First Aid or Treatment

Put the chinchilla in an isolated cage until you can transport them to the veterinarian.


Examine the cage regularly. Make sure that wire openings in the cage are about 1" x 1/2" and avoid wire-bottomed cages. Also, learn proper handling techniques.

5. Broken or Frozen Tails

Causes of Broken or Frozen Tails

A broken tail is usually caused by rough handling or crushing (e.g. a door closing on it). A frozen tail is caused by housing your chinchilla in cold weather in an unheated area.

First Aid or Treatment

  • Broken tail: House the animal alone and take them to the vet. If there wasn't displacement, you can use an Elizabethan collar to prevent the chinchilla from chewing at its tail. Avoid handling them for about four weeks.
  • Frozen tail: The tail will typically fall off without any unfavorable results. If the chinchilla starts to chew at the tail, use an Elizabethan collar. Visit your vet to get an antibiotic prescription to prevent any secondary infection.


Learn proper handling techniques and house your chinchilla in an appropriate temperature-controlled climate.

6. Torn Ears and Head Injuries

Causes of Torn Ears and Head Injuries

These injuries typically occur from fights with cagemates.

First Aid or Treatment

Put the chinchilla in a separate cage and watch them closely. You will want to clip the hair around the torn area, wash it with soap and water, and then rinse with a mild disinfectant. For severe injuries, you should consult a veterinarian.

You should see the healing process begin to take place if you follow the appropriate measures. Otherwise, if you notice signs of infection, you will need to wash the wound with sterile saline two to three times a day to assist the healing process. If the infection worsens, consult a vet ASAP.


These cases tend to occur when you introduce a new chinchilla to your existing chinchilla(s) without following proper introduction procedures. Here's how to introduce a new chinchilla:

  • Introduce them with patience and caution.
  • Quarantine the new chinchilla for at least three weeks to make sure that he/she is free of illness.
  • Start introducing him/her to your other chinchilla(s) slowly.
  • Watch for any signs of aggression or fighting, as you will need to separate them and try the introduction again later.

Tip: I find that introducing new chinchillas to existing ones works best when you let them play together outside of the cage they will be housed in and then slowly start to let them play together in the cage.

Learn how to identify the signs of a sick chinchilla.

Learn how to identify the signs of a sick chinchilla.

7. Broken Teeth

Causes of Broken Teeth

Broken teeth are usually caused by jumping to the bottom of the cage from a higher level. Sometimes, the front teeth (the incisors) can get caught in wire-mesh caging and break when the chinchilla struggles to get free.

First Aid or Treatment

If only one tooth is broken, you can file down the sharp points. But, if two or more teeth are broken, you will need to clip them off evenly and then file them until they're smooth. You will also want to put them on a soft diet until they can eat normally. To make a soft diet, just add warm water to moisten the regular diet. You may even consider isolating them until they get well.


Injury-proof the cage and provide ample areas for the chinchilla to maneuver safely up and down.

8. Swollen Penises

Causes of a Swollen Penis

A ring of hair behind the glands of the penis after mating can cause this condition.

First Aid or Treatment

Isolate the chinchilla and put a collar on him. Remove the fur around the penis, apply Vaseline, and watch to make sure the swelling goes down. Consider applying a pet-safe antibiotic ointment (I use Neosporin without the added pain relief) three to four times a day.


Male chinchillas that are in polygamous breeding groups should be examined regularly, especially at the first signs of irritation.

9. Eye Injuries

Causes of Eye Injuries

Eye injuries are usually caused by protruding wires or splinters of wood. This occurs more frequently with new cages and nest boxes.


Isolate the chinchilla and take them to the vet ASAP. If the injury is severe or you can still see the foreign body in the eye, seek professional help immediately!


Check for any harmful projections in the cage and remove them.

Are You a Chinchilla Lover?

I hope this list is helpful. Always remember, the best thing you can do for your pets is to take them to the vet at the first signs of illness. It's the right thing to do. If you're a chinchilla lover, be sure to share your stories in the comments section below.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments on May 19, 2020:

My chinchilla has really matted fur all over stomach and under his chin how do I get that clean he's taking dust baths but that's not working

Cameron on April 26, 2019:

My chinchilla passed yesterday evening, why was my chinchilla laying on its side in the bottom of the pen breathing but not moving she has lost weight ?

zeeabed on April 20, 2019:

my chinchilla dschrge from his nois and I can hear air very haed to brith what can I do

Kayla on October 14, 2018:

There are so many people on here that talk about their chinchilla being sick and clearly needing to go to the vet, yet you have no money....then stop breeding chinchillas and stop subjecting any future animals from your poor financial situation. Find a job on the side for when things like this pop up or something! Nearly every chinchilla on here needs to see a vet immediately! Stop posting and asking questions you already know the answer to! Get them to a vet and think about the money later! Chinchillas are unique creatures so please do your homework. Go on Amazon and order the chinchilla handbooks or guides to sick chinchillas, PLEASE! Your chinchilla should be seeing the vet regularly anyway because they hide symptoms and need a second opinion.

I repeat, if you do not have the money to care for any animal, do the right thing and rehome them to someone who can. I got a second job when my baby girl got sick. You do what you got to do!

Chinchillas should have their cage/room at 65 degrees Fahrenheit and in the summer, buy the granite slabs. Keep the cages dry and clean. All common sense stuff. Fresh dust baths daily and lots of hay and pellets.

STOP breeding for the sake of all of these babies going to homes who know nothing about chinchillas and can't afford to even take care of yourself financially.

Debravegan on October 02, 2018:

I just discovered this forum and wanted to warn of what could happen before it is too late. My chin of 11 years just died and it was too late to save him because the "mold" in the house was not discovered. I just moved to a lake community about year ago and since I live in New Jersey, we were getting the remnants of hurricane Florence. I was consistently raining almost every day. I was always able to control the humidity/heat/extreme cold but this constant rain took its toll inside the house that even the dehumidifier/damp rid tablets could not keep up. That is the first time in my house of one year I was getting white mold and never saw it until I was changing over to my winter clothes from storage. I used to give him supervised free range of the house for his freedom and used to open the refrigerator door so he can climb in to cool off quickly (I also had the marble tiles). At times in the past, he would get congested but always overcame it and was running around in his comfort zones healthy again which is what I thought would happen this time until it was too late. I set an appointment with the vet, left work in the afternoon and he was already dead. I buried him in my back yard and cried for days. I write this to warn all that it’s not easy to find the mold "when it's white”, and any sign of moisture on the floors and walls is a red flag. Of all the years I’ve had him, it was always a struggle because yes they are fragile. Chi Chi was a Christmas gift from a sister who thought they had a life span of a hamster so I had to learn about chins as I go with the years. He was healthy and happy. Even in his last days he would snuggle and eat so I did not have a clue he had something deadly happening inside him.

Joyce Obrien on July 17, 2017:

But when I brought her in she seemed lethargic I put a cold tile under her and had her in a cool room I'm new to chinchilla so I don't know what to do I'm hoping she pulls through

Janine on March 23, 2016:

My baby, Bertie, died in my arms yesterday morning. He started with a runny nose the previous evening, but before i could get him to the vet the next morning, he passed away. I'm heartbroken!! Will never forget his little face and his beautiful big eyes in those last moments. Just glad i could be there with him. It was so so heartbreaking!!

Mohi on February 27, 2012:

Hello, to everyone who lost their chinchillas here, guys chins are rodents they will chew anything they should always be supervised during playtime, chinchilla food should consist of 2 things chinchilla pellets not the mixed kind and hay only nothing else, I'm sorry that some of you lost ur babies :( it breaks my heart every time a chincha dies please before you invest in one study about them carefully they are sensitive animals, and always remember if you lost a chin please the best thing to do is bury it not throw it in the trash like some people do.... Please people take care of these gorgeous creatures :( im sorry if I was rude to anyone I just wanna help with all that I can...

Marie on February 23, 2012:

We had smokey for about 2 years now. We play with him daily, his very playful but when I want to carry him he refuse to be carried.

julie on February 20, 2012:

hello iv had a chinchilla for 2 almost 3 years now i just found out i was allergic to it so we took it out of my room now its in are basment and its loseing a lot of hair and it looks really funny im trying to find a better home for it but no one wants it becouse its sick is there anywhere of places that take sick chinchillas i really don't want him to die on me plese help!!!!!!.... :(

someone on January 23, 2012:

hi my chin just got his tail wet in a toilet im afraid if he picks at it he will get sick what can i do?

Jeremy on January 20, 2012:

I just woke up and my chinchilla was dead he had food and carrots I don't understand

robin on January 12, 2012:

i got my 11yr old daughter a pet male chichilla for her birthday the past dec. and too days ago he started to have the fur on his right hin leg thining out what will cause this . he has everything he needs the vet says but they are not sure what is causing it to thin out

CJ on January 04, 2012:

My chin just had 3 babies about 2 and a 1/2 weeks ago. There's 2 gray ones and a white one. The White one is considered the "runt." Usually, one gray one and the white one play and wrestle around and the momma chin barks at them. they like to run on the wheel inside the cage, and sometimes the momma chin jumps onto the wheel on top of them. And this morning, i noticed that the runt chinchilla has been bleeding from under its front right leg. But the bleeding stopped and he seems fine now. Is there anything I should do to avoid having that little chin dead? I took down the wheel and set it in the cage so they cant run on it if that helps at all. Any more things i should do for my chins?

chin mama on September 28, 2011:

Hi everyone,

My chin has the same problem as summer's...kinda.

I have a baby chin who was born august 15th. I went on vacation for a few days and when I got home my baby was missing a strip of tail fur. The tail is a little pink where she is missing it but there are no other signs. Looks mostly like it got snagged and lost some fur.

Is that a good guess? Is it something to be concerned about?

Thanks for the info.

Kas Andreea on September 11, 2011:

I have just found my chinchilla dead.He was a male of 1 year old.I didn`t notice anything wrong with him in the last few days, i really left him out of the cage and he played like as usual(I was kepping him in my balcony).When I found him, he was wet at his mouth a lot as he vomited.I am really confused about the cause of death so please help me with a clue at least.Could have been a spider or some other external parasite?My balcony is opened but he was good protected from cold and rain

Henriette Munk on August 31, 2011:

Hi. Great site.

I just went to feed my two chinchillas and the females face i swollen!!

Her nose, cheeks and chin is swollen with water.

She is not 100 % OK but runs around and eats and her poo is toatally normal.

Had she been a dog a would suspect an allergic reaktion to fx insect-bite.

Have you ever seen anything like that??

And what to do?

Summer on August 27, 2011:


My chinchilla is 3 years old now and he has recently lost a whole strip if fur from his tail. It started at the base and he has slightly flakey skin now. He is still very happy, eat, sleeps and plays with my other chinchilla like normal, so I am wondering if this is anything to worry about?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 22, 2011:

No. You need to wait.

Nina on August 20, 2011:

My female chinchilla had babies 3 months ago, is it safe to breed her now?

Sabrina on August 11, 2011:

hi i recently was given a hedgehog and just found out it had mites , now i am afraid that my chinchilla does as well. is there anything i can do for the chin at home or must i take them to the vet? the nearest vet that can work on chinchillas is almost 6 hours away from me and told me that just an office visit ( if the chin doesn't have mites ) will cost me $200 for him just to look at her .

Andere on August 07, 2011:

Hello all and sorry to be posting on my bad terms here. I have saved this website my favorites and tried my best to help my Sie (female Chinchilla) She passed away after 6 hours in my hand lastnight friday. She was my very first chinchilla and found out i was doing number of things wrong for 1 example, I have no AC only fans and I own two dogs and a cat. My chinchilla lived with me since my bd in july i was told she was 7 weeks or older. She was so beautiful, loving and active. She loved being free it breaks my heart that she passed and very hard for me.. I feel inlove with her as she did with me. I will always miss her footstumps and freespirit in secure room. I have 3 videos of her and Im glad I got something good to remember my companion by.

Its been very hot lastweek and I noticed she was having trouble sleeping because of all the noise and I knew this was not good. I also was having a hard to sleeping for obvious reason. Family house. My Sie manage to taste my blue jays back to back champs boarders and some of the wallframe in secured room. I have fed her proper diet and never gave her anying I couldn't trust. I have 3 live recorded videos of her and she was tamed and very Smart. I was still teaching her and was happy she was going to spend her life with me. SHe even stayed on my shoulder til i put my hands out and she would never pee on the floor or objects, always her home that was left open for her. I honestly did not train her to goto the restroom, haha she did that on own and i was SHOCKed when she did it and doubted anyone would believe but found out chins do do that as they are very clean animals.

(Sie Story)

One night my neighbors were argueing and the door slammed very loud. My Sie(chinchilla) started screaming, I open my door and goto the restroom, after that I made a coffee and showed my father what the neighbors did finding Sie laying in her urin. I open the door and she didn't come to me! I reached in a got her and she starting kicking uncontrollably legs. I panic and got a dry cloth and held her close to my heart. She was breathing really fast and had my heart going to. I found this site and found out so much I didn't know about chinchillas, Chinchilla was a heartbreaker for me as it was a 23bd gift to me from a friend. Now that I know so much about them, I beat myself up for letting her run free even tho she was SO wild and be happy in my room. She loved jumping on my lap, shoulders and head and loved WALL jumping, it was Amazing and i miss her so much.

When i was holding her and reading everything, I finally ran her down to the basement and got water with lil salt and food next to it. Basement much cooler. I was very scared and thought I was going to lose her because nothing but most bad news on posts. She seemed like she was doing better after an hour of rest but she did not come to. I started talking to her and she responded made me cry. I got happier with tears thinking she could pull through reading that chins pass within an 1hour she stayed strong. I let her be for another hour or so down there and I felt that she was then cold, cold fur, cold paws, wessin and coughing at that moment and stayed with here in my hands til she passed.

When she took her last breath, she started kicking and no respond, her back was being bent while she gasped for air. mounth open and close, hard to watch and extremmly painful for me i becomed so found of her and loved watching her free spirit. I stayed with her for 6 hours and she finially passed away.

My sie was Wessin and i swear I heard and felt small caughs that looked painful. That started happening 4am in the morning. She was talking to me when I was talking to her and she knew it was me, Made me so sad. I have no vet here that knows about chinchillas and it was saturday, i really felt the bad luck of the draw.

My question is, Can Chinchillas get shocked to death esspecially having hard time sleeping,(hund puppy) howling and crying during the day, and plus the heat. I blame myself for not having a proper household and not knowing what a chin was or how to take proper care of such a loving creature, I kinda blame my friend because he didn't explain to me the dangerous things us humans have in stor for them and what are no-no's like cedar, pine. When he gave me her,lets just say he didn't tell me important stuff about the chinchilla but that she needs a companion like me. Idk if I should get one again cause i read it is hard to find care for them and the die easy due to there systems but mostly because I miss my Sie and wish I knew what I know now. My heart really is broken and took me some time to post this.

I think she was exausted, sick and the scare didn't help at all and ill never forget her *hap-hap-hap* loudest i ever heard her speak and they speak soft.


awnsers or guesses on why Sie died? she is about 9weeks old id say.

And, should I get another chinchilla now that I know a lot about her? I have beautiful home thats empty and chinchilla foods and treats, dustbath hardly touched, i just don't want to go through another heartbreak.

Other then chewing wallsiden and windowsiden, she also love jumping on the windowedge and stare outside day or night and I did not know she wasn't allowd direct sunlight but she loved it lol She also got great at walking on my shoulders and never peed on me haha. I rly do miss her and i don't think i will find another Sie, she was one of a kind to me and i never owned chinchillas before. She never ran from me but always towards me, I honestly loved her and miss snaping my fingers at her telling he not to jump on my desk

best wishes sie and hope something is there for you

stay happy happy girl and keep on hopping!

grace on July 22, 2011:

i have a chinchilla named andy. he was previously owned by a man for 2 years and i have had him for 5 or 6 months now. Every time i try to let him out he is always running away from me and when i do get him he is always trying to get out of my hands. Then when i let him out in my room and it is time to go back in he is always running away from me. I feel like I am doing something I?

Darbanator on May 07, 2011:

Josh & Kristl Commander my chinchlla Moose had the exact symptomes. I took him to the vet yesterday and he got an IV and some eye ointment, he was doing fine until about 8:00pm then he had some very scary spasms. I don't want to scare you or anything but he died in my hands by 8:30. So keep an eye on her and I hope she recovers soon.

tammie and Larry Jellison on April 19, 2011:

my 5 month old chin just chewed a small gem off of my tshirt! im guessing it was about 2mm, it was rounded and smooth on the top and flat on the bottom. its 2 am and im sitting up with him to make sure he is ok! my dd would be devastated! how worried should i be? how long until i know hes passed it?

Ashleee on April 03, 2011:

last night my girl chinchilla had some sort of fit and couldn't move for about an hour but now has recovered , but cant walk very well and isn't eating or drinking, this is my first chinchilla and im not sure what to do?

alley on March 21, 2011:

I have a 5 year old male chinchilla. Lately he hasn't eaten or drank anything, and he lays on his side in his house all day and won't come out. Every once in a while he turns around and poops right outside the door of his house, but he doesn't eat. I don't know of anything that changed in his environment. What do you think is wrong?

sue marsh on February 28, 2011:

hi i have just bought an amazing chinchilla book called Chinchilla Health & Sickness Bible. It has helped me beyond belief with chinchilla ailments and i would seriously recommend it to any chinchilla owner. It has been written by a reputable chinchilla author, Mirella Poli who wrote An Essential Guide to Owning A Chinchilla and can be purchased from the following

It lists over 150 different illnesses a chinchilla can acquire together with the symptoms, preventions and cure! take a look its fantastic and will help you with any chinchilla concern you may have...

ali marsh on February 08, 2011:

hi my male chinchilla started making beeping noises, then got very lethargic, keeps pawing his face , wiping his nose, and now is running at full speed beeping loudly, pulling hair off his chest,looks like his front paw is sore but i checked it, not eating or drinking or been for a poo, hiding out of my mind with worry............please help

cheyenne on January 08, 2011:

my chinchilla had babies 4 weeks ago and one of the babies got their foot stuck in the ramp while jumping off. it was twisted in the ramp. but we managed to get it out. It has been limping for a day and a half. should i take it to the vet or see if it will heal on its own??????

squawk on January 05, 2011:

I have a chinchilla whose butt stays in the air sometimes and he would push against the wire on the floor and just seem like he is pain...I am guessing he is constipated. After he is done with his butt being in the air he will lay down and if I try picking him up (normally moves away) he won't budge. plz help

Theresa Smith on January 04, 2011:

Sadley my chinchilla passed away this morning. I so wished i had founf this web sight soon. Its been really hard to accept he is no longer here.

Theresa Smith on January 03, 2011:

Your advice was very good. My chinchilla is 18 years old and has all the systms from your first item health problems on this page. My chincilla is showing all these signs and just curled up in one place in his cage. I just wished there was something i could have done sooner.

Lisa on January 02, 2011:

Sadly our sweet Bayleigh went to chilla heaven on the 30th. She was so sweet to the very last breath. I took her to the vet and they were sure what was wrong, just thought it might be old age but started her on an antibiotic. Sadly a couple days later she left us. Her temp was very low and I kept trying to kep her warm. I am heartbroken. =( Ashley all I can suggest is take him to a vet. Make sure his temp is ok if not put warm towels from the dryer on him and make sure he is getting water. If he is too warm he also might lay on his side to cool down but shouldn't be not eating or lethargic. Good Luck!

ashely on January 02, 2011:

i need help we don't really know how old our chinchilla is we got him at a garage sale 6 years ago so i don't know the exact age but anyway i just found him today laying on his side and he wont open his eyes at all hes not really moving im scared hes going to die he hasn't really been eating and he used to never lay on his side its just a total change please help

Lisa on December 27, 2010:

My Chinchilla Bayleigh is about 15 yers old. Tonight suddenly she started squeeking a lot much more then ever before. She is very off balance and almost acts like she can't see. I wondered if she had a seazure so gave her a couple of raisins to boost her sugar level. She is still acting very odd like she is having a hard time breathing but still trying to eat. She feels like skin and bones but is eating. My vet isn't open at this hour and the only one that is doesn't really deal with chinchilla's so I don't know that it makes much sense to take her there and I don't want them to ask to keep her overnight just to have her die somewhere else. =(

Tonia on December 27, 2010:

My Chinchilla is about 3 months old and I've had her about 4 days and the first day she seemed very livley and sweet, but now she makes this really weird squeaking noise like she is scared or hurt but nothing seems wrong and she is bitting and she didn't do it when I first got her...could she be lonley because she lives alone now or what...I'm just scared somethings wrong and I don't wanna lose her. Also she is acting very aggressive and sticks to one side of the cage too for some reason I just want to no what's wrong.

Sarap on December 25, 2010:

My chinchilla has been acting normal, he is about 2 yrs old and does not have a cagemate. I just noticed he has lost the hair at the tip of his tail. He is enthusiastic about all of his regular activities. He is eating and drinking. Should I take him to the vet, or wait to see if there is regrowth?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 23, 2010:

Don't put neosporin in the eye. See a vet for proper eye ointment!

jd on December 22, 2010:

We just got two chinchillas about a week ago. I have one that has gook in it's eye that just started yesterday. I've been cleaning it, and putting some artificial tear ointment in it and it looks better but still red around the rim of the eye. What suggestions do you have for the antibiotic ointment on the eye...neosporin? That won't burn him or harm the eye at all??? Thanks.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 13, 2010:

I prefer Mazuri

Kelsey on December 12, 2010:

What brand of food pellets is best for them?

Jill & bobby on November 05, 2010:

we put chlyde in a temp cage and hes fine now acting his normal self and pu him back in his cage today we think he was just over heaed where he was at and since the cage is 3 tier we are putting the top tier on and going to keep him up there. We think the botom might not have enough air circulating to it.

maureen1977 on November 05, 2010:

Hi, My female chinchilla had 2 kits a week ago. I had to remove one of them today as one of the kits was lying on her side. Her face was dirty as if her mother didn't care for her. i fed her by had, baby milk and rub tummy and seemed ok. i put her back in and her mother dealt with her but tonight i found her again lyin outside the cage as if dead. i have removed her and cleaned and have given her abit of milk. what will i do?

Jill & Bobby on November 01, 2010:

hi, I have been reading a lot tonight as we have noticed out chin acting "funny" very similar to Candace who posted 2 months ago. When he was running on his "trampoline" (disc that turns in circles) I noticed his hind legs kicking inward. he also usually lays on his side by the door. We have him in the bottomof a ferret nation with two "levels and a ramp to the second. He was laying in the middle of the second story. Never seen him do tha he also wont eat treats and he always has before. He spilt some of his water on himself tonight as well. Do you think it would be a waste of money to take him to the vet? Or should we take him just to be sure. I'd just hate to spend the money for someone to tell me he's dying, but it its sumthin that migh be fixed I'd be glad to spend the money. I have no idea how old he is, he was given to me 2 1/2 years ago by someone who's friend abandoned him at her house for over 3 months.

Jess on October 21, 2010:

our female just birthed 3 kits and they are currently 5 days old. one is an obvious runt. we've been keeping a visible check on their weight and energy levels and have the female and kits separated from the male. today we noticed signs of bullying to the runt: signs of bites on the side of face, ears and nose. his energy level still seems the same though he is a bit shaky. should we separate him from the mother and two siblings and bottle feed or leave him with them and still begin to bottle feed?

Becca on October 16, 2010:

Bella's jumping about fine onto three different levels in the cage - i'm amazed with how well shes doing!! only thing is shes gone less tame which I'm confused about as I nursed her for ages after her leg was amputated so would've thought that would have made her tamer. maybe shes just trying to be more independent or something? her eating is back to normal too and shes the first one to come jumping to the bottom of the cage when i put the sand bath in. She's like a one in a million chinchilla stronger than I could've imagined!!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 04, 2010:

lostconfusedchin, sorry to be the barer of bad news, but the chinchilla really needs a vet. These guys aren't like hamsters or even ferrets that are fairly hardy. They are quite fragile, and having a vet that is familiar with them is hard to find. If you can't find a vet, definitely try to find someone who can afford to take him to the vet to give him to.

Becca, that is good to hear. Keep me posted on her. Have you considered the one story? Or is she jumping around fine with the multiple levels?

Becca on October 04, 2010:

hi again, you'd be surprised how well Bella is doing without her back leg, shes managing about just fine, sometimes quicker than my other two. I did ask about the leg just being supported but the vet said that it was too bad a break and was a lot of bruising. Fingers crossed she gets better still - thanks for the advice Whitney!

lostconfusedchin on October 04, 2010:

ah damn, alright thanks, we will see what we can do. we are two 19 year olds that are living on our own, not entirly sure how well we can pay for a vet, but well do what we can. thanks for the info

Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 04, 2010:

No that is not normal. Definitely take the chinchilla to a vet that is familiar to chinchillas. It could be a prolapse, or hair ring that has gone untreated.

lostconfusedchin on October 03, 2010:

we recently bought a chinchilla on craigslist, and after we got it home, i noticed that he has a black penis, that sticks out about 3/4's of an inch at all times. my girlfriend did some research before we bought him, so we don't think its supposed to look like that, both it being black, and it sticking out. i just need to know how bad that is, and what we should do. hes a standard grey, if that makes any difference

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 30, 2010:

The vet didn't think that it was ok to just stabelize the leg? The chinchilla probably won't be able to jump the same, especially if it was a back leg. I'm actually quite surprised if the vet amputated the back leg, as they use both legs to stand, walk, run, jump, and move. They're not really like dogs or cats who use all four legs. Chinchilla use their front feet as hands, and both back legs for movement. It's like removing a human's leg, but chinchillas can't use prosthesis or crutches.

You may want to get a one level cage until the chinchilla has fully recouped.

Becca on September 29, 2010:

My chinchilla Bella broke her hind leg on Wednesday and had it amputated Thursday. Will she be able to cope on three legs and how long do you think it will be before she is able to jump about again and do I need to keep everything to one level forever? Also, shes not really eaten much other than an apple leaf and a raisen and I'm getting quite worried now I've tried all her favourites. Any ideas on boosting her appetite?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 27, 2010:

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the little girl scared them.

I would let a vet check out the remaining chinchilla just to make sure that there isn't anything wrong, such as respiratory or parasites.

tammarie from Canada on September 27, 2010:

Last night i lost my Molly . We only Had her about 4 months. We got her and her sister from a home were the little girl scared them . I need to know if there is something i can do for Chilly to keep her happy and i don't lose her too

powers on September 21, 2010:

my chinchilla is about 4 and a half and he has been laying down and not being active much what do you think it is

chelsea on September 20, 2010:

i had my chins teeth trimed a few days ago n he seems to be putting weight on again his normal size he seems to be a lot happier to thanks for helping me bye

Kelsey on September 19, 2010:

Just the normal dry pellets and they have a water bottle which they drink from regularly

Becca on September 18, 2010:

My chinchilla Bella broke her hind leg on Wednesday and had it amputated Thursday. Will she be able to cope on three legs and how long do you think it will be before she is able to jump about again and do I need to keep everything to one level forever? Also, shes not really eaten much other than an apple leaf and a raisen and I'm getting quite worried now I've tried all her favourites. Any ideas on boosting her appetite?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 16, 2010:

What food are you offering? Is the chinchilla drinking ok?

Kelsey on September 16, 2010:

One of my chinchillas seem to be having a problem with digestion of something. He's only 2 and a half years old and lately he's been eating very slowly and his 'poop' are bigger than usual. It might be when i went out of the country for a month and left my aunt in charge. What can I do to make him healthier again?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 09, 2010:

Is it on the bum? Is that what you're referring to by backside? It could be wettail, which would need to be treated.

Maureen on September 08, 2010:

We have a 19 month old male chin who's fur is heavily matted on his backside. He recently had a respiratory infection that was treated by a vet. I saw your comments about stress. We just moved 3 weeks ago (right after his respiratory infection). Could that be a cause of the matting - or should we take him back to the vet?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 07, 2010:

Good luck.

chelsea on September 07, 2010:

ok will do thank you for answering i will let you know the outcome once again thanks chelsea

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 07, 2010:

Could be problems with the teeth. You should really see a veterinarian that is knowledgeable with chinchillas. The teeth may need to be trimmed, or it could be a concern with the molars.

chelsea on September 07, 2010:

he is also keept in the same cage with another chinchilla

chelsea on September 07, 2010:

can anyone please tell me why my chinchilla is constantley wet on its front and look like it is slaveringn all the time

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 25, 2010:

No this isn't normal. I would separate the two and opt not to breed them.

apaulson on August 24, 2010:

I have a 2 year old male. that when he mates with my female he will lay on his side and act like he passes out. he sometimes does it on other occasions after a hot day. but it is always after he mates,that he will do this. Is this a normal thing for them to do? Because after a minute or so he gets up and acts normal again. Please help with this sistuation.

Tabytha on August 24, 2010:

I have a male chin, he's about 2 and half yrs old. He won't drink, eat, and will barely move. I checked what I could and all that's wrong besides what I said is he's extremely skinny. What should I do?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 13, 2010:

That is very odd. There shouldn't be any matting. Lack of proper hygiene is typically caused by either illness or not living in proper housing or having proper diet. Chinchillas do really well at keeping themselves clean and proper.

Is the chinchilla still using the dust bath?

Felicia on August 12, 2010:

He's eating and drinking fine. He acts the same as usual, and like I said he doesn't bite it or seem bothered at all. I think it's a hygiene problem?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 12, 2010:

The matted fur may be a sign of stress. Is the chin still eating and drinking fine? How is the overall temperament? Has it changed? It's not normal to see matted fur in chinchillas, unless they've gotten into something or they are ill.

Felicia on August 12, 2010:


I have a 8 month old male chin who has matted fur on the left side of his body. It doesn't smell and he doesn't seem bothered by it. Should I just brush it out or could it be more serious?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 11, 2010:

It is possible that he's suffering the effects, but generally the effects don't last as long as you're experiencing.

It's better to see a vet earlier than later, when it comes to chinchillas, as they don't show signs of illness until it's typically too late.

laura on August 11, 2010:

hi there.

i have a 6 year old boy who has been hiding in his house since yesterday. he refused to take a treat last night but this morning took a small piece of dried papaya from me.

he is prone to seizures - i'm wondering if he could have had one and is suffering the after effects. i'm planning on keeping a close eye on him and someone will be home the rest of the week to monitor him. anything else i can do in the meantime? i will take him to a vet if he does not improve..

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 11, 2010:

I would be worried, but a vet would be the best situation. Try to get there as soon as you can.

Candace on August 10, 2010:

Hi. I have a 8 month old chinchilla named BeeBee. She loves to be petted, scratched, played with, and treats. She does not like to be held and rarely makes noises. This evening she is acting not quite herself. She started making a strange squeeky toy type noise Ive never heard her make before and she let me pick her up and hold her and didn't try to get away. Then she would not have anything to do with the treat. I can get her to a vet tomorrow but Im concerned about something happening to her tonight. I would be absolutely heart broken if something happened to my sweet BeeBee. Any advice or clue as to what it could be?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 09, 2010:

That is good to hear

Tylor on August 09, 2010:

Yes the doctor didn't find any herpes in Star, so we've been aloud to take him home.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 09, 2010:

Sarah, as long as you have a vet that is knowledgeable with chinchillas, you should be ok, but finding that vet can be hard. You want to check to see if it could be a hair ring.

Tylor, have you heard back from your vet.

Tylor on August 07, 2010:

Id say its pretty safe.

I recently had to have my chin, Artemis, spayed because his Intestines wrapped around his penis and testicle.

The only problem he seems to have though is that sometimes is penis is sticking out, even after a hair ring check.

Sara on August 06, 2010:

I was wondering if anyone could offer me any advice on my chin. He is about a year old and I have had him for 7 months. The entire time I have had him I have noticed the area around his genitals gets very swollen, not all the time but quite often. I have been told that they can pull their balls up inside them and this is what it could be??? He is in a cage by himself. Also, how safe is it to get a chinchilla spayed?

tylor on August 06, 2010:

My brother has herpes.

Plus He was always playing with the little one

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

He was having seizures, seemed disorientation, and had eye and nasal discharge? Has anyone in your house or anyone who has had contact with the chinchilla had herpes 1? If not, then it's highly unlikely that was the case. They get the virus from humans most commonly, but they can contract it via contaminated water or food.

From what I've seen and heard, a blood test isn't what they use to diagnose herpes in chinchillas. Generally, it's not even noticed until the chinchilla has died, and in that case a necropsy is done. Otherwise, vets will check the central nervous system for the virus.

Herpes in chinchillas is VERY rare.

Tylor on August 06, 2010:

He had all of the signs of herpes in Chins.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

If the vet thought that something had been damaged by the other chinchillas, he should have done xrays to make sure. It is odd that he didn't. Well, good luck. Why would you think the chinchilla has herpes?

Tylor on August 06, 2010:

No, when we went to take him home he had another spasm so I told the vet should test for herpes, so hes having tests run on him.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

Hmm.. I guess , it's possible. Did he do any x-rays?

Tylor on August 05, 2010:

I took him to the vet today because he seemed to be immobile.

The vet says he may have been hurt when he took a dustbath and the other 3 chins decided to jump in on top and join him.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 05, 2010:

Did the vet treat him for anything?

Take him back where? To the vet? Or breeder?

What did he go to the vet for?

Tylor on August 04, 2010:

I just got back from the vet and when I put it back in it's cage he seemed to be disoriented.

The temperature outside was around 30C.

Should I take little Star back? Hes around 2 months old.

headlines0 on July 30, 2010:

hi. i have a chinchilla aged 1,5 years old. he was absolutely fine. i went away for a week and i had my aunt to take care of him. she had all instructions and she kept him last year too and he was safe. when i got back, my aunt said he doesn't eat much. i found out he wasn't eating ANYTHING. he has lost all of his energy and his head looks unstable at times. i took him to a couple of vets but they didn't see anything strange, they told me it might be an infection or a bezoar. i've been giving him some wide spectrum antibiotic and primperan after the vet's advice. also handfeeding him and giving him water, because he isn't drinking any water either. scanty stool. the vets refuse to do blood/stool tests or xray or anything. i don't know what to do and i'm afraid my chinchilla will die because two days now on medication he seems to be getting worse. i am outside the USA and the vets aren't really equipped here. :/

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 25, 2010:

Jenny, did they both come from a pet store? It is possible that younger chinchillas can be mis-sexed, but for an adult chinchilla, it would be harder to make the mistake. Pet stores generally get full grown or nearly grown chinchillas, as they are easier for the wholesaler to check for accurate gender. I would keep an eye on it, as even if it was mis-sexed, there's not much you can do about it now unfortunaly... You would need to keep them separate though. Try luring Caesar and Charlie both to make sure they look the same underneath. That may ease some concerns.

Ryan, it could just be their temperaments. Like people, not all animals are the same. Some are more active and others tire easier. Just keep an eye on them. Watch their eating, drinking, and exercise habits carefully.

Ryan on July 24, 2010:

I just got two chins, one of them gets tired really easily... he plays around with his brother like normal, but as soon as he gets in his case he passes out, but his brother plays a lot longer... the one who tires out is a little bit bigger than his more energetic brother... can't tell if he's sick... or, just lazy. Thoughts?

Jenny on July 24, 2010:

I have two male chins, both specifically chosen because I don't want chinchilla babies. They both seem happy and healthy, with daily dust baths, food, water, an extra large cage and daily supervised playtime outside of the cage. One I bought when he was ten weeks old and the other when he was ten months old, though they are only about a month apart. The new chin, Charlie, was stressed when I first brought him home (he was in a very small cage for three months surrounded by snakes and large lizards--it broke my heart, and fell in love at the same time so he was meant to be mine). Their transition was fairly smooth, I kept them separated and let them play outside of the cage, supervised until they could play nice--though they never fought, mostly chased and barked. Now they sleep in a pile, play and groom each other. What I'm worried about is that Charlie has had the hiccups three times now and I read that they do that after mating. Could Caesar have been sexed wrong? I'd check but Caesar does not like to be held--he'll deem to allow you to be his perch on occasion, but mostly he's my snobby boy;) I'm afraid if I try to catch, hold, and check him it may stress him out more than he can handle--this chin is super sweet, loving and snobby but he is more skittish than Charlie, who is my fat boy who is pretty chill. (I think Charlie got bigger from inactivity at the pet store and I'm trying to get him to lose weight with playtime, but that may take extra research too.) Could the reoccurring hiccups be anything else or am I gonna have to catch Caesar and possibly freak him out (My chins do stretch in their cage a lot and I've never seen hair rings, btw, I try to check for those without actually disrupting them as much as possible). Thanks for your help, I appreciate it!

Tylor on July 11, 2010:

My chins area around his penis is swollen and purple. he also hasn't been eating his hay and his poop is extremely small. i took him to a vet but they don't know what's wrong with him. please help

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 06, 2010:

Chewing sounds like stress.