Chinchilla Health & First Aid
Chinchillas may look foreign and exotic.. Well, that's because they are. They're not your average fancy rat or lop bunny, but in terms of anatomy, they do have the same basic anatomy of the smaller sized rodent. To be able to spot signs of illness in a chinchilla, you will need to understand the anatomy of the chinchilla.
Starting with the most striking quality of a chinchilla- its coat. The chinchilla coat is composed of thin, soft hairs. Although, the coat can range from white to black and beige to lavender, but most often, you will see the standard grey coat. The coat is very dense and needs to be given a dust bath every few days.
Chinchillas have strong hind legs that allow them to jump long distances, relative to their size. Their hind legs make them great jumpers. The much smaller front legs are used for holding food.
They have standard whiskers, sharp teeth, and large ears, just like many other rodents.
Chinchillas have a a resting heart rate around 150 beats per minute and a high respiration rate of about 40-80 breathes a minute.
Chinchillas have a a very sensitive respiratory and skeletal system. Their lungs and airways cannot properly digest aerosols, such as Fabreeze, and with their very fragile bones, chinchillas can easily break their ribs if squeezed too tightly.
What You will Find Here:
So, now that you are aware of your chinchilla's anatomy, you are probably still curious as to some first and and veterinary care. The rest of what you will see is under the complete impression that you know the proper care and husbandry for chinchillas.
Otherwise, if you still need help with how to care for a chinchilla, you can check out "Chinchilla Basics" to get you started.
Or, you will need to purchase a book to give you more details for the care of this wonderful animal.
Chinchilla First Aid
The practice of veterinary care is to both prevent and treat illnesses, whether it be a disease of a simple accidental injury. So, you will want to make sure that there is a veterinarian in your area that will be able to successfully treat chinchillas.
Then, you will want to educate yourself in common accidents and health concerns with chinchillas. Make sure that you know first aid measures that you can apply and preventative measures to avoid these common mishaps.
Remember that with severe injuries, you will need to seek professional veterinary help. And, in some more severe cases, all you may be able to do is make the chinchilla more comfortable.
The Injured Chinchilla
Before I through common injuries at you, I want to make sure that you are aware of general information about first aid. There are a few things that do and steps that you can take to help alleviate the lesser cases of injury.
Make sure to have an extra cage or two on hand. These cages need to have solid bottoms and a large entry door on every level. Chinchillas with broken bones or eye infections need to be housed separately in a quiet area of your house, until you are able to get professional help. Minimize handling in these cases, as well.
With appetite loss, you can stimulate the sickly chinchilla with a few drops of sugar water or corn syrup three to four times a day via an eye-dropper. You can, also, use few raisins or fresh greens to induce a chinchilla's appetite. But, if your chinchilla does not lose his appetite, then his regular diet will suffice.
Chinchilla First Aid Kit
- Hand soap
- Mild antiseptic (Lysol or Bettol)
- Absorbent cotton
- Adhesive tape (about 1/2")
- Cardboard (for Elizabethan collars, prevent self-mutilation of injuries, and temporary splints)
How to Buy and Care for Chinchillas : Pet Chinchillas: Health Concerns
Alternative Medicine for Chinchillas
Although chinchillas a very hardy, they are fragile animals. But, remember that when housed properly and cared for properly, they don't get sick often. But, when they do, they tend to hide it. So, if your chinchilla is showing any signs of illness, then he's probably pretty sick, and you should rush him to the nearest vet that will see chinchillas.
But, not just any medicine will work with chinchillas, as many can have adverse side effects. There is alternative medicine that is said to work with chinchillas. Some methods can include homeopathic treatments, chiropractics, acupuncture, healing crystals, and herbal supplements.
Quartz crystal have been used to help balance the electromagnetic fields within a living being. It is supposed to reduce the amount of potential pain in bones and joints. Leaving quartz in the water bottle accomplishes at of balance.
Acupuncture is used to alleviate pain in joints and muscles, as well as, to help reduce stress.
Herbal supplements can be added to your chinchilla's diet to improve health, increase energy, cure loss of appetite, and treat indigestion.
While alternative medicine are natural, remember that they have not been extensively tested for reliability. And, just because it is natural, it doesn't mean that it's healthy. A chinchilla can overdose on herbal medicines just as easily as conventional medicines. You will want to speak with you veterinarian about the pros and cons before making a definite decision.
Chinchilla Health Care
- Chinchilla.com- Resources
Worldwide Live Auction and Sales of top U.S. bred Standard and Mutation Chinchillas. Chinchilla Products, Services, Events, and pictures of Chinchillas offered for sale. You will find this ever growing site filled with health information for your chi
Find basic care, health information, product resources, and more.
Diagnostic & Therapeutic Procedures
Because caring for chinchillas can be frustrating at times, as they can be difficult to care for since they hide their signs of illness so easily. In the wild, hiding any symptoms of injuries a defense mechanism against showing weakness to predators, and in captivity, it does nothing more than to make things frustrating.
When you start to notice signs of illness, it's usually too late. But, if you keep check and be familiar with your chinchillas everyday activities and behaviors, you may be able to spot signs of illness in your chinchilla earlier.
- Take note of how long he sleeps.
- How much he eats.
- His bowel movements.
Any derivation from his normal activities can note something is wrong. But, these signs are not definitive diagnostic tests, they can help spot diseases before its too late.
During a these tests, if you see anything out of the ordinary, you will want to act quickly.
- ID any changes in the environment.
- Check the cleanliness of the cage.
- Make sure there is fresh water and food.
- Note any changes in the surrounding temperature or humidity.
Then go to your vet with what you have found.
Your vet should be able to use the correct therapeutic procedure to helping and treating your chinchilla, especially if you are able to notice the signs early.
Tips for Caring for Chinchillas
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a specialized reptile veterinarian.
More by this Author
Chinchillas are generally pretty healthy animals, but at the same time, they are also very fragile. Their skeletal systems are fragile, and their immune system can easily be compromised. The animal cannot get wet, and...
Although chinchillas are relatively robust and hardy, they can succumb to several common health concerns, most of which are preventable. The most common illness that a chinchilla will contract is going to be either a...
Learn some of the signs of infected belly-button piercings and what to do about them.