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Chinchilla Health & First Aid

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Chinchilla Anatomy

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.

Books About Chinchillas

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.

Chinchilla Mites


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")
  • Gauze
  • Scissors
  • Syringe
  • Cardboard (for Elizabethan collars, prevent self-mutilation of injuries, and temporary splints)
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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

  • 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.


Isobella on March 07, 2018:

The ramps and shelves in my chinchillas cage are plastic and slippery. What type of material can I apply to the plastic to make it easier for her to climb and what (adhesive) would I apply it with?

Kota on April 13, 2012:

My chin Dilla acts fine, but one day his eye just had liquid coming from it. He has it open. Im taking him to the vet. Just worried it might be his teeth. I've been told that can be deadly to them. Is there a chance this could be nothing?

jose on March 20, 2012:

my chinchilla had a baby a month ago and i was wandering if i could the baby and the mother their dust bath

Rin on November 05, 2011:

My chinchilla ate part of a plastic bag the size of a hand , he is acting normal & eating though I think he might be itching his stomach Im not sure if i need take him to the vet or if there is some kind of medication to help his digestion?

Julie on October 08, 2011:

I have a question? well a couple. my water bottle leaked so i bought a new one, and that started to leak to. is there anything else i can put in there for there water? i cant put a bowl they will jump in it, the bottle works like a charm but it leaks anything i could do? my chin fell off the top shelf thing by his food, and with the bottle leaking, i don't know if he thought he was wet but he went into a panic we started kicked on his back, well he started kicken up the wet shavings. well long story short i grabbed him and he closed his eyes i thought he was gone. but he opened his eyes again and started looking around. and now its like hes completely out of it like. he isn't running hes walking, i haven't seen him eat or drink anything, hes just laying around. I am really worryed bout him. is he gonna be ok? i been keeping like a really close eye on him. should i take him out of the cage for a couple days. nothings broken. he could be really sore and i would be too. please help i don't know what to do?

luke on September 11, 2011:

Hi, I have two chinchillas, a male and a female and I've noticed that the male has a fur-less bump under his chin. It was not there 2 weeks ago. What is it?

dakota on August 19, 2011:


I've noticed that my chinchilla Dumbledore, has been sneezing? a clear stuff comes out, but it's been going on for a while. I can't afford a vet, and I don't know what to do! Is he ok? He is eating, drinking, bathing, and eating treats, his fur seems normal...I don't know what to do. ANy over the counter treatments because thats all I can do.

nicole on August 10, 2011:

Hi please help I have two chinchillas I've Had them 2 yrs but I've noticed one as a bald spot on tail and the other looks thin haired around the tail.

anon on August 05, 2011:

Just take your animals to the vets. don't get pets if you cant or don't want to seek veterinary advice

Gloria on May 21, 2011:

Hi. I have 4 chinchillas. A male and female & their two female babies. The female adult (1 1/2 years old) seems to be getting skinny all of a sudden. I can feel her spine and legs very easily. She has never felt like that. Any ideas? She eats, poops, pees, drinks, & plays normally. She seems to be shedding a bit, not big clumps.. but still shedding.

Josh & Kristl on April 24, 2011:

It is very kind of you to share your knowledge of chinchillas with us worried parents. We noticed a little over a week ago that our chinchilla began coughing, behaving less robustly, and stopped eating. We immediately took her to the vet the next morning, had blood tests and an x-ray done--all of which were normal, and so was her weight--and she has been on Enro and Benebac ever since. When we told the vet, a few days later, that she wasn't getting any better, the vet put her on Prednisolone, too. For a time, she would only stay on the bottom of her cage, then only at the top level, but now she is moving throughout the enclosure, just not as hyperactively as shed used to. She will still eat sunflower seeds and raisins, but not her food or timothy hay. Her symptoms include coughing/sneezing, lethargy, lack of appetite, a slight discharge of the right eye (she had discharge problems of that eye in the past, and when we applied ointment from the vet, it cleared right up), and doesn't appear to be drinking much water. Any help would be immensely appreciated. Thank you.

shaneda on April 14, 2011:

I just got two chinchillas and do you know what a could be causing the females eye to be like it seems as if it has the fur around it but it is thin?

Christine on April 08, 2011:

Found out that my chinchilla was in liver failure. Vet gave me tetracycline to give him and it worked. 30 day course, twice a day.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 21, 2011:

Seek assistance of a qualified vet who is familiar with chinchillas.

Chris on March 20, 2011:

What should I do!? I accidentally pulled of the tip of the the tail itself but the skin portion... X(

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...

Jana on February 28, 2011:


I´ve had my chulin for 5 years now - about a month ago he started losing the fur around his eyes and in the front of the head - . I took him to the vets and they said it was fungi and gave him injection and something to put on the skin but I don´t thing he is improving so I want to ask -Tonya what was the diagnosis of the vets for the female and what meds did they give her ? and what about the male now ? is he better

mdoty25 on February 21, 2011:


My family and I just bought a chinchilla about 2 weeks ago and tonight while we had him out of his cage he look a big jump and hurt one of his front arms. He is protecting it and holding it in against his body but he is still hopping around fine and eating fine. How can I tell if his poor little arm is broken or its sprained please give me an idea of what to do to help him.

Tonya on February 19, 2011:

I have two chins and the male I have had for about 3 years. His hair is looking really shaggy, I'm worried because I got a female the same time as him and she started to go bald. I took her to the vet and they gave her meds and a month later she died. He isn't going bald but it looks like he does when his hair is loose about ready to fall out but if you lightly tug on it, its still attached. His diet hasn't changed, he's active and no behavior change. Any thoughts?

kmc1976 on February 11, 2011:

my chin's tip of his tail was pulled off, what do I do to make sure he is ok.

Christine on January 19, 2011:

This disoriented chinchilla stuff is tough. I have a robust chin that acts loopy at times. He eats his timothy pellets and timothy hay like he should and drinks regularly. He only gets shredded wheats as treats. He can be disoriented for up to an hour and then act as if nothing is wrong. Im going to do blood work soon, but in the meantime, what can be done?

Muppet on January 16, 2011:

I accidentally steped on my 2-year-old chinchilla and he now has a hip dislocation.. :( i took him to the veterinary shool's hospital where they have specified doctors, we took x-rays and the doctor is supposed to put the hip back to its right location. He told me to keep my chinchilla in a smaller cage for a week and hopefully it will get back healthy. This happened last Friday, and until now my chinchilla still can't walk properly and keeps his hurt feet in the air, but is eating normally. Should I wait for the 7 days to pass and then get him to the vet again? How much time should i give to my chinchilla to heal? And, will it ever be healed??

Thank you very much.

bethany on January 15, 2011:

i just noticed today that my chinchillas (marley) top part of her ear is flopping slightly over the other ear still stands up straight what does this mean?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 13, 2011:

I would recommend a vet familiar with chinchillas and exotic pets.

Rosa on January 12, 2011:

my chinchilla has one eye that has about a half a centimetre round and white circle. He is eating and acting normal and there is no weeping from it. What should I do.

`lucy`b on December 31, 2010:

My chin is a 3 year old male. He is usually very cheeky and excitable but today he was being quite slow and not himself. He seems to be off his food and he is making some strange grinding noises. Can you help?

wade on December 29, 2010:

what's wrong when Chinchilla can't stand up and falls over when trying to walk and also not drinking??

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

If the chinchilla is underweight, you should see a vet. If the chinchilla is just small, but of a good weight, then you don't want to force feed and cause obesity.

If the chinchilla is drooling, you need to see a vet as it is a problem with the teeth.

sutton on December 11, 2010:

I have a 4 year old chinchilla that I bought at a pet store. She is a runt so she is very small( only a little over a pound, around 460 in grams) I have been trying to get her to gain weight. ( any suggestions?) but recently she has started drooling when she eats. She still is playful and active and has no loss of appetite but I just wanted to see if there was anything that would cause drooling that is not malocclusion. thanks

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

A vet needs to see him.

chinchillahaving"seizures" on December 08, 2010:

hi. my aunt has a chinchilla who is throwing himself back like hes having seizures and were all confused. He has a cage by himself since the female had to be separated from him due to her having babies. All of the chinchillas were let out of the cage and instead of running around playing like the rest he just sat in a corner and threw his head back. My aunt picked him up and soon after he stopped. Is he sick or stressed?? should he be checked by a vet?? we don't know what's going on with him.

KKenny on October 16, 2010:

Hi, My chinchilla coat is looking unkempt and dull. He is still eating, moving appropriate etc. We give him regular dust baths, but are unsure what is wrong. The other chinchilla in the family is fine.

pamela on October 12, 2010:

yesterday my chin has started showing signs of limpness now her back end seems to b away, Instead of hopping around as normal she is flopping from side to side i am giving her meta cam at the moment but don't want her to suffer. SHE IS WET UNDERNEATH SO I M PRESUMING SHE IS UTINATING WHERE SHES LYIN. i don't have a vet near that deal with chins but the only way i can get her to drink is by feeding her through a syringe

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 02, 2010:

Is the vet familiar with chinchillas? depending nowhere the bones broke, there isn't anything you can do but keep the Churchill calm and low key. Try putting the animal in a smaller one level cage so it cant can't jump and run around

Paula on September 01, 2010:

My Grandaughters 4 mos old baby chin has broken her pelvic bone in half. We have no idea how this happened. She was fine at bedtime last night and dragging her leg today. She went to a vet for exotic animals and she xrayed her. The vet says there is nothing to do but wait and see if she lives. Any granddaughter helped deliver this baby and is extemely attached so they really do not want to put her to sleep unless necessary

Lorena13 on August 04, 2010:

Hello my chiny hasn't been eating, won't take her dust bath, and has been hiding out in her house.I'm not sure if i injured her(let her on my bed and she tryed to get down and i grabbed her tail so she wouldn't fall)stupid i know was just my reaction.Can they be jealous because i just got a disabled guina pig and his cage is next to chiny.Could this cause behavior changes.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 02, 2010:

I would find a vet to see if the chinchilla has an eye infection.

Kim on August 01, 2010:

My daugher was given two chinchillas (last Tuesday) by a family that had several. They are sisters and have been close. One has an eye that is closed today. Should we be concerned?

Thanks for all the helpful information!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 31, 2010:

You absolutely need to get the chinchilla on a good chinchilla diet. Mazuri is probably one of the best that you could purchase. Do not feed anything other than a chinchilla food.

Brenda on July 30, 2010:

My nephew got a chinchilla for Hanukkah and was not paying attention to him so my sister gave him to me!! I am so excited because I have wanted a chinchilla forever. He came home yesterday seems to be settling into his environment very well (same cage and stuff so that made the transition easier). Something I noticed while he was still at my sisters is the hair on his back near his tail. There is a strip in the shape of a v that is thinner and shorter, with the point toward his tail. It extends from tail to mid back.

He has a very large cage that is actually made for ferrets (approx 4'Hx 3'W), , so lots of exercise (he was probably not taken out of cage as much as he should have been but that will change :) ), he is fed a diet of a mixture between rabbit food, calf manna and rolled oats (recommended by the breeder), and appears healthy in all other ways. His poop has been normal since arriving. He seems to be scratching a lot (he gets daily dust baths)My sister fed him daily treats which I will not do. He got completely natural banana chips and cheerios several times a day. He has an active but very sweet temperament.

Ok, I think that's everything you may need to know :)Just wondering if you have any ideas on the strip of hair and if it is something to be concerned about

Tonya on July 30, 2010:

Umm hi my chinchilla is about 2 yrs 7months and about two weeks after I got her she started losing her hair and it started getting all patchy so I took her to the vet they said it was because of stress so I have done everything to try to keep her stress free does anyone know any good methods to reducing stress levels ?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 26, 2010:

Just let mom take care of them, and take the male out of the cage, she can get pregnant again right away.

Judy on July 26, 2010:

hi my chinchilla just had 3 babies yesterday and i need to know how to tell if they are getting enough to eat?

also is there anything i need to do? or just let mom look after them.thanks please let me know.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 22, 2010:

You may need to decrease the dose of the pain meds. It could be basically knocking him out. If the fracture isn't able to heal on its own, you may have to consider amputation. You should have a followup with your vet to re x-ray the fracture.

Sheila on July 21, 2010:

My chinchilla (Rush) recently got his front toe stuck in a crack in his cage. When I found him he was just hanging there. I'm not sure how long he was there. I took him to a vet and he took x rays and said he fractured a small part of his shoulder probably from squirming around. We have him on a painkiller from the vet but his front hand looks lifeless. He lost part of his one toe but no broken bones in the hand or arm. Do you think he will get his feeling back in his hand or should I be concerned about it. Any advice you can give me will help alot. Just not sure what to look for or how to know if amputation should be an option??

Wendy on July 20, 2010:

My 3-year-old chinchilla Yoda had stopped chewing and I noticed him drooling and he lost some weight. I took him to the vet, the operated and filed his teeth and I brought him home yesterday. He is still drooling and not chewing. Will it take a little while for him to get back to normal? He is active, dusting etc. But I am anxious for him to start chewing again. He also does this weird thing when I put is his food bowl, he digs through it and all the food goes flying but he doesn't seem to be eating any of it. Until a month ago he was very healthy. I just very worried and want him to be better.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 08, 2010:

It is good that you tried early to get help. Depending on how poor the health was, it would be hard to determine whether or not the chinchilla would have made it.

dawn on July 07, 2010:

thank's for you answer,my chinchilla was under the vet's care he had an operation in nov 09 on his teeth because they were growing the wrong way then he was alright till three weeks ago he began losing weight so i took him to the vet, he had two operation's in two week's on his teeth put he developed a abcess in one of his teeth he was still with the vet for five days after the operation he was on critical care food and then the vet said he was to weak to have the operation i'm so sad i wonder whether he would of survived the operation thx again.

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

I have not heard of this. I'm sorry you had to put him down. It is a sad thing to have to do, but it is better than him suffering. Next time, if you get another chinchilla, you will know to get early vet care versus later.

dawn on July 06, 2010:

my chinchilla had a abcess in his mouth which traveled up to his eye which caused his eye to pertrude the vet said he was to weak to opperate he said it would be best to put him to sleep,is this normal for a chinchilla he was 4 any comments would be appreciated thx,

SadKirby on May 30, 2010:

Last night when our Chinchilla Kirby was getting out of cage time he got himself into a recliner and a guest sat in the chair. I immediatally heard Kirby running around in/under the chair and began to panic. We flipped the chair and saw Kirby flailing about as if he were seizureing, then became relatively still when went to handle him. He clearly appeared to have something wrong with him so we rushed him to the emergency vet. They didn't xray but said they couldn't feel any fractures etc. His behavior improved a bit but he still wasn't lively in the slightest so they gave him some metacam an oral chin pain killer. He has been sleeping since then, about 16 hours except when we wake him to make sure he is alert. When we get him walking he staggers and doesn't have the 'hop-walk' style that is normal. He sees his Chin Vet in two days. I'm wondering if these meds are still affecting him and that is to account for his behavior or if we should be concerned with other issues. Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 03, 2010:

It could have been a seizure, which may or may not show any results with bloodwork. I would recommend the bloodwork anyway because you never know. Without having seen what happened, it is hard to tell you what it could be. I would recommend the vet just in case.

Rax on May 01, 2010:

Hi so I have a chinchilla his name is Merlin male and is about 10 years. I have had him since he was a baby. He has only been to the vet once for a serve cold he got last year. Through the years I have had him he has pasted out a few times. I thought it was maybe from stress or temp change because I know that can happen. Well a few days ago my roommate saw him on his side laying in his cage on his cooling stone and she said that his leg was twitching and when he would get up he acted like he could not get his balance almost like he was drunk. After a few minutes he was fine back to himself. What she explained to me was what I have seen Merlin do in the pasted. I called the vet and they suggested bringing him in for blood tests. I just want to know if there is something else I could be doing because I would rather avoid taking him in I will if I have to I of course will. Could he be having seizures or missing something in his diet?

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

No pet store really has their animals checked by a vet unless there is something wrong. That is a major lie that pet stores have in attempts to sell you animals that may or may not be healthy. You will find that most animals from many stores are going to be sick. The baby probably caught the paw on something, which could have cut the paw. Keep a close eye on it, and if the mother will let you, try to keep the wound clean to avoid infection.

Keep in mind if the baby ends up a male, you will need to house it in a different enclosure. It will breed with mom, and it's not ideal to do that, especially with minimal experience with the species to begin with.

nick on April 22, 2010:

my chinchilla that i bought from the pet store like a month ago just had a babie today. I thought it was supposed to be vet assured that they were safe... apparently they didn't check if this one was pregnat. i havn't done much the babie just follows the mother around . but i notice that it's front right paw is hurt. It only has one finger and it was bleeding... any suggestions? i want to keep the baby its really dope.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 22, 2010:

Is it like a scratch or a bump? He could have just irritated the area. Definitely keep an eye on it to see if it is expanding or if it starts to go away. If you notice that the area is getting bigger or wider, you want to try to find a vet who is familiar with chinchilla health and see if he can diagnose it. For now, I would just watch it, especially if the chinchilla isn't having any behavioral changes.

Andy on April 21, 2010:

I just noticed that one of my chins (Cunningham) has a big red mark on his ear. I never noticed it before. I keep them in a cool area, out of the sun, he's eating fine and pooping like a mad-chin. It doesn't seem to bother him. Still worried though? Any thoughts.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 19, 2010:

You could keep a watch on it, if you feel it's getting better. I would be worried about it because it's not a normal behavior.

raheela khan on April 19, 2010:

okay i will do but is it something to be worried about?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 19, 2010:

I would be a little worried. You may want to have the chinchilla checked out. Like I said, it could be something inner ear related.

Raheela Khan on April 18, 2010:

the baby is but recently she has stopped doing it as much.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 18, 2010:

Make sure that the male is in another cage.

The baby is going in circles or the mom?

The baby may have an inner ear problem that is affecting equillibrium.

raheela khan on April 17, 2010:

our female chinchilla gave birth to a baby last saturday, the baby seems very healthy. I did a check on the baby when it was a day old and seemed the baby didn't have a full grown tail. Its just a stub with fur on it. And as the days have gone on, it has been going around in circles (looks like its trying to get tail). The mummy chinchilla has had 6 babies before and all been very healthy. Is there anything to be concerned about?

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

It would reduce the stress on the chinchilla by leaving him at home. By taking him for a ride you are going to stress him out greatly.. The longer the ride, the more risk of stress and complication. You are best to just supplying him with enough food and water before you leave.

help on April 15, 2010:


i just have one question, i am going away for spring break for 3 nights, i talked to my grandma if i could bring my chinchilla to her house and she said it was fine, im not sure if that is that if i should or not, i don't what him to think i am giving him up or something. he currently is in my bedroom, should i just leave him be with pleanty of food and hay or should i bring him to my grandmas?

thank you!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

What is the name of the food? I would have a vet check him out and do a skin scrap. If it hasn't gotten any better, he may be bald soon.

Rose on April 07, 2010:

hes, not bald, he has a thin layer of fur left. and you cant see his skin underneath. for food we're feeding him the premium blend stuff that the cage we got for him came with. hes not using bedding, we have him in a wire cage that we got for chinchillas, he has severe places for him to rest his feet off of the wire bottom

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 03, 2010:

Is the are completely bald or balding? Or is the chinchilla just throwing hair?

What are you feeding him? What bedding are you using?

Rose on April 02, 2010:

We just got a chinchilla about one month ago. He has been doing great until the other day. His fur on both back sides is disappearing. What could be causing this?

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

Help, it don't think it was a calcium attack, but the treats won't hurt. Just keep treats to a minimum. Treats should not exceed 10% of the diet. Just one or two treats a day. I think that the chinchilla just didn't gauge the distance and height, the gasping for air and not moving at first was just effects of the fall.

unsure, I wouldn't rely on pet stores for information, as you found out they're not familiar with all animals, and in a lot of cases, they're not familiar with proper care and health with what animals they do know. It could be stress, health condition, or just personality. I had one chinchilla that hated being handled and was quite ornery, whereas the other two were friendly. I would start slower with that chinchilla, so that he can gain trust in you. Do not rush him into liking you or enjoying your interaction, as it can cause the chinchilla to become more anti-social.

unsure... on March 24, 2010:

I have a pair of male chinchillas that i got from someone online. they're about 7 months old. the one is doing great. he is calm and very easy to handle. the other has in the past couple days become irritable. he makes noise when he is picked up and actually bit both me and my boyfriend. i tried to ask a small animal person at my local pet store but he wasn't familiar with chinchillas. would there be a reason my little guy has become so irritable? would it be maybe just stress?

Help on March 24, 2010:

Thank you so much for writing me back,

Walter was running really fast and he skid and fell, my dresser isn't reallt that high, so i don't know, after he fell i looked and he was running fine, i assumed that none of his bones were broken, he just like stopped and then he started doing the gasping thing, i have also gotten him chinchilla treats that are calcium related so if it was a calcium attack, he wont have them anymore :)

thank you so much for your help! :)

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 24, 2010:

Jessie, no the tail shouldn't be like that. It could be a past injury. I would recommend a vet who is familiar with chinchillas to xray the tail and check the teeth.

Help, chinchillas do not have a good sight perception, the chinchilla could have just fell off and really hurt himself. Depending on what you are feeding, it may have been some sort of deficiency, but it's not as likely. They are prone to bone breaks and respiratory conditions, but it's hard to tell what caused the fall and what exactly happened, since you didn't take the chinchilla to the vet.

Help! on March 22, 2010:


about a year ago my chinchilla, walter, fell form my side table, he froze for a moment and then he became as flat as a pancake, we put him back in his cage, he started to lift up his chin and he opend his mouth really wide, almost like he was gasping for air, within a few hours, he started to walk, he would tip to the side and then go into another episode, within like 1o hours he was back to normal, like i said it has been a year now and he is happy and healthy again, i would just really like to know what may caused this to happed, i looked and someone told me that he may have had a calcium attack, or the fall stunned him, but like i said he is back to normal, and has never done that before, i would just really like to know what happed.

thank you!

Jessie on March 22, 2010:

Hey Whitney

I recently just got two chinchillas from someone i found online so i don't know how good their health is. One of them seems to be fine, his fur is really nice and is active but the other one won't eat and looks really thin. His coat is also looking kind of saggy, also I just noticed that the tail seems to be bending at the middle. Not the usual bend but kind of sharp and it's close to his body. For the not eating thing I researched a bit and it's most likely to be overgrown teeth but I can't hold him and check for myself yet since I don't think he likes me very much. What do you think is wrong with the tail or is it supposed to be like that?

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

If the vet isn't a familiar with chinchillas, I don't know how highly I'd trust their word. Also, just because that may have been the case with her, doesn't mean that's also your chinchilla's issue. You should really see a vet to make sure that nothing is wrong with the chinchilla. They do not normally chew on themselves.

Oh I understood you perfectly fine before, which is why I said that with proper food there shouldn't be any problem with a mineral deficiency.

Anya on January 25, 2010:

Sorry if I wrote the question wrong, i am not english. he was chewing of his legs/bones in his back, not the fur.

And the animalhospital told her it was because of some vitamins/minerals he didn't got through the food. The brand is called Bello pellets. A sweedish brand wich is one of the best brands in scandinavia.

But to try to explane a little bit more.

Because the chinchilla didn't got what he needed, he got paralyzed in the back of his body and then chew of his legs. So to be sure this don't happened to other chinchillas they had to get a special powder in their drinking water. Because this is something very important for them the mountains and we can't give them enough of it only throug the food. I hpoe this was more understandable :)

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

It's usually a stress factor. I've never heard of them chewing their fur to get minerals from the dust. It's usually going to be a stress factor. What brand of pellets? They're not all good brands.

anya on January 24, 2010:

I am trying to find some information about chinchillas who have chew of their own legs. I know about a girl who had a chinchilla and he chew of his legs, maybe because he was paralyzed. I have asked around and no one can tell me anything about it. the girl who had this chinchilla said that the chinchilla didn't got enough minerals/vitamins or something similar powder in his water. Something that they got in the mountains they're from but not throug the food we give them. He got pellets special made for chins.

So I really hope I can get an answear here!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 19, 2010:

He may see exotic animals, but is he familiar with chinchillas? If the scratch became infected, that would cause the inflammation. Otherwise, I'm not sure what it could be.

Megan6B on January 18, 2010:

Well, she doesn't really tilt her head. She just holds her ear to her side and the only other time she puts her ears down is when she is sleeping. The vet that I went to said that he saw exotic animals. I've known him for a very long time and he has always been a good vet. He told me that if her ear doesn't stop bothering her, that I could put some ear drops in it but I don't believe she has an ear infectiong b/c there isn't any discharge and that's what the drops would be used for. He also said that the scratch could cause the fever. Is it normal to just get inflamed like that though just b/c of a scratch?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 18, 2010:

The scratch could cause a little fever in the ear causing it to be a little warm. As for holding her head downward, I'm not sure. Did you use a vet familiar with chinchillas?

Megan6B on January 18, 2010:

Hi Whitney,

My little chinchilla, ChiChi, is 8 months old and I've had her for a month now. She's very active, eats very well, I keep the temp below 75 degrees at all times and her cage is always clean. For the past few weeks, I've noticed that she favors her right ear by holding it down next to her head while the other ear is perked up like normal. I made sure to examine her ear and it is warm but it seems to flare up as it is not always like this. There is no discharge whatsoever $6 and I also took her to the vet and he said that there was a small scratch in her ear probably caused b/c they were dry and itching her. I put mineral oil on them to moistin them up for her but it still seems to bother her. Could a scratch be the cause of her ear being warm? And like I said, it's not always like this. It seems to bother her more in the evening and that's when I notice her holding it down and it's warmth. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for her. Thank you!!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 21, 2009:

There's nothing you can do by yourself. You need to find a vet who can do an xray and treat the chinchilla. Chinchillas have very fragile skeletal systems, and can be harmed easily.

Cblguy on September 19, 2009:

my son has gotten a 10mnth old male chin he calls him chewy anyway he tried to squeeze through a small space and i think he has dislocated one of his hind legs now there is no vet in our area that can treat a chin what can we do is there any thing we can do our selves to help him get better we just got him he took a liking right away to my son we have had him for a week now and we don't want to loose him we have all taken a liking to him do you have any answers for me plz

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 17, 2009:

You don't necessarily have to take them to the vet for checkups unless you're noticing problems. If you feel the need for regular checkups, try once a year or every 6 months whichever you prefer or your vet recommends. Just remember to find a vet qualified to see chinchillas, not many are.

Tiffany on August 17, 2009:

How often should a chinchilla go to the vet for a check up?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 14, 2009:

That could be something to worry about. You should keep an eye on it

Grace on August 14, 2009:

I have a chinchilla and ive just notced the top of his tail looks like its thinning. Os this a healthproblemdo you know? or just that his tail is not as bushy anymore htanks

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 31, 2009:

A vet needs to diagnose the problem. She could have strained or broken the leg in the cage. Chinchilla's skeletal systems are very fragile and their bones can break and fracture easily.

Amy on July 31, 2009:

I have a female chinchilla that seems to be favoring one of her legs. She won't walk on it at all. Not sure what to do... I have only had her a couple of months.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 07, 2009:

I'm not sure what it could be. Has the chinchilla been chewing lately? Does it have a cage mate? Is it allowed to play with other pets? Are they bumps or sores? I'd say a vet would best be able to diagnose the concern.

Olivia on July 07, 2009:

My poor baby has two red bumbs that look swollen. She has one on each big toe. I think I will take her to the vet, but it still worries me alot. What could it be?

Gunkel on May 20, 2009:

Hello Whitney - I just found this site several days ago and I'm enjoying it very much - almost as much as I enjoy my little chin friend "Furry"! Guess I'm very lucky as he is a healthy and happy. I'm very carefull as to the foods I offer him, and I've wondered if puffed rice is ok for chins. This is the first site I've come across with questions and answers. My little buddy is around 6yrs. I've had him for about 2 1/2. p.s. Furry loves it when I sing to him - his favorite seems to be Somewhere Over the Rainbow - He'll come sit on my lap to be pet while I sing!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 11, 2009:

Anything that will spray into the air is going to be harmful. I'm not sure about the plugins that don't spray but still give off an aroma.

Kelly on February 11, 2009:

I notice you said Fabreeze is harmful to Chinchillas... what about things such as glade plugins? Will they hurt their respiratory systems as well?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 13, 2008:

You'll only see slight symptoms unless the chinchilla is really bad off. They typically disguise their syptoms until the very end when they can't any lonJust look for anything out of the ordinary.

lorie on December 12, 2008:

i have a chinchillia. She is 4 years and 7months.she is gray.I have known more about her,she been learning me.I Do appreciate your first aid and health tips on chinchillia.She has been doing good so far.I Known what to do if she gets ill or broken bones.She my lover little girl.I need to known how i can tell if se is sick or broken bones.she more like a dog wants to be loved all the time in life.

Stacie Naczelnik from Seattle on February 07, 2008:

I appreciate your first aid and health tips, but I don't have one...or know anyone who is. I just wanted to say that the pictures are so cute! If I didn't have rambunctious cats, I would be tempted to go to the pet store.

tommiller on February 07, 2008:

Great post,

I love what you say about alternative medicine for Chinchillas.

You make learning fun.

Keep up the good work,


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