Seizures are not common in chinchillas, but should be taken very seriously.

What is it? 

Seizures can cause involuntary changes in body movement or function, sensation, awareness, or behavior. A seizure can last from a few seconds to minutes.  Seizure is often associated with a sudden and involuntary contraction of a group of muscles. However, a seizure can also be as subtle as listing to one side or appearing "out of it".

What causes it?

Many things can cause seizures, including
infectious diseases, metabolic disorders (hypoglycemia), toxic substances, and certain bacterial, viral, and fungal organisms.  However, the most common cause noted in chinchillas is a sudden drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) caused by stress or overexertion and overheating. 

How to detect a Seizure

If your chinchilla has spasms in front of you it will be pretty obvious that its a seizure.  If you catch the end of this though and they are just listing to one side or kind of slumped over or just seeming sluggish, you might have a harder time figuring it out.  Though, if its over, typically it won't happen again. 

How to treat Seizures

Most often, you should wait until the seizure passes.  Usually they are short in duration and won't happen again.  However, if a chinchilla tends to have seizures at certain times, like whenever you pick them up or let them out to play, you need to do something.  If its these, its typically a loss in blood sugar.  Give the chinchilla a raisin or a half a raisin prior to picking them up, to elevate their blood sugar first.

If the seizure is lasting a particularly long time, you can take a q-tip dipped in light karo syrup (purchased in the pancake syrup section at the grocery store) and place it on the chinchilla's gums.  You use a q-tip because anybody having a seizure has no control over their muscles and may bite down and hurt your finger.  You put it on their gums to get it into the blood stream very quickly.

This should only be done in extreme situations, as you don't want to elevate the sugar too high either, that can be just as dangerous.

If a chinchilla tends to have seizures often and you cannot detect the reason or prevent them with a raisin, you need to take your chinchilla to a chin knowledgeable vet.

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