Chins are generally healthy and strong. There are a
few things that you need to be aware of and know to watch out for however.
Like many rodents, chinchilla's teeth never stop growing.
For this reason, it is important to always provide them with things to chew on
that will help grind their teeth down like pumice stones and lots of wood.
If a chinchilla's teeth become too long, it will interfere with their ability
to eat. Symptoms of this include drooling, rubbing the mouth, watery
eyes and decreased food intake. If any of these symptoms should occur,
please consult a vet immediately.
A chinchilla's teeth, unlike human's, should be a
yellow/orange color. If the teeth are white, that indicates a calcium
deficiency and the chin should be seen by a vet quickly. Too see
pictures of healthy and unhealthy teeth, see the link to the left.
Male chinchillas can get rings of hair caught around their
penis. This will decrease blood flow and can cause serious health
problems and even death. For this reason, males should be checked for
hair rings periodically. Please see the link to the left for a video on
how to check for hair rings.
Chinchillas fur is so dense that they actually can not get
fleas. However, they can get fungus. For this reason, it is
important to make sure that they get proper dust baths periodically and that
they not be kept in a humid area.
Soft stools in chins are considered diarrhea which can lead
to serious health problems and even death. If you notice stools that are
squishy or mashed when the chins step on them, take all pellets away and only
give hay and water for a couple of days. You can give them a small
shredded wheat square, or a small piece of very dry, black, almost burned toast.
If the problem does not clear up in a day or two, contact a vet and have them
test for internal parasites.
Too many treats can lead to liver damage, which can be life
threatening. Please, give treats very sparingly!
Stress can affect a chin's health. Please understand
the nature of chinchillas and respect that. Let them sleep during the
day, try not to change environments too often, and handle them with care.
"Over loving" a chin can be just as dangerous as ignoring it.
This page will be updated periodically with new information. For other
information on chinchilla health issues, please see my links page.