911: Signs Your Chinchilla Needs Emergency Care

Today’s just a great day. You’re getting everything you planned to get done finished. At the rate you’re going, you’re finally going to get ahead.

Bam!

Wouldn’t you know it? Just as you’re gearing up to get ahead, you look over at your little chin and notice something’s just not right.

Welcome to life as a pet parent, a life in which a health emergency pops up when you least expect it. And, your reaction to that emergency often means the difference between life and death.

Getting to know you...

Chinchillas are prey animals. That means, no matter how safe they are with you, their natural instinct is still to hide signs of illness. Prey animals can do a pretty good job of hiding illness until it’s too late for a veterinarian to do much.

That’s why it’s so important for you to get to know your chin. Know her daily habits. Her eating habits. Her personality. Maybe, for example, she runs up to nudge you every day at treat time. But, today, she just sits in the corner of her cage, not looking interested at all. That's a pretty big clue something is wrong.

Knowing your chinchilla really well will make it much easier for you to spot when she starts to feel under the weather. Then, you can take immediate action before things get worse.

Click here to read about spotting the early signs of illness in a chinchilla.

Signs of an emergency

Let’s take a look at the common signs that signal you need to get your chinchilla to a veterinarian immediately.

Lack of an appetite. Always keep an eye on your chinchilla’s eating habits. If you notice she hasn’t eaten within a 12 hour period, get her to a veterinarian immediately. She may be suffering from gastrointestinal stasis (GI stasis) or bloat, both of which can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Less poops and urine production than normal. Both can be a sign of stasis or bloat or something entirely different. Fewer poops and urine production than normal, as well as diarrhea, warrant a trip to the vet.

Suffering from an injury. If your chin has a wound, what appears to be a broken bone, or any kind of injury, consult with the vet as soon as possible.

Other signs that you need to hightail it to the vet include if your chin is:

  • Bleeding
  • Breathing through her mouth/struggling to breathe
  • Having discharge from the nose, the ears, or the eyes
  • Having seizures
  • Hunched over
  • Lethargic
  • Suffering from an intestinal prolapse
  • Unresponsive
  • Wheezing

Even if you aren’t sure if you’ve got an emergency on your hands, your safest bet is to contact your veterinarian for direction.

Chin-friendly vets 

Before you face an emergency with your chinchilla, take action now. If you don’t already have a chin-savvy veterinarian and an emergency veterinarian, find one of each as soon as possible. The last thing you want is to have to rush around to find a qualified vet in an emergency. Click here to read about how to find and build a relationship with a vet.

Moral of the story? Take action immediately if you suspect your chin is sick. Not sure if she's needs vet attention? Call the vet. Not sure what to do? Call the vet. Your chin's survival could depend on how quickly you react.

References:

Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital

Forever Feisty Chinchilla

Merck Veterinary Manual  

NC State College of Veterinary Medicine