Most common chinchilla diseases

The domestic chinchillas do not usually get sick if they are provided the essential care . It is essential that your chinchilla has a suitable shelter, dry, away from the drafts and well ventilated.

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The food should also be the correct one, since they have the delicate digestive system.

If you meet these requirements your chinchilla can live an average of 12 years, there are even cases that have exceeded 20 years.

Continue reading this article from YourCatCareguide to know all about the most common diseases of chinchillas .

You might also be interested in: A chinchilla as a pet

About chinchilas

Wild chinchillas are remarkably tough animals . Its natural habitat lies in the Andes, between 1500-3500 meters high. This implies that the radical climate that exists in that place forges a very solid health in all the animals that live in that rigorous environment.

The wild chinchilla in the Andean climate can be in full daylight at 40º when it is exposed to the sun, and at night it can be at -30º. This explains the high hair density of wild chinchillas.

The domestic chinchilla is a hybrid that comes from the only two species found in nature: the short-tailed chinchilla and the long-tailed chinchilla. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the failed attempts to create chinchillas in captivity for the fur market began.

Given the large number of hybrids with an extraordinary range of colors ranging from white to black, which chinchilla breeders produce for the pet market, today’s animals have little to do with their primitive ancestors. They are not so resistant to radical changes in extreme weather conditions, but precisely that weakness is their strength. They are much more adaptable to the warm climate and live much longer .


The alopecia or loss of can affect our chinchilla at various times in his life:

  • During breastfeeding, small chinchillas may tear at their mother.
  • Due to stress, to feel threatened or to an incorrect temperature.
  • As a consequence of mycosis.

As you can see there are different causes of hair loss that can affect your chinchilla, so it is important to consult the veterinarian and receive the proper diagnosis . Even if it is a ringworm you can also get to suffer from it because it is a zoonosis.

You can prevent this problem by regularly cleaning the cage of your chinchilla and offering sandbaths. Never bathe your chinchilla with water.


As we have already explained, the chinchilla is born in a place of contrasts: intense cold at night and hot temperatures during the day. Despite this, the chinchilla is a nocturnal animal since it avoids at all costs the hot sun .

If you have the cage of your chinchilla near a hot spot or it is summer this can suffer from a heat stroke. Do not expose it to more than 20 ° C.

If you notice your chinchilla lying flat, agitated or with thick saliva it is because it is having a heat stroke. You should act as soon as possible to avoid his death:

  1. Reduce the ambient temperature.
  2. Wrap your chinchilla with a damp, fresh towel.
  3. Call your veterinarian.
  4. Follow the vet’s advice.

You can avoid it by maintaining a correct temperature steadily, use a thermometer near the cage to be sure.


Diarrhea is common when you offer chinchilla foods such as lettuce (excessively high in water), poorly preserved or unsuitable foods. It can also happen with a change of feed.

If you find excessively soft or liquid stools that are unusual, it is best to consult the veterinarian since being a small animal can easily dehydrate and die. Consulting a professional makes sure that it is not a bigger problem like an infection or a bacteria.

Intestinal parasites

The parasites are usually a consequence of poor hygiene of the chinchilla cage. It can also happen to get you sick or get infected with other animals you have at home.

The most common symptoms are diarrhea, hair loss and discomfort.

In this case we also recommend that you consult the professional and inform yourself about the deworming that your rodent needs. It is very important to separate the chinchilla from the other animals you have at home.

Hair Rings

If you are trying to create chinchillas, an option not recommended if you are not an expert, it may happen that the male has hair around his penis forming a ring of hair. As a consequence you can choke.

Observe your male’s genitals on a regular basis and you can detect it if you see the penis protruding. If it has happened you can try to take it out yourself at home, but it should be very delicate not to hurt you.

Other diseases that can affect your chinchilla

  • Rashitis: It is a respiratory-like disease and can also affect humans.
  • Pasteurellosis: It is transmitted by bites and scratches and its symptoms are diverse. With proper hygiene you do not have to worry about the appearance of it.
  • Salmonellosis : It is common in rodents. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or enteritis, among others. It can be transmitted very easily.
  • Strep Pneumonia : It is caused by bacteria and can even cause meningitis.
  • Rabies : All mammals are susceptible to suffer from this disease, although it does not usually affect chinchillas. It is impossible to cure.
  • Ringworm : It is a very contagious skin disease (also to the human being), the symptoms are red parts hairless. See the specialist as soon as possible.
  • Malocclusion : It is the excessive growth of the molar. You should add a mineral supplement to the affected animals.

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest that you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles the less common chinchilla diseases we recommend you to enter our Prevention section .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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