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Chinchillas are generally very healthy creatures. They don't regularly need to go to the veterenarian or get any shots but you should locate a good exotics vet who is knowledgable in chinchillas in case you need one. I prefer to give my chins herbal, natural remedies whenever possible but there are times your vet may need to prescribe a medication. Just always be sure to give probiotics to your chin if you need to give him antibiotics. Antibiotics can kill the good bacteria along with the bad and probiotics help keep the gut balanced. Good probiotics are yogurt (give 1/8-1/4 tsp per day) and Pro-bac. You can purchase Pro-bac from pet stores and pet supply companies.
Here are a few potential heath issues to be aware of.

Chinchillas are very susceptible to heat stroke. They thrive best in temperatures between 50-70 degrees. Air conditioning or a fan is imperative during hot weather and/or times of high summer humidity. Keep air conditioning no higher than 75-80 degrees. If you don't have air conditioning a fan can be used but with caution. I use a fan for my chins and turn it on during high humidity and/or house temperatures above 75-80 degrees. I have it set about 3 feet from the cage & blowing on low. I have the fan angled so the air gets in the cage but is not blowing directly hard on them, which could cause a chill. If you have any worries about getting the right air with a fan you could buy a window air conditioner instead. Your chinchillas ears will begin turning red if he is getting overheated. The idea is to prevent your chin from starting to overheat because it's very hard if not impossible for them to cool down once they've gotten too hot.

Maloclussion is when a chinchilla's teeth do not line up properly. Maloclussion can be genetic but can also sometimes happen as a chin ages or because of some sort of mouth trauma or even from calcium deficency. Check your chinchillas teeth to be sure they are lined up properly. If they are not the teeth will continuously grow and cause the chin to be unable to eat or drink properly. This could lead to infection and/or him starving to death unless you intervene. A veteranarian can file or trim your chins teeth every month or so to keep them at a length where he can still eat and maintain a fairly normal life.

The feet of a chinchilla spending too much time on wire floors can get irritated and lead to a very painful infection called bumble foot. It is important to have places in the cage where your chin can get off the wire to rest it's feet. Wooden boards or plastic resting mats can be placed on the floor to provide much needed rest from the wire. I sell some really wonderful resting mats that are very easy to clean. They are listed on my Cages & Supplies page. A wooden sleeping house with a solid floor is also a good idea. You could also use a cage with a solid floor and line it with bedding (no cedar, though as it is highly acidic and can cause respiratory problems).

Unbalanced diet can cause numerous problems. One such problem is calcium dificency. A quick look at your chins teeth can tell you if his nutrients are appropriate. If his teeth are dark yellow or orange colored he is healthy. Pale teeth or white teeth indicate calcium dificiency. One way to fix this is a possible pellet change since your brand may not be properly balanced. Adding a vitamin and grain supplement (such as the one sold by Ohio Pet Chinchillas) to the diet can also be benefical. Calf manna is a great high calorie and calcium pelleted supplement as well. This is in the grain supplement and I sell it individually as well. Visit my Cages & Supplies page for more information. Calcium deficency can also cause other health problems such as maloclussion, discussed earlier on this page.

Poor nutrition can cause hump back. I was badly misinformed about chinchilla nutritional needs when I got my 1st chinchilla and was told I could feed him rabbit pellets. The poor thing developed a severe hump back from his diet not giving him the proper nutritional balance. I learned this when he was about 6 years old and I changed his diet to chinchilla pellets, after he'd been on rabbit pellets for about 3 years. I believe those years of poor nutrition caused irreversible internal damage and he only lived to be 11 1/2 years old, fairly young for a chin. Bad water can also cause hump back. I recommend distilled water and giving a vitamin and grain supplement along with your pellets. Once again, I purchase my vitamin and grain supplement from Ohio Pet Chinchillas.

Not enough fiber in the diet can cause constipation. Be sure your chin gets plenty of fiber from sources such as hay, applewood, and small amounts of dried papaya. If your chin gets plenty of fiber and still experiences constipation you can try giving a raisin or a few drops of prune juice. Be careful not to give too much of either, though since you could reverse the problem and end up with diarrhea instead. Diarrhea can be caused by too many treats, poor nutrition, illness, or bad water. You can try giving a small amount of oatmeal but severe diarrhea (or constipation) needs a veteranarian's attention.

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