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4 Things Chinchilla Owners Need To Know About Diarrhea

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Your new chinchilla can develop a wide range of health conditions, including familiar ones like diarrhea. Here are four things chinchilla owners need to know about chinchillas.

Why do chinchillas get diarrhea?

Chinchillas can get diarrhea for many reasons, ranging from minor to serious. Dietary changes are a common cause of diarrhea, so avoid straying from the recommended diet of hay and pellets. Unlike other small pets, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, chinchillas shouldn't eat greens as they will get diarrhea from these foods. A small amount of herbs are fine as an occasional treat, but avoid all other greens.

More serious causes of diarrhea include intestinal disorders caused by bacteria, parasites, or other pathogens. Your chinchilla may get one of these disorders after eating food that is contaminated or spoiled or by coming into contact with an infected chinchilla.

What are the signs of diarrhea?

The signs of diarrhea are fairly obvious: you'll see loose or watery stools in their cage. These stools may contain blood or mucus. Chinchillas with diarrhea may show additional symptoms like lethargy, a loss of appetite, or weight loss.

When should you worry about diarrhea?

If your chinchilla only has diarrhea for one day, you don't need to worry and can treat them at home according to Chinchillas: A Guide for Caring for Your Chinchilla. To keep your pet from becoming dehydrated, you can add a small amount of oral electrolyte solution (many brands are available) to their water. You can also give your chinchilla one piece of shredded wheat cereal, though make sure its unsweetened.

If your chinchilla's diarrhea continues for more than one day, it may be a sign that something more serious is wrong with your pet, so you'll need to take them to a vet.

How do vets treat diarrhea?

No matter what caused the diarrhea, the treatment is similar. Increasing the amount of hay in your pet's diet and decreasing their pellets and treats will help to harden up their stools. Re-hydrating your pet is also incredibly important as diarrhea leads to fluid loss. Your vet will try to give your pet water through a syringe or an eye dropper, and if your chinchilla is too sick to drink, the fluids will be given by injection, instead.

After your pet has been stabilized, your vet will perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the diarrhea. These tests may include stool cultures to determine if any bacteria or pathogens are present. Antibiotics or other appropriate medications will be prescribed if the diarrhea is caused by an illness.

If your new chinchilla has diarrhea that lasts for more than one day, take them to a vet to find out what's wrong. 

For a vet in your area, contact a company such as Rivers Animal Hospital vet.