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- It is important to have a complete physical exam by your veterinarian on your new pet and then annually.
- Your veterinarian will examine the eyes, ears, teeth, heart, lungs, and skin, and will palpate the abdomen and examine genitalia.
- A fecal (stool) examination is also recommended to check for intestinal parasites.
- Wire mesh cages may be used, but a solid floor must be provided to prevent foot pad injuries.
- Platforms should be provided to allow for exercise and arranged in a way as to prevent contamination of the food and water bowls with feces.
- Glass aquariums or plastic containers should be avoided due to poor ventilation. Wooden cages should be used with caution as these animals may chew through the enclosure.
- Paper-based bedding is recommended (Carefresh).
- Chinchillas may fight when housed together, with the females being the more aggressive gender. Unless in a breeding situation, solitary caging is recommended.
- Chinchillas do not tolerate heat or humidity well. They should be kept in a cool, dry, well-lit area with adequate ventilation. The optimal temperature is from 60 to 75 F.
Bathing with Dust Baths
- Dust baths should be provided several times a week to remove oil and dirt from the fur.
- There are many types of commercial chinchilla dust available.
- The dust bath should only be left in the cage for 15-20 minutes as excessive use may lead to eye problems.
Diet and Nutritional Supplements
- Commercially available chinchilla pelleted diet (www.oxbowhay.com instead of a seed mix because they offer complete nutrition.
- Timothy hay should also be offered as a source of dietary fiber.
- Alfalfa hay is regarded as a treat and should not be the only fiber source due to its high calcium content. Excessive consumption of alfalfa hay may lead to urinary tract problems.
- Treats should comprise no more than 10 % of the diet.
- Dried fruits and fresh vegetables are excellent treats for pet chinchillas.
- Fresh carrots, green vegetables, and raisins may be given in moderation.
- Large amounts of sugar in the diet can be detrimental to a chinchilla’s health.
- Fresh water should be available at all times. Water must be changed daily.
Common Medical Illnesses
- Like rabbits, guinea pigs, and other rodents, if chinchillas don’t have enough fiber in their diet intestinal problems will likely occur.
- In addition, overgrown molars can result from an improper diet or a lack of dietary fiber