Chinchilla health

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Common health problems to look out for in chinchillas:

- Heatstroke, chinchillas are very prone to overheating so make sure that the room they're housed in stays nice and cool. An air conditioner is a great investment for chinchilla caregivers

- Fur rings, male chinchillas sometimes get fur caught around their penis. Most boys will regularly clean themselves but some will need assistance from their human to make sure their penis stays fur-free. If they have a fur ring it can cause their circulation to be cut off which can cause severe trauma to the penis

- Respiratory problems, any clicky/snuffly breathing or sneezing will require a vet visit and likely antibiotics. Make sure your vet is chinchilla-savvy

- Dental issues, a lot of chins have dental issues. Sometimes it's genetic and sometimes it's from poor diet. To give them the best chance of avoiding problems make sure to feed them tons of high quality hay and avoid foods with the wrong calcium:phosphorous ratios. If their problems are genetic then diet won't prevent it. Oftentimes chins will need dental xrays to check their tooth roots, it's very common for their tooth roots to elongate and push up into their eye areas (watery eyes are a symptom) or push down through the bottom jaw (feeling bumps along the jawline are a symptom, but also decreasing appetite as it's extremely painful to eat with tooth roots elongating

- Matting, make sure to give them access to a high quality chinchilla dust to keep their coats clean. Never bathe them with water! Keep their substrate clean 

- Blockages, avoid cardboard or paper bedding because if that's ingested it can cause blockages in their digestive system which can be fatal

- Bumblefoot, chins can end up with sore swollen feet if their flooring is inappropriate. An enclosure where all the floor is fleece is not good because they need some rougher textures to keep their feet from becoming too soft and cracking. Some fleece areas are ok but other various textures are needed too to keep their feet tough. A good variety of textures would be kiln-dried shavings, terracotta pots, wood shelving, cork tunnels, rocks. Wire is not an appropriate flooring for chins and wheels should be solid, not wire

- Accidents, chins are fragile and shouldn't have anywhere in their enclosure where they could potentially fall a significant distance. Also take great care when handling chins, never let children handle them (the chins choosing to hop onto their knee is fine though, just no holding!)