How serious is it?
What is it?
How can I recognize it?
Do chins get it?
How do you treat it?
How can I avoid this happening?
Posts about this condition
As much as they may look like them, chinchillas are NOT bunnies. Although they are rodents, the natural arid habitat of the chinchilla calls for a diet that is totally different from your veggie-munching look-a-like. The chinchilla's diet should be very bland and very dry, high in fiber, low in protein, with virtually no fats or sugars.
Contrary to what many chinchilla books and even some ill-informed vets advise, their digestive systems cannot handle the moisture-rich content of fresh vegetables. And fresh fruits are a definite no-no. (Good Lord I have a lot of hyphenated words in this post)!
We received an emergency phone call recently from someone whose chinchilla was lethargic and unresponsive. When the owner said her chin wouldn't even eat her carrots anymore, that set off the alarm! I asked her if her chinchilla's belly was especially swollen and she was surprised that I knew.
Chinchillas can't pass gas, so if they eat fresh foods, the gas build-up can literally blow them up from the inside out. This condition is called bloat, and is life threatening. It can happen with the addition of the wrong foods, gorging on too many treats, or a sudden switch in diet.