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?
We've received an unusual number of calls and emails concerning chinchillas with mushy stools. Many times this is due to a sudden change in diet, treats that are much too rich, too many of the chin-safe variety, stress, and pathogens.
Home interventions work with all but pathogenic causes. The usual course of action is to stop all treats and encourage the chin to eat plenty of hay (even to the point of withdrawing regular feed pellets). In more extreme cases, bite sized shredded wheat cereal (without the sugary frosting) will help firm the stools. But use with caution! Only give 1/2 to 1 mini square per day. More than that can actually throw the little chinnie's system out of whack in the other direction with constipation.
If your pet doesn't respond to home intervention within 3-5 days time. If the poos become more soft or runny, has an odor, mucus, blood or if there is notable weight loss, a visit to the vet is necessary.
Recently we've gotten word from owners who's chins have tested positive for coccidia, cryptosporidian, and clostridium. Many times these parasites are passed from contaminated food and water. If your feed is fresh, suspect your water source. Some pathogens survive city water treatments, chlorine and bleach!
While we have never before had an issue with using tap water for the chins, this alarming trend is causing us to reconsider our stand on the matter. To be ultra safe, we recommend using reverse osmosis water for your chins drinking water.