Posts tagged bumblefoot
The Confusion about water and getting your chinchilla wet.

Happy July everyone!

For the month of June, three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. The large group of females are now officially off of maternity watch, so they are ready to move on. This group has been a financial drain, and summers are typically slow with regards to orders, so if you have considered placing an order with our online support store, now would be greatly appreciated. A special hug to those who have sponsored a chin or who are regular or repeat customers. Please spread the word.

Today I'd like to dispel some confusion regarding getting chinchillas wet. It's an often quoted blanket statement that one should NEVER get a chinchilla wet. The rationale being that their fur is so dense that they could acquire fungus, or contract a respiratory infection. Well.....yes, but...

This generality doesn't apply to sloppy drinkers or a chin that brushes up against a leaky water bottle. It doesn't apply to moisture from a freshly wiped cage. It doesn't apply to therapeutic soaks. It doesn't apply to a urine sprayed cagemate (or behavioral interventions using a spray bottle). It doesn't apply to high humidity in the air. It doesn't apply to letting your chin play with ice cubes or snowballs. I could go on and on.

The advice against getting a chinchilla wet refers to the fact that chinchillas do not take water baths. They take dust baths. A wet, moist or even soaking wet chinchilla will not turn them into a gremlin at midnight.

There are occasions where it is necessary to water bath a chinchilla. It should, however, be a LAST RESORT. We once had a chin surrendered who was so caked in urine, feces and snot that we had no choice but to gently wash him off. Another time was when a local customer's chin jumped into a lit oil candle. And we did have a chin with a case of bumblefoot so bad that she required daily foot soaks. Chins have been known to jump into a dirty toilet. (eww!) In each situation the benefits of soaking the chin outweighed the risks. Keep in mind that fur fungus is easy to treat and a respiratory infection is more likely to spread only if drafty or infectious conditions are present.

So relax. Enjoy your pet. Clean the cage thorougly with a damp cloth and come buy some chew toys and fresh, new ledges.  ;)

Happy September!

For the month of August, five (5) chinchillas were surrendered and twelve (12) chinchillas were adopted.

We have an exciting month coming up for September where we've actually signed up and rented a corner booth for the Virginia Beach Pet Expo. We're hoping to get the word out about chinchillas as pets. The last time we received a mention in the local newspaper we had a record adoption month with 24 adoptions! If the Expo goes as planned, we may actually succeed in re-homing the remaining 30 or so chins we have available for adoption right now.  Wish us luck!

And on a totally different note, we've had requests to assist with how to give medications to a chinchilla with fractured ribs. The shoulder hold used by veterinarians is not necessarily appropriate for chinchillas. It is common advice on pet forums to "burrito wrap" chinnies in a towel to give meds. This is also a risk of causing fractures. One poor rescue chin we received not only has a severe case of bumblefoot, but also has a broken tail from an improper burrito wrap when the owners tried their best to treat her.

So, we have some handy videos below to show how to administer eye drops and oral medications using the ear hold. Don't worry though, this is not painful for the chin. If it were painful or frightening, the chinnies would let out a squeal.

Happy August!

For the month of July, thirteen (13) chinchillas were adopted and eight (8) chinchillas were surrendered. Sounds good, right? Well...we've received an unusual number of medical cases lately. Roo, a chinchilla with bumblefoot was surrendered when her owners became overwhelmed by her condition and their life situation. Toast, an emaciated ebony girl came to us on death's door. She has since started eating and now has a little female friend to keep her company and encourage her to eat. Ginger, a fur chewed girl came in as part of a mixed group from a home without air conditioning! Her prognosis was also very grave, but has perked up, stopped chewing her fur and littered a sweet baby boy and girl. We’ve also received some of our most aged couple. A 15 year old brother/sister pair were surrendered when their owner was admitted to an assisted living facility. The brother/sister were not housed together and we were told do not get along. We have since found a male friend for the brother and are still working on finding a compatible friend for the female.

While we do generally have excellent community support and response to our search for just the right homes for these recycled pets, we still have many who have been waiting their turn for the perfect home. Some of the more troubled chins have been here for months, if not years. Our adoption fees cover but a small portion of our expenses necessary to care for the chinnies who come to us.

It's our store that makes it possible for us to continue doing the work we do to help families find new homes for their chins and help with medical expenses whenever possible. While we do not like to solicit donations, we're more than excited to offer new store items for sale. So with that in mind, we'd like to officially introduce our two latest chinnie chew toys!!!! Whoo hoo!!!!

First is our Jacob's Ladder, made with 6 different kinds of chin-safe woods. While not technically "new" anymore, we never did an official release. *cough* My bad, sorry about that.

And finally, the one you've all been waiting for.... The one Whimsy has been so secretive about.... Our newest.....Chinchilla Piñata! This Whimsy original is a giant oversized willowball stuffed with the choicest hays, herbs, flowers and treats. Check out our store for more details and ordering information, and stay tuned for more future releases. ;) 


Bumblefoot, medically known as ulcerative pododermatitis, is an inflammation of the foot pads. It is most commonly found in captive birds and rodents. Chinchillas are most susceptible to Bumblefoot when exposed to housing conditions that are less than optimal.

Wire floored cages, or cages with wire shelves and ramps are hard on sensitive little feet and are often the culprits of this disease.  A chronically dirty cage is also one of the primary contributors of Bumblefoot. Where a chin is exposed to damp, dirty floors or where he/she is inclined to urinate in favorite spots and rest in the aftermath, these conditions are breeding grounds for bacteria that causes ulcers to form. Even a simple case of dry feet from unlimited access to dust baths can crack the foot pads and offer a doorway to this malady. 

Treatment for Bumblefoot is a long, laborious process and it is verypainful for the chin. The feet must be soaked several times each day to keep the area clean and supple. Epsom salts soaks, vinegar and water, colloidal silver, orprescription Chlorhexidine wash are the usual courses of treatment. Oral antibiotics and pain meds are normally prescribed in conjunction. Additional topicals like Blu-Kote, Silver Sulfadiazine, Bag Balm with or withoutfoot wraps are often applied after each soak. 

We had a chinnie surrendered this week with a very bad case of Bumblefoot on all four feet. The hind feet were especially ulcerated with a raging infection. The poor baby also had an infected eye and what originally looked like an ulcer on the base of her tail turned out to be a half healed bone break! The ownerstried to do their best, but treating a squirmy chin isn't easy.

Foot soaks can be simple and hands-free with this method: Fill a clean kitchen sink with a few inches of water and additives of choice. A weighted cooling rack or cage panel placed across the top of the sink will ensure the chinchilla receives all the healing benefits without the seemingly endless time it would take to hold the little bugger still. You can simply set a timer for 5-10 minutes and allow the chin to safely debride. This is one of the few instances where it is necessary to get your chinchilla wet.

A modified burrito wrap allows for easy access to the feet without fear of a toothy retaliation. In this manner, you can apply additional ointments or creams, or get a better look at the healing process. This little chinnie seems to enjoy being bundled up. After each treatment we snuggle her like a baby to give her a few minutes off her painful feet.

Bumblefoot is a serious disease with painful and lengthy treatment. The absolute best course of action is preventative. Be sure your cage is properly set up for chinchillas, practice excellent husbandry management, and be alert to any changes in behavior or condition.