Posts tagged water
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.  ;)

There's Something in the Water

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 whose 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.