Health Topics: Diarrhea/Soft Stool

How serious is it?

Very. Diarrhea or soft stools are very dangerous for chinchillas. They can quickly become dehydrated, prolapse their rectum or develop bloat.

What is it?

Diarrhea or soft stools is indicative of digestive parasites, or bad food. Rarely it occurs as a stress response.

How can I recognize it?

Mushy excrement which is not like the usual dry tic tac shape, size or consistency.

How do you treat it?

Depending on the cause. The first response is to stop giving anything to eat except for fresh cut,  high quality hay. Do not give pellets or treats. In severe cases where it is imperative to firm up the stools quickly, you can give 1 bite size shredded wheat cereal without the frosting. Activated charcoal or a tiny piece of burnt toast can help.

If the poos don't firm up within 24 hours, or if it is reoccurring, a trip to the vet may help rule out parasites. A negative parasite test does NOT necessarily mean your chinnie is parasite free. It just means that the vet did not find any buggies in that particular sample.

How can I avoid this?

Avoid sugary or high fat treats. Use reverse osmosis water to avoid passing on water borne parasites. Do not suddenly switch pellets. If the feed pellets are of the same brand, the batch may be the issue. Feed only hay until the stool firms up again.