Health Topics: Fatty Liver Disease

How serious is it?

Moderate to lethal.

What is it?

Clinically known as Hepatic Lipidosis, it is an accumulation of excess fat in and around internal organs.

How can I recognize it?

Fatty liver disease develops in stages; at first they appear fat and healthy, then over time continue to lose weight until they wither away to skin and bones.

How do you treat it?

It can be reversed if treated before clinical signs show. Feed copious amounts of high fiber foods such as hay, loofah and prepared chin safe woods. Avoid all colorful food mixes and sugary treats, and absolutely NO nuts or seeds.

How can I avoid this?

A diet high in fats or sugars is the leading cause of this disease. Chins who are given nuts, seeds, dried fruits or who often go without food for days at a time are prone to developing this condition. Prolonged malnutrition forces a chinchilla's system to convert sugars into fats for storage.

A chinchilla's natural diet is high in fiber, low in protein with virtually no fats or sugars. Chinchillas are hind gut fermenters and require unlimited access to to hay and other fibrous food sources. Pellets are considered a soft food and should not be their primary diet. Most cases of hepatic lipidosis come from pet owners who are either unaware of a chins dietary needs, or who kill their pet with kindness by feeding the wrong kinds of treats.