Health Topics: Heat Stroke

How serious is it?

Serious to lethal.

What is it?

An overheated chinchilla, usually a result of too much high energy play time or prolonged exposure to temperatures that are too high. Chinchillas cannot sweat, and really have no internal mechanism to quickly cool themselves down.

How can I recognize it?

Hot, lethargic (unresponsive or slow to respond) chin.

In chinchillas with the beige gene, their ears will turn red when they get too warm.

How do you treat it?

Cool your chin immediately! A refrigerated cooling stone, cold water sprayed on the foot pads, and move to a much colder location. In a pinch, you can let your chin snuggle with a frozen water bottle to help him/her cool down.

How can I avoid this?

Chins do not handle temperatures above 70 degrees very well. If your environmental temps are close to this range, be especially careful when allowing your pet to play outside his or her cage. Prolonged playtime will raise your chin's internal temperature which can cause seizures and death.

Do not EVER put your chin in a plastic exercise ball (what we call, The Death Ball). They do not provide the air circulation necessary to keep your chinchilla cool, and they can overheat in mere minutes.

In the case of a power outage or if your air conditioning stops working, a fan will NOT reduce ambient temperatures. It simply mixes the air which reduces hot pockets in the home. Fans cool sweaty people, but since chins do not sweat, this is a useless remedy. Get your chin to a cooler environment. Come on people, don't you have any local friends you can count on for this?