Health Topics: Hunchback

How serious is it?

Hunchback is a symptom of a number of underlying diseases, which may be life-threatening.

What is it?

This is a general sign of ill health. A hunchbacked chin most often exhibits hunchback when the diet is much less than optimal. Poor nutritional intake may be in the form of not enough food, the wrong kind of food, nutrients that are not in the proper combinations or readily absorbed and other metabolic or digestive issues. The chinchilla is most often underweight when showing this symptom and is usually more pronounced with anorexia. It may be indicative of end stage fatty liver disease, or a result of advanced malocclusion preventing the chin from being able to eat enough or at all.

How can I recognize it?

A generally skinny-looking chinchilla, whose spine protrudes most noticeably behind the neck area so that it appears to be slouching.

How do you treat it?

Find out the underlying cause and treat that.

How can I avoid this?

Hunchback is almost always related to diet. We recommend keeping your chinchilla's care regimen as close to nature as possible. For food, this means plenty of hay, and absolutely no fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or added sugars.