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Vet Visits and Vaccinations

Vet Visits
In general, chinchillas are fairly healthy animals as long as they have a proper diet, clean water to drink and a clean, safe cage. If any one of these items is missing, the chinchilla’s life can be drastically shortened. However, even with the best of care, occasionally a chinchilla can become ill, injure itself, or chew on items which can cause illness, injury or even death. Add in the fact that chinchillas are very good at hiding illness and injury and can be severely injured or extremely ill before the owner realizes something is wrong and you have a need to get the chinchilla to the vet as soon as possible. You may only have hours or minutes to do so.

This chinchilla is having its
lungs and heart beat checked.
For these reasons, it is best to have an account with the local exotic’s veterinarian. This should be done prior to getting the chinchilla or within a few days of purchase. If this is not done and the chinchilla should need vet care, it could take days or weeks to get the next available appointment. More often than not, the chinchilla will die before it can receive the proper medical care. Establishing an account will often make it much easier and quicker to acquire the care the chinchilla needs.

At the initial visit, the veterinarian should check the chinchilla’s teeth to make sure they are the proper color and length, listen to its breathing and heart, check its eyes, ears, and coat for any signs of illness. Sometimes, the vet will suggest having blood work or x-rays of the skull done. These items can help establish a baseline for the chinchilla that can be used to compare with future findings. The blood work and x-rays are optional, but it would good idea to have them done.

Once the veterinarian has completed the initial visit, the vet may ask to see the chinchilla once a year for a checkup. This is fine, but not necessary. The reason for this is quite simple. Taking a chinchilla to a vet’s office is very stressful for the animal. Stress can weaken the immune system, causing the animal to become ill when it would have been just fine if it had not been taken to the vet. Most people only take their chinchillas to the vet when they suspect that something is wrong.

As previously mentioned, the average chinchilla is fairly healthy. They are kept in cages and have little to no contact with anyone other than the owner and their friends or relatives. This gives them little or no need for the vaccinations that are recommended for other pets. In most cases, the veterinarian does not even know how much vaccine is safe for a chinchilla or any idea of how the chinchilla may react to the vaccinations. If the veterinarian insists on vaccinations for a chinchilla, a different vet needs to be found.