Can Chinchillas Get Bumblefoot? [It’s Real + How It Works]

Noticing some issues taking place on your chinchilla’s small feet can cause some worry and panic.

Especially if you have never been through this or seen this before since adopting your chin.

It’s a question that arises relatively frequently that I wanted to break down for you today.

Can chinchillas get bumblefoot? Yes, chinchillas can get bumblefoot. A chinchilla’s footpad will typically present as dry, slightly or severely cracked, inflamed and possibly bleeding when they have bumblefoot. Bumblefoot needs to be treated with chinchillas and can become severe and life-threatening left untreated.

That answers the basic questions and brings you in the loop about bumblefoot and that it is, indeed, a concern that can arise when you own a chinchilla.

However, that barely scratches the surface of the topic.

Luckily, due to a lack of great and in-depth resources on chinchilla bumblefoot, I decided to put everything together in this quick/brief 3-minute post on the topic.

This post from start to finish should have you up to speed on bumblefoot and in a great position to not only recognize bumblefoot if it occurs but also on how to provide the best care possible to your chinchilla when this situation does arise.

In fact, I’ve created easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire or need to learn more about.


Here’s what I intend on covering for you in today’s discussion:

As stated previously, if you only need limited information, feel free to skip around inside of this post and be on your way.

However, if you want and need all the details, relax for about 3-4 minutes and I’ll break down everything you need to know about chinchilla bumblefoot and have you going about your day.

Here is what you need to know.

How and Why Chinchilla Bumblefoot Begins

As stated previously, bumblefoot is a serious condition and can be alarming when first noticed with your chinchilla.

A quick summary of bumblefoot that’s more in-depth than the previous summary of the condition would be as follows: Bumblefoot is an infection or inflammation that occurs in the footpad of your chinchilla and within the connective tissue of the foot. In many cases, a callous will form and grow on the bottom of the feet.

The callous can crack and form further infection and ultimately penetrate deeply into the foot tissue which can ultimately reach the tendons and bones.

Therefore, treating the condition quickly is imperative.

Not doing so can result in further illness for your chinchilla, extreme pain and discomfort and potentially even death due to the bacteria and infections that can develop.

Not many chinchilla owners or experts have a direct answer as to what the definite cause of bumblefoot, but most believe that we, as chinchilla owners have some control and methods, we can implement to help prevent it from occurring.

One theory is that wire bottom cages should be avoided if possible.

It’s also advised that if the budget allows using fleece liners as your chinchilla bedding as opposed to aspen shavings.

Fleece liners provide much more comfort, a soft surface and overall will cause less pressure and pain for your chinchilla in the long run.

You can look at the exact fleece liners I’ve been using for two years here (Link to Amazon)

These are specially fit for the Critter Nation 2 Dual Level cages (Link to Amazon), but they are available for other cages as well.

To read more about the best bedding options you have for chinchillas, view my post here.

You can also read my post about the best cages you can purchase for your chinchilla here.

We will also discuss fleece liners one more time a bit further down in this post.

For now, let’s move along and cover how to spot bumblefoot so that you can act quickly when the problem arises.

Recognizing Chinchilla Bumblefoot

To notice bumblefoot in the early stages, your best course of action is to simply check your chinchilla’s paws/feet from time to time.

Check for dry skin, abrasions, bleeding and any callous.

Remember, in the beginning, it won’t be as severe so might be more difficult to notice without physically checking and inspecting.

Clearly, other indicators that you may notice could be any blood or physical signs of bleeding on your chinchilla or inside of your chinchilla’s cage.

For someone like me, who has a standard grey chinchilla and red fleece liners, this also becomes more difficult to notice.

Once again, we end up back at square one where the best method to find/notice and act quickly on any bumblefoot is to simply check your chinchilla’s feet while holding them.

If you are a newer chinchilla owner and need help with this specific task, you can read my post about how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held here.

This will help you get your chinchilla comfortable with being held early in your relationship which will ultimately make checking your chinchilla’s feet for bumblefoot, that much easier now and in the future.

How to Treat Chinchilla Bumblefoot

For transparency reasons, let’s clear one thing up before diving any deeper.

I’m not a vet.

However, I have owned a chinchilla for several years, gone through several scares and compiled all the information for you in one easy place to read.

So, here’s the deal, with treating bumblefoot in your chinchilla.

Clearly, TALK TO YOUR VET that specializes in taking care of an exotic pet such as a chinchilla.

In most circumstances, your vet will likely offer or suggest one of several options to treat bumblefoot for your chinchilla.

Sometimes, it may take a combination of treatments and effort on your end to remedy the issue as well.

Systematic Antibiotics such as Trimetharprim Sulfa will often be a part of the treatment specifically to help eliminate the infection source.

Additionally, a topical ointment will be recommended to help get rid of old tissue and promote the growth of new healthy tissue.

In addition, your likely going to need to pad your chinchilla’s cage with once again, fleece liners and potentially even additional towels or padding to soften all their landings and movement during the treatment process.

In all honesty, when you first get your chinchilla or if you are early into your chinchilla ownership, I highly recommend getting the fleece liners immediately.

Lastly, your vet will likely recommend that you use liquid bandages to seal off the bottom of the foot and to ensure that further infection can penetrate the foot and infected area.

What Work Will Be Expected of You to Treat Bumblefoot With Your Chinchilla

After noticing the bumblefoot, visiting your vet, and returning home, you will likely have some new daily chores to ensure you keep up with in order to provide the best care possible for your chin and to get rid of the bumblefoot once and for all.

First, you will be responsible for ensuring that your chinchilla takes any and all prescribed medications/treatments.

Secondly, you will likely need to change your chins bandages a few times a day.

Especially in the beginning in order to keep the infected area clean and in the healing process.

During the bandage change, you will also need to apply new tropical ointment to ensure your chin is keeping moisturized and healthy skin growing back as opposed to dry, crack and infected skin getting worse.

Outside of this, some love, affection, and sympathy for the pain your chinchilla is likely going through will go a long way.

Cleaning the Cage Diligently After Bumblefoot Diagnosis

News flash my friends.

A chinchilla’s cage needs to be cleaned frequently no matter what.

However, with bumblefoot, it’s even more important that you keep up with the cage cleanings to ensure that anything your chinchilla’s foot touches, is clean and bacteria-free to avoid further infections or bacteria from penetrating the wounds.

Up your cleaning schedule to a minimum of once per day.

This will include washing the fleece liners or changing bedding and removing and discarding all debris and chinchilla poop.

Trust me, keeping the cage clean during this time and in the future is only going to make your life easier.

Preventing Bumblefoot

Again, as stated previously, the exact cause isn’t known for bumblefoot and happens to chinchillas among other rodents and species.

However, it’s a common consensus that avoiding wire bottom cages is an excellent first step you can make towards preventing it.

It’s just less hard surface for your chinchilla to spring on and off.

Remember, chinchillas love to jump and climb and love the vertical space.

Obviously, with something like bumblefoot this can cause even more issues that need to be monitored closely.

Fleece Liners to The Rescue

I know we already touched on this some previously, but I wanted to touch on this one more time because I find it so imperative to consider.

Especially due to the price.

Consider fleece liners for all your cage trays.

Even consider covering other items within the cage for fleece.

It’s safe and easy to clean my friends and if it can help prevent issues like bumblefoot, pain, and suffering, why wouldn’t we just be springing for this option as opposed to wire bottom cages?

Not to mention the fact that it removes the need to ever purchase aspen shavings again in the future so ultimately, it’s the cheaper avenue to take as well.

Just my 2 cents and ultimately your decision of course.

Don’t Ignore Climbing Accessories Inside of The Cage

Chinchillas have a lot of accessories inside of their cage.

Well, at least they should have a lot of toys and accessories inside of their cage.

You need to ensure that all these accessories are also wiped down and clean as well.

With bumblefoot, you can even consider placing fleece liners on other objects inside of the cage such as the wooden ledges to provide even further padding and comfort.

The point being is to never forget the additional needs and cleaning required to help cure bumblefoot as quickly as possible.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, chinchilla bumblefoot is something that can absolutely occur to your chinchilla.

However, now that you are better prepared for this occurrence, your anxiety should be down, and you should now have an idea of what to look for and how to handle it.

While possible and relatively common with some rodents and even other small animals, it’s nothing to fret too much over.

In the grand scheme of things, chinchillas make for one of the family pets you can own.

They certainly are not difficult to care for and if you are currently on the fence about adopting a chinchilla soon, I urge you to do so.

I wish you the best of luck with your chinchilla and illnesses or injuries they are currently suffering from.

Share Your Thoughts, Concerns, and Stories regarding Chinchilla Bumblefoot

As always, I encourage the readers to provide further insight on topics to help benefit all chinchilla owners.

What are your recommendations when it comes to chinchilla bumblefoot?

How did you handle it, and would you do anything differently?

Share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

Thanks again and we will see you next time.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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