The penis is a delicate organ.
That’s even more true with a tiny creature like the chinchilla.
A whole bunch of potential health issues can affect the penis and cause problems for your pet.
One of the most common issues that can affect the male chinchilla reproductive organ is hair ring.
Many don’t see this as a serious issue, since the name does not sound serious and it is easily fixed.
But if you don’t notice it quickly, and remedy it, it could lead to serious complications.
Keep reading to learn all about chinchilla hair ring, including how to spot it and what to do about it.
Chinchilla Hair Ring
Hair ring is when a male chinchilla’s loose fur becomes trapped on the sheath of its penis. When the penis retracts, the loose fur can knot and form a ring that circles the penis.
A hair ring causes pain, can block urination, and can cause other health concerns for your chinchilla.
I know that’s somewhat uncomfortable to envision, but that’s what hair ring is.
Obviously, if you own a female chinchilla, you won’t have to worry about this potential health hazard (though there are other ones you will still have to worry about).
But if you own a male chinchilla, hair ring is a real health problem and something you need to watch out for.
Don’t worry, we’ll break down what you can do as the owner in these situations and explain what you need to know about hair ring in general.
Is Hair Ring Serious?
The first thing to understand about hair ring with your male chinchilla is that you should not take it lightly.
I’ve seen in social media groups and forums that many chinchilla owners mistakenly think this isn’t a huge deal because it is easy to fixe.
The problem is that if you adopt this mindset, you may end up not paying as much attention as you should and might not spot hair ring when it does occur, or just take it less seriously overall.
Hair ring occurs most often after a chinchilla has been attempting to breed or just finished breeding.
It will surround the penis around the foreskin and cause serious problems when mating or urinating. It can also cause other serious complications, if it’s not spotted quickly.
While any vet or reputable chinchilla breeder will understand how to check for hair ring, it is best if you know what to look for as well, so you can keep a constant eye on things.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how to best recognize hair ring, before diving into what you should do about it if you notice the condition on your chinchilla.
How To Spot Chinchilla Hair Ring
Luckily, hair ring is relatively easy to notice, and it’s not difficult to handle as the chinchilla owner.
First and most importantly, it occurs most frequently when a chinchilla is attempting to mate or has just completed mating.
A straightforward indicator to spot is your chinchilla having difficulty breeding or mating. Most often, this will be on the account of hair ring.
To diagnose and be 100% certain that you are dealing with hair ring, you will need to complete a check of your male chinchillas’ penis.
You should perform a hair ring check on your male chinchilla at least once every 30 days.
That’s because hair ring can present itself even if your chinchilla isn’t breeding. That’s the most common cause, but not the only one.
The check is easiest to perform if you have two people. That way, one can hold the chinchilla while the other carefully checks for any issues.
Fixing Chinchilla Hair Ring
It is also best to have two people if you need to remedy a hair ring issue. Have one person to hold the chinchilla in an appropriate fashion, while the other slowly removes the stuck hair from the sheath of the penis.
Put some lubricant on the penis to assist you (KY jelly or cooking oil) and then slowly and gently slide the hair ring off the penis. If you are unable to remove it in this way, you can also cut it off. But be careful. Many owners prefer to have a vet do it and that is never a bad idea.
If you want to do it yourself, but have recently adopted a chinchilla, there is another potential problem. Your pet likely hasn’t adapted to being held yet.
Start with my guide about how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held here.
You can also use something like a pop-up animal play tent to warm your chinchilla up to being held.
I own the first tent mentioned in that article and use it all the time for my chinchilla play times. It can also help give you have more control over your chinchilla when you need to complete a hair ring check or to fix a hair ring issue.
Common Symptoms with Chinchilla Hair Ring
Now, let’s assume you suspect that your chinchilla may be struggling with hair ring. What symptoms might your chinchilla display?
Here is a quick list of symptoms your chinchilla may be showing with hair ring:
- Difficulty urinating
- Frequent chewing and grooming of the penis area
- Loss of appetite
Any of these symptoms listed above can indicate that your chinchilla is suffering from hair ring.
If you don’t feel comfortable handling the situation on your own, be sure to find a local exotic vet who is qualified and has worked with chinchillas in the past.
Not every chinchilla owner likes to handle these situations themselves. There is nothing wrong with having a professional handle it.
Chinchilla Fur Ring: Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, hair ring is a real issue with male chinchillas. Especially if you breed chinchillas or you have a male chinchilla that has been mating.
Recognizing hair ring and getting it taken care of as quickly as possible is imperative.
Chinchillas are not difficult to care for, but from time to time they may present with an illness or two such as this. Rely on a vet if needed, and don’t sweat it!
I wish you the best of luck and wish for your chinchilla to have a quick recovery.
Share your stories about chinchilla hair ring.
What’s your experience with hair ring and your chinchillas?
Do you have further recommendations you can share with the readers?
Be sure to share your thoughts, comments, and stories 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.