Chinchillas can suffer a number of health issues.
And one of the most common is ringworm.
The first thing you need to know about chinchilla ringworm is that it is not actually a worm.
It is simply a fungus that often presents itself in the shape of a ring.
The second thing to know is that ringworm in chinchillas is easy to treat,
The key is in identifying it in a timely fashion, before it becomes a serious problem. And that’s what we’re going to help you with today.
Keep reading to learn all about chinchillas and ringworm, including how to identify it and what to do about it.
Ringworm In Chinchillas
Chinchillas that get ringworm often present with fur loss, patchy skin, and red, irritated skin. Ringworm can also cause the skin to become yellowish and flaky.
The bad news is that its relatively common for a chinchilla to get ringworm at one point or another.
The good news is that chinchilla ringworm can be treated.
The key is understanding how to recognize ringworm and how to handle the situation when it does come up effectively.
Ringworm tends to spread and get worse without proper treatment so it’s imperative to act as quickly as possible, and speak to a vet when you have recognized it.
And that leads us to the first important question to answer. How do we spot ringworm, so that we can act in a timely fashion to remedy it?
How To Check For And Identify Ringworm In Chinchillas
We mentioned this already, but the first thing to understand is that ringworm is not an actual worm. It is simply a fungus or mold that most often occurs on the skin. It can also appear on nails and hair.
Ringworm contracts quickly, and it is spread through contact.
Haven’t you ever heard the bad jokes about how you can get ringworm walking barefoot in the gym locker rooms or showers?
Well, while it may be a joke, it’s a real caution, and it is indeed how ringworm is spread: contact with the infected source.
Due to this, you always need to ensure that you wash your hands before and after handling a chinchilla that you suspect may have ringworm.
It helps provide at least a small amount of additional protection for your furry friend and yourself.
Now let’s move into some common locations to check on your chinchilla, i.e. where you can expect to spot ringworm when it does occur.
The first thing to know is that ringworm loves moisture. That is why the area around the nose and eyes are two of the typical spots that ringworm can present itself.
However, it’s also common for the ringworm to present on the legs of a chinchilla or near the feet. At times, you may even have a chinchilla that gets ringworm in the fur that hasn’t spread to the skin yet.
Ringworm is almost always around, but, in most situations, our immune system can fight off the issue.
However, chinchillas are different and tend to become stressed very quickly.
Stress lowers the chinchilla’s ability to fight off infections, making it easier for the ringworm to surface and become an issue.
Higher stress levels cause the immune system to weaken, which in turn, allows ringworm an easier path to begin showing its face.
Best Ringworm Treatment Methods For Chinchillas
First, let’s put this disclaimer out in the air. I’m not a vet, and if your pet gets ringworm, you should involve your vet to treat it effectively.
It’s not something to tackle on your own.
Additionally, the actual wound or infected spot needs to be swabbed and tested to ensure you are dealing with ringworm and not something even more serious.
Once you have confirmed that ringworm is the problem with your chinchilla, the remedy is easy and can be completed at home without much effort.
The Blu Kote helps by acting as a quick-drying antiseptic to clean the area and kill off the bacteria that commonly presents with ringworm. The Tinactin helps by providing tolnaftate which is the most common treatment for ringworm.
Again, you need to first be sure that you are 100% confident that you are dealing with ringworm and stick to the prescribed methods to effectively deal with the issue. And you do not need to resort to shaving your chinchilla or something else equally drastic.
In addition to what we have discussed previously, you also have a few cleanup tasks that need to be completed to ensure your chinchilla has the best chance at healing and that the ringworm doesn’t get worse, or return after it has been cured.
Here are the steps to take.
Remove All Wooden Ledges Inside Of The Cage
This part sucks, but it needs to be completed. Wood is porous and it’s very possible for ringworm bacteria to be present on the wood in your chinchilla’s cage.
Especially if it has been running around inside of the cage while infected.
You need to remove all the wooden ledge attachments inside of the cage. I’d recommend just discarding the platforms and ordering new ones.
If you need help finding the best new accessories after having to throw away the old ones, you can view my post here.
It will show you all the chinchilla cage accessories that I recommend and allow you to view more details on each accessory.
After you completely remove all the wooden shelves in the cage (this includes the wooden nest box), it’s time to clean the cage thoroughly.
Use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water and clean corners, pull out trays, accessories and the bars themselves.
Use Gloves, Wash Hands And Continue Monitoring
During the cage cleaning process, it’s essential to wear gloves and wash your hands before and after to ensure that you don’t allow the ringworm to spread to yourself or anywhere else.
After you have started the treatments recommended by your vet, continue to monitor your chinchilla to ensure the condition is improving.
Once the treatments discussed above start showing signs of improving the ringworm infection, your chinchilla’s irritation levels will begin to decrease.
Chinchilla Ringworm: Final Thoughts
Providing proper hygiene is one way to help your chinchilla avoid ringworm.
It’s also always important to clean your chinchilla’s cage routinely and to always keep an eye on your chinchilla in general, so that you can spot any issues that may arise and seek additional help as quickly as possible.
Overall, ringworm is undoubtedly something you may come across as a chinchilla owner, but with proper treatment and a few cleaning tasks, it’s entirely possible to remedy the situation without much worry.
I wish you the best of luck and hope for a speedy recovery for your chinchilla.
Share your thoughts.
Has your chinchilla had ringworm in the past?
How did you treat it, and what further recommendations can you provide the readers on this topic?
Be sure to share your thoughts, comments, 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.