Chinchillas and Diarrhea [Causes+Treating & More]

Sometimes, understanding how to take care of a chinchilla can seem daunting when you are brand new to owning a new chin.

I get it, and I have been there.

Today, I want to touch on the topic of chinchilla’s and diarrhea.

It is something that proper planning could help save you time, anxiety, and help your chinchilla to remain happy and healthy.

A specific question that arises on this topic is about as simple as it gets.

Can chinchilla’s get diarrhea?

I have owned a chinchilla now for 5 years, and here is the information I can provide you on this topic.

Chinchilla’s can get diarrhea. Diarrhea will most often occur with a chinchilla due to being overfed treats, fed treats that are not safe for chinchillas and contain too much sugar, parasites within their water, or changing their pellets.

A few other things can also attribute to chinchilla diarrhea, and you have steps you need to take to ensure that they are taken care of when it does arise.

Not to mention, we need to make sure that you understand how to prevent your chinchilla from ever getting diarrhea in the first place.

That is what the rest of this quick post is designed to break down for you.

As gross as it may sound, you can consider this your “ultimate guide to understanding chinchilla diarrhea”.

I intend on breaking down the topic in the following manner:

If, for whatever reason, you need to skip around in this post, feel free to do so using the links provided for you directly above.

Otherwise, give me a few moments, and I will break down everything I think you should know about treating, recognizing, and preventing diarrhea with your chinchillas.

Here are the essential details to understand.

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Can Chinchillas Get Diarrhea?

As stated previously, yes, a chinchilla can and will get diarrhea.

Most of the time, it is likely caused by us as the owners potentially feeding our chinchilla’s something that they should not be eating in the first place.

It is one of the reasons that I am recommending reading my post about a chinchilla’s diet and nutrition.

I have 3 of them that could all serve beneficial to you to help avoid causing diarrhea with your new chinchilla.

The first is discussing if chinchillas can eat certain fruits, which you can see here.

Secondly, you can view my post about chinchilla eating vegetables here.

Lastly, to get a full scope overview of a chinchilla’s proper diet, refer to my quick guide here.

As owners of this relatively exotic rodent, it is imperative we understand how to care and how to provide care for them properly to avoid issues such as diarrhea taking place.

To be educated on the topic, it is also vital we understand how to recognize diarrhea with our chinchillas and spot potential warning signs.

Let’s dive into those details first.


Symptoms and Signs of Diarrhea in Chinchillas

In most situations, recognizing diarrhea with your chinchilla is not going to be overly tricky.

They will display one of the following symptoms in most situations:

  • Change of Color in Feces (Poop)
  • The Chinchilla Poop May Produce an Odor
  • Chinchilla Poop is Not Nugget or Pellet Shaped (No Form)
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Sleepiness or Lethargy
  • Swollen Belly

With a few of the symptoms of diarrhea with your chinchilla, you must contact a vet.

Especially if your chinchilla has lost appetite, the poop is runny, or they are beginning to sleep much more than usual.

This could indicate more serious illness and lead to death if it is ignored.

So, to recap, be sure that when your chinchilla experiences diarrhea that you speak to your vet and provide the care needed to nurse them back to health as soon as possible.

While it should be easy to spot diarrhea with a chinchilla, let’s also cover exactly what the poop may look like to ensure we cover all of our bases.

What Does Chinchilla Diarrhea Look Like?

When a chinchilla presents with diarrhea, it most often going to be soft compared to the usual odor-free pellets and can often present with a coat of mucus.

Additionally, diarrhea with chinchillas may appear waterier compared to normal and have a lack of form to it.

Anytime that you do not notice a normal looking poop from your chinchilla, it is likely diarrhea and needs to be addressed quickly.

Now, we need to understand a full list of the causes of diarrhea in chinchillas.

Let’s hit on that topic next.


What Causes Diarrhea in Chinchillas?

Chinchilla’s are easy to take care of for the most part, but it does need to be noted that chinchillas are fragile pets.

It does not take much to throw their sensitive stomachs out of whack which makes it even more essential to understand how to provide the care needed.

Most commonly, chinchilla diarrhea is attributed to being overfed too many treats that contain too much sugar.

Still, it is also possible that other issues have begun to cause your chinchilla to have diarrhea.

Here is a quick list of the causes of diarrhea with chinchillas:

  • Switching Pellets or Chinchilla Food to Suddenly
  • Bad Hay or Food (Spoiled)
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Algae or Bacteria in Your Chinchilla’s Water Bottle
  • Too Much Alfalfa Hay Provided
  • Other Bacteria, Fungus, and Viruses
  • Eating Something Foreign When Out of The Cage
  • Stress
  • Drugs Treating Other Illnesses Such as Antibiotics
  • Not Enough Fiber in Diet

As you can see, plenty of potential reasons may be the cause of your chinchilla having diarrhea.

Therefore, it is urged to seek help from a vet in the situation that your chinchilla does have diarrhea.

With too many potential causes, it is crucial to ensure that other issues are not the underlying cause of diarrhea that could eventually cause death.

Better than safe than sorry if you ask me.


Diagnosing Diarrhea with A Chinchilla

In theory, it is not difficult to diagnose diarrhea with a chinchilla.

Once you notice it taking place, it is time to speak to the vet.

A vet can give the actual diagnosis of diarrhea by doing a full exam on your chinchilla.

Sometimes, instead of you trying to remedy the issue yourself, your vet may need to perform an additional test to determine the diagnosis, such as blood work or even a CBC serum chemistry panel.

These tests are used to look for direct causes of diarrhea such as electrolyte imbalances, and a vet can also perform a fecal flotation test to look for other factors such as parasites or eggs in the feces.

The point I am trying to convey is simple.

If your chinchilla has diarrhea, the only true way to reach a diagnosis is to seek the help of your vet.

Period.

When Does Diarrhea with Chinchillas Become Critical?

In my mind, diarrhea becomes critical for a chinchilla immediately after it occurs.

This is due to what we have already discussed.

While you may know for sure that you made a change to your chinchilla’s diet, and you believe that is the cause, you still have no hard evidence.

Another underlying factor may still be causing diarrhea for your chinchilla.

With the potential of the diarrhea being caused by other severe illnesses or a parasite, diarrhea with a chinchilla becomes critical the moment it occurs.

That is my opinion, at least, and I am sticking it to it.

Now, let’s move into what you will likely need to do to treat diarrhea with your chinchilla.


Treating and What to Do If Your Chinchilla Has Diarrhea

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The most important disclaimer that I want to make before diving in the treatment methods for diarrhea with your chinchilla is that I am not a vet.

For all treatment advice, you should speak to your vet and follow their advice to the best of your ability.

If the diarrhea were caused by a parasite or low levels of giardia, your vet would be the best suited to recommend treatment and advise which medication is going to best relieve your chinchilla’s symptoms of diarrhea.

It is also quite common that your vet will recommend that you stop feeding your chinchilla pellets until diarrhea has stopped and advise you to offer them high-quality timothy hay.

Furthermore, alkaline water may be recommended to help your chinchilla flush their system quickly.

In most circumstances, diarrhea with a chinchilla can begin to resolve with proper treatment within 24 hours.

If it does not begin to get better, you likely will have another trip to the vet to get scheduled.

Simply put, allow your vet to find the root cause of diarrhea and follow their directions for treating diarrhea.

It is the best plan of action and your chinchillas’ best chance at improving and feeling better quickly.

How Long Does Recovery Take with Diarrhea with Chinchillas?

Like stated just a moment ago, diarrhea recovery happens relatively quickly with a chinchilla assuming you take the advice in this post that has presented thus far and seek the help of a vet.

Most of the time, the runny stool and diarrhea will begin to get better in the first 24 hours.

If it does not, I highly recommending contacting your vet to see if they need to see your chinchilla a second time to run any additional test.

Overall, with proper care, you can expect your chinchilla to be back to normal quickly.


Preventing and How to Stop Diarrhea with Your Chinchilla in The Future

Now, we still need to educate ourselves as to how to prevent diarrhea with our chinchillas and ensure that it does not get worse or become a repeat issue.

To prevent diarrhea with a chinchilla, you have several things that you can do that include the following:

  • Do Not Provide Too Many Treats or Too Many Treats with Sugar
  • Always Clean Your Chinchilla’s Cage and Water Bottle
  • Do Not Change Foods Including Hay or Pellets Abruptly
  • Try Not to Stress Your Chinchilla

All these items are essential to ensuring diarrhea never becomes an issue for your chinchilla.

If you need further information about these topics, check out a few resources below:

You can see my post about the best chinchilla pellets here.

You can view my post about the best chinchilla hay here.

You can also view my post about the best practices with a chinchilla’s water bottle here.

Lastly, check out my guide about cleaning your chinchilla’s cage correctly here.

Follow Up, and Diet Changes May Be Necessary

I also want to point out that diarrhea with a chinchilla may require additional trips to a vet or a few checks in calls with your vet at a minimum.

It is nothing to get overly concerned with.

It is just an illness with a chinchilla that needs to resolve quickly.

Your vet may recommend diet change and other advice.

Be sure to follow it to ensure your chinchilla remains happy and healthy.


Do Not Panic If Your Chinchilla Has Diarrhea

Diarrhea is not something to panic over if your chinchilla does present with it.

It can be taken care of, and in most situations, it can be a simple fix to a diet or reducing treats.

While it does require swift action and a vet call, it is nothing to fret over.

Do your best to get your chinchilla to the vet stress-free and follow their advice.

It will all be fine soon.

Chili and I certainly wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and the journey you have ahead of you.

If your chinchilla currently has diarrhea, we hope this quick guide helped you towards the next best step you should be taking to remedy the issue for your new chin.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have anything further you believe the community needs to know about a chinchilla having diarrhea?

Do you use any other treatments or prevention methods to avoid diarrhea with your chinchilla altogether?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again 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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