Chinchillas and Seizures [Why They Happen & What to Do]

Having a chinchilla experience a seizure is certainly something we would all never hope would occur, but unfortunately, seizures are possible with chinchillas, and they do occur.

The key to ensuring you understand how to take care of a chinchilla in the event of a seizure is 1 part of the process. It is also essential that you know how to recognize a seizure, how to help prevent seizures with your chinchilla, and what to do if your chinchilla does happen to have a seizure.

That is what the rest of this brief post is going to break down for you today, and here is how I intend to present the information for you:


Chinchillas and Seizures

When I first adopted my chinchilla, seizures were not a topic of discussion with my local chinchilla breeder, and it honestly was not something that even crossed my mind until a few years later.

I have now been raising my chinchilla for 5+ years, and while she has not yet had a seizure, I naturally get curious about potential health issues that may arise and do my best to stay on top of my game, so I can act quickly to provide her the best care possible in case the worst situation does ever take place.

With seizures, it is honestly something that you should be prepared for and something you want to understand if you own a chinchilla now, recently adopted a chinchilla, or intend to adopt a chinchilla soon.

Before you can actively take precautionary measures and understand what to do if your chinchilla does have a seizure, it is essential to understand what may cause a seizure to take place, to begin with, which is what I want to talk about next.


Why Do Chinchillas Have Seizures

While you have some common reasons that can cause seizures with chinchillas, you also have some common causes of seizures with chinchillas that can spark this unfortunate event more frequently than others.

Here is a quick look at some of the common causes of seizures with chinchillas.


Common Causes of Seizures with Chinchillas

Heat Stroke and Overheating

chinchillas-and-seizures

Heatstroke and overheating I would rank as one of the top reasons and common causes for a seizure with a chinchilla.

The reason for this is simple.

Many new chinchilla owners are not always aware of just how fragile a chinchilla can be when it comes to temperature control and ensuring your chinchilla never gets too hot.

Getting too hot can easily lead to heatstroke.

It can also lead to seizures and potentially even death.

Ensure your chinchilla is remaining at ideal temperatures under 75 degrees F and relatively low humidity levels to ensure this does not become one of the reasons your chinchilla potentially has a seizure.

Head Trauma

The causes of head trauma could be numerous things.

It could be from a potential fall outside of the cage.

It could also be from an accident that takes place inside the cage.

Head trauma could also occur if you potentially have two chinchillas housed together that fight.

Head trauma, nonetheless, could potentially cause a seizure with your chinchilla.

Calcium Deficiency (Listeriosis)/ Thiamine Deficiency

This is one of the other more common causes of a seizure with a chinchilla and is technically due to an inadequate diet.

It could also be caused by using unsafe treats or unsafe foods to feed your chinchilla.

Therefore, it is imperative to always use the best chinchilla pellets.

Additionally, you need to understand what a chinchilla can eat and what they cannot eat to help avoid this potential cause for a seizure and to ensure your chinchilla is always being provided the best diet possible.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is when your chinchilla experiences a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.

This is another potential cause of providing an unhealthy or an inadequate diet to your chinchilla.

It is also possible that this happens to your chinchilla due to genetics.

It is important to always provide your chinchilla with the best diet possible to avoid this.

Some chinchilla owners have even reported that this occurs when they attempt to get them out of the cage or when they attempt to hold their chinchilla.

Therefore, one thing you can do is offer your chinchilla something such as a treat (raisin) when you go to let them out of the cage to make sure you are bringing their sugar levels up prior to interaction.

Genetic Disorders- Epilepsy

While uncommon, it is possible that your chinchilla experiences seizures due to a genetic issue such as epilepsy.

This is one of the reasons it can be extremely beneficial to adopt a chinchilla from a local chinchilla breeder near you.

Ensure that you get as much information from your chinchilla breeder and learn about the parents of your chinchilla and ask about potential health concerns that may arrive in the future based on the health history of the mother and father chinchilla.

Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Bacterial and fungal infections can be caused by many things with chinchillas.

They will need a vet to help diagnose the potential cause and underlying illness with your chinchilla if this happens to be the cause of the seizure.

Chinchillas may get a fungal infection due to getting wet or other outside sources.

Trust me, work with a vet to help diagnose this potential cause of a seizure with a chinchilla.

Poison

Chinchillas are known to run around relatively crazy when they are afforded time out of the cage.

This is one of the reasons it is always imperative to chinchilla proof a room entirely.

When you do this, make sure that no harmful substances are left within your chinchilla’s reach.

This could include any household cleaners and even artificial or real plants in the home used for decorative purposes.

If a chinchilla ingests something, it should not, it could potentially be the cause of a seizure.


The Symptoms of Seizures with Chinchillas and Recognizing A Seizure with Your Chinchilla

Recognizing a seizure is usually straightforward and will often present with your chinchilla suffering from violent spasms.

To recognize a seizure taking place with your chinchilla, you may notice your chinchilla body lying on its side, laying out flat, or potentially curling up during the spasms.

Often, if your chinchilla is having a seizure, your chinchillas’ body may become stiff.

One thing to keep in mind is that although seizures with chinchillas often present with spasms, it is also possible your chinchilla suffers a seizure more closely resembling an absence seizure, which will make your chinchilla appear more “out of it.”


What Should You Do If Your Chinchilla Has A Seizure?

When your chinchilla has a seizure, and if your chinchilla has a seizure, it is possible that it may last anywhere from only a few seconds all the way up to a few minutes.

When the seizure is taking place with your chinchilla, you will want to wait it out until the seizure is complete and let it run its course.

While this may seem scary, it is like how seizures work with us as individuals as well.

Typically, a seizure is going to be fast and over quickly and likely will not occur again.

Treatments for Chinchilla Seizures

When it comes to treating seizures for your chinchilla, you need to rely heavily on an experienced and knowledgeable vet.

Let them find the root cause of the seizure, treat the seizure, and allow them to explain what you should do next.

In the case of overheating, be sure to call your vet first and explain the situation.

Additionally, take active steps to cool your chinchilla down in this situation.

Avoid stressing them further.

Some vets may offer some alternative advice with a chinchilla due to their natural tendencies to get stressed heavily during travel.

Because of this, your vet may recommend waiting a certain amount of time before attempting to travel into the office.

Overall, I would personally not try and treat and diagnose a seizure myself and start with that phone call to your vet.

Allow them to provide further instructions on what you should do next.

Better safe than sorry in these situations.


Seizures Are Possible with Chinchillas but Not Very Common

While seizures may not be common with chinchillas, they are certainly something to still be aware of.

Understanding how to recognize a seizure, what causes a seizure, and what to do if your chinchilla has a seizure could make a big difference someday for you and your chinchilla’s long-term health.

Be sure to always provide the best care possible to your chinchilla and always provide the recommended and healthy diet for your chinchilla.

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

Chili and I also hope you never have to deal with or witness a seizure with your chinchilla in the future.

Has Your Chinchilla had A Seizure in The Past?

Has your chinchilla ever experienced a seizure in the past?

How did you recognize your chinchilla was having a seizure, and what did you do to help your chinchilla during this unfortunate circumstance?

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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