June 24, 2022 by Umair Shahid
The bumblefoot might seem like a funny name. But it is a dangerous infection of the foot in chinchillas. It is also known as pododermatitis. The bumblefoot in chinchillas make their feet look dry, cracked, and bloody. If this infection becomes serious can lead to the death of your pet chinchillas. It is the infection and inflammation of the connective tissue of the feet.
Bumblefoot causes the formation of cracks in the feet, which leads to a more severe infection in chinchilla feet. The abscess and hematoma formation because of infection cause draining of pus and blood from the feet.
The bumblefoot infection causes the formation of scar tissue on the feet. If you leave this condition untreated, it eventually makes it difficult for your pet to walk. I will talk in detail about the causes and treatment of bumblefoot in chinchillas.
What is Bumblefoot infection?
Bumblefoot is a common problem appearing in chinchillas in captivity. In their natural habitat, the chinchillas walk on a variety of surfaces, from hard to muddy and soft surfaces. However, in captivity, they get only one type of flooring to walk on. These are mostly the hard cage floors or the marbled house floors. This hard flooring causes the hardening of footpads in chinchillas.
Over time, these rough footpads develop dry, flaky skin. If left unobserved, this skin cracks and bacteria penetrate the soft tissue of the feet. These bacteria proliferate and cause painful infection, calluses, and abscess formation.
In severe cases, there is draining pus and blood from these cracks. Sometimes, serous fluid accumulates in the dermal cracks. This condition is called pododermatitis. Chronic pododermatitis can cause the death of your pet because of septicemia.
Causes of bumblefoot in chinchillas:
The bumblefoot is a severe infection that you must treat as soon as possible. If you observe any signs of inflammation and infection in the feet of your chinchillas, make sure you visit an exotic vet. There are many causes of bumblefoot in chinchillas. I will describe all the causes briefly:
The most common cause of bumblefoot in chinchillas is poor housing. The cage floor plays a significant role in the foot health of chinchillas. If the cage floor is hard and unsanitary, it will lead to pododermatitis. I discourage using the wire floorings in chinchilla cages. They are tough and uncomfortable for chinchillas.
Some people support the use of fleece as bedding in chinchilla cages. It might eliminate the problem of hard flooring in the cage. But it can develop unsanitary conditions because the wool bedding absorbs the urine and fecal material. It can lead to many bacterial and viral infections.
General health status:
Many primary infections or disorders can increase the predisposition to bumblefoot infection in chinchillas. Obesity increases the overall bodyweight of chinchilla. It causes excessive pressure on the feet, and eventually, the infection develops in them. Similarly, other conditions like diabetes, vitamin A deficiency, and poor diet management can lead to pododermatitis.
Lack of activity:
Sometimes, staying in the cage for too long can also lead to this infection. Chinchillas are very active animals, and they love to run around. If the chinchillas do not get enough movement around the house, they become bored and stop moving and playing in the cage. This reduced activity can cause infections in their feet.
Treatment of bumblefoot infection:
The best thing is to take your chinchilla to a vet as soon as possible. This infection can lead to septicemia and systemic damage in chinchillas.
According to veterinary experience, the bumblefoot infection is treatable using antibiotics. You can also use topical ointments and antibiotic solutions to keep the foot clean and disinfected.
How to prevent Bumblefoot?
The best way to protect your chinchillas is to prevent the development of bumblefoot infections. Once the problem starts, it becomes chronic and dangerous for your pet. Following are the ways I suggest preventing bumblefoot infection in chinchillas.
Improve the bedding:
The best way to prevent foot infections is to improve the bedding of the cage. The fleece bedding is not always suitable for chinchillas.
There are many preformed beddings available in markets. It is better to use bedding that does not absorb urine. The chances of infection are minimum if you keep the bedding dry and clean.
Place the litter box:
Another excellent method is to place the litter box in the chinchilla’s cage. They are easy to train for litter, just like rabbits. The litter box will help keep the bedding clean and dry, and you will not have to change bedding frequently.
Give them floor time:
The best way to acclimatize your chinchilla to the hard floor is to give them floor time. The space in the cage is not enough for chinchillas to run around freely. Make sure you leave them open for a while so that they can play and run. This activity will keep them active and healthy.
Frequently asked questions:
- Can I place a carpet or mat in the chinchilla’s cage to prevent bumblefoot infection?
The carpet or mat surfaces are hard and rough. They can scratch the feet of chinchillas. This rough surface can also lead to hard footpads and pododermatitis. It is better to use soft bedding like corn cob, soft fabric, etc. You can also use commercially available chinchilla beddings in their cage.
- What other disease can lead to bumblefoot infections?
There are many diseases in chinchillas that can eventually cause pododermatitis in chinchillas. These conditions include diarrhea, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and any physical trauma to the feet.
- Is bumblefoot a transmissible disease?
The infection does not spread from one chinchilla to another. However, if you are holding two chinchillas in the same conditions, then both are equally susceptible to the infection.
The bumblefoot in chinchillas is a severe bacterial infection. If the infection becomes systemic, it can lead to death sometimes. You can cure the disease using antibiotics in chinchillas. However, you can prevent the conditions by giving enough floor time, proper bedding, and a balanced diet to your little furry friend.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.