June 24, 2022 by Umair Shahid
Chinchillas are rodents having exceptionally soft and thick fur. People used to farm chinchillas for their fur, but now we keep them as pets. These crepuscular animals are very social, loving, and playful pets. The next thing you’ll notice about a chinchilla after its fur is its large, dark, and beautiful eyes. These eyes need special chinchilla eye care.
Chinchillas can develop eye infections because of the dust in their environment. They get infections from hay dust during feeding or during the dust bath.
The chinchillas do not face these eye problems frequently. However, to take care of these sensitive organs, your chinchillas need a visit to a vet now and then. Chinchillas, like most animals, can get eye infections or minor scratches on their eyes, which cause watery eyes and pain. In this article, I will tell you in detail about the eyecare in chinchillas.
Chinchilla Eye Care
Eye problems in chinchillas:
Usually, the chinchillas do not suffer from eye disease. However, some infections can occur in chinchillas. Some common eye infections in chinchillas are bacterial and fungal infections of the eyes, corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, and blockage of the nasolacrimal duct.
All these problems are easily avoidable with effective eye care in chinchillas. The details of these conditions are:
The problems related to eyelids:
These conditions are usually an indicator of other underlying problems. Sometimes, some systemic diseases cause the swelling of the eyes. This swelling can lead to eye shape abnormalities like entropion or ectropion.
These conditions are because of abnormal inward or outward movement of the eyelids. The eyelashes irritate the cornea. A prolonged eyelid abnormality causes corneal ulcers.
The eyes of chinchillas can get easily irritated. The dust, hay particles, or dust during a dust bath irritates the cornea of the eyes. The chinchillas rub their eyes and damage the cornea. It causes cloudiness of the cornea and affects the eyesight of your chinchillas. Chinchillas rub their eyes so hard, and their eyes can bleed because of this scratchiness.
It is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a transparent membrane around the eyeball and the eyelid. This membrane becomes inflamed because of various fungal and bacterial infections. Watery eyes, loss of hair around the eyes, swelling, and water discharge from the eyes characterize this condition.
Blocked nasolacrimal duct:
It is a common problem in chinchillas that occurs due to overgrown teeth in chinchillas. Sometimes, the overgrown or bent edge teeth can damage the nasolacrimal duct present beneath the eyes. This duct allows natural tears draining through the nose and eyes. However, a blocked nasolacrimal duct causes abnormal drainage of tears, and the eye becomes watery and irritated.
It is the increased orbital pressure because of fluid accumulation. This increase in intra-orbital pressure cause damage to the optical nerve. This condition leads to the development of a white blind spot on the surface of the eyes. Eventually, as the nerve deteriorates, this blind spot covers the cornea leading to complete blindness in the affected eye.
Symptoms of eye problems in chinchillas:
The problems in the eyes can affect the overall health of your chinchillas as well. The chinchilla becomes unable to feed and perform its regular activities. Therefore, it is necessary to detect and treat eye problems in chinchillas. Following are the signs of eye problems in chinchillas.
- Red eyes
- Swollen conjunctiva and protruding eyeball
- Watery eyes
- Keeping eyes closed or squinting
- Rubbing of eyes
- Thick purulent eye discharge
- Rubbing eyes on the ground
- Cloudiness of cornea
- Loss of appetite
- Unable to feed because of blindness
Essentials of eye care in chinchillas:
There is no long protocol to clean the eyes of your chinchillas. The eyes are naturally a self-cleaning organ. However, I think you must clean the eyes of your pet chinchillas once a day. This cleaning will help you observe any irritation or redness in the eye. Use normal saline or optic cleaning sprays suitable for chinchillas to clean their eyes. Take your chinchilla to a vet at least once a month for a complete check-up, including eyes.
How can vets do eye care in chinchillas?
Chinchillas do not need any special eye care. You only need to take a chinchilla to a vet for eye care when there are some problems. Usually, veterinarians try to treat eye problems with medication. The eyes are sensitive organs, and their surgeries are very delicate. However, the treatment can vary depending on the condition.
According to veterinarian experience, we commonly treat corneal ulcers with eye ointments. There are antibiotic medicines that treat corneal ulcers and relieve the pain.
However, if the ulcers are very extensive and affect the vision of chinchillas, veterinarians perform keratotomy and remove the ulcer-affected parts of the cornea. They make the fine lines and scratches in the cornea. These scratches attract the healing cells toward the eyes, and the healthy tissue under those ulcers is exposed.
To treat conjunctivitis, there are several anti-inflammatory eye ointments available. However, I will suggest avoiding doing any experiment with the eyes of your chinchillas. If you see any symptoms like redness or watery eyes, immediately take your chinchilla to a veterinarian.
Frequently asked questions:
- How to give eye ointment to your chinchilla?
The chinchillas are very pesky animals. It can become difficult to give them medicines. Therefore, take help from a veterinarian.
Place a little amount of ointment on the eyelid. You can also apply ointment on the medial or lateral eye canthus.
- Why is my chinchilla squinting?
There might be something wrong with the eyes of your chinchilla. Take your chinchilla to a veterinarian if you observe any redness, irritation, or water dripping out of your pet’s eye.
The chinchillas are very smart animals. You don’t need to do much chinchilla eye care. The optical problems are rare in chinchillas. However, sometimes you can observe redness and water eyes. It is because the hay dust irritates their eyes. Clean the eyes of your pets using normal saline or other optical cleaners. Take them to a veterinarian if you observe any signs of eye problems in your chinchilla.
I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.