Last Modified

May 7, 2023 by Umair Shahid

Diarrhea in Chinchillas

You can’t deny the importance of chinchillas in your life if you are petting these loving animals. Diet & management are the two domains you must look after for your pets. Chinchillas possess a very finicky type of digestive system that is very picky in terms of diet. These furry animals can easily be susceptible to dietary diarrhea and other digestive issues.

Not only the diet can prone chinchillas to diarrhea, but it can also happen in case of mismanagement and several other disease conditions.

As a veterinarian, I have encountered a lot of cases when a slight change in management practices can lead to an upset digestive system. No matter what the cause, this condition is fairly treatable if diagnosed early.

To take immediate action, it is necessary to know the possible reasons for digestive issues. Diarrhea not only indicates an upset stomach but also a lot of different health aspects of chinchillas. Therefore, it is not always mandatory for a chinchilla to have diarrhea only in case of an upset digestive tract.

Possible Causes of Diarrhea in Chinchillas

Too Much Sugary Treats & Fruits

Certain wrong feeding practices lead to a quick predisposition to diarrheic conditions. The biggest one by far is the addition of too many sugary treats and foods in the diet of chinchillas. Your chinchilla may accidentally munch on too much fruit you give to him or her. 

These treats and fruits are high in sugar content and make the intestines of chinchilla more prone to developing diarrhea.

Gastrointestinal Parasites

Another common cause is the parasites that can infect your chinchilla from multiple sources. The drinking water you use may get contaminated by outside or by fecal matter. This acts as a potential source of protozoal parasites such as giardia. These parasites increase the permeability of the digestive tract, leading to the loosening of stools.

Eating something from outside of the cage or from the lawn has a potential risk of predisposing your chinchilla to parasites. There is very little chance of parasitic development and chinchillas don’t need any deworming drugs. But the external sources can cause a significant parasite infestation.

Food Quality

Apart from sugary foods and parasites, changing chinchilla pellet food to a new type can also cause diarrhea.

Any change in feed pellets’ quality and composition can disturb the chinchilla’s sensitive stomach. Consequently, your beloved pet experience digestive issues and watery feces. Such feed and managemental changes almost always cause the diarrhetic condition in chinchillas.

In that respect, if the quality of existing food is bad or you’re mistakenly providing spoiled hay, there are likely chances of GIT problems.

The fungus growth on the usual hay or pellets or the presence of bacteria in drinking water is some things you must critically pay attention to.

Stress & Medications

Changing your chinchilla’s living place or introducing of new routine can lead to stress. Stress is by far the biggest factor that causes digestive and physical health issues.

Although they are quite adaptable to new routines, it is worth mentioning that this takes time and shouldn’t be done in a stressful way.

If your chinchilla is currently suffering from a certain illness and is on medications by your vet, he or she may develop temporary diarrhea. There are plenty of reasons why chinchillas can be an easy victim of diarrhea and why you should take notes on these possible causes.

Visible Signs of Diarrhea in Chinchillas

When chinchillas are suffering from gastrointestinal issues, diarrhea and constipation are two prominent features. It is quite easy to spot if your chinchilla has watery stools and not the hard fecal droppings. However, there are other signs you must correlate with this condition to get a confirmation.

Your furry angel will show some common symptoms when he or she has an upset stomach. The first thing you’ll notice is the change in the consistency of fecal droppings to watery type.

There may be a change in the color of the feces along with an abnormally strong foul odor coming from the poop. 

There will hardly be any firm form of the stool and your chinchilla will eventually start losing its appetite.

You’ll not only notice the signs of inappetence and weight loss but also more than usual lethargy and sleepiness in your pet. Due to disturbed body fluid balance in diarrhea, your chinchilla may appear swollen from the belly region and dehydrated.

How to Diagnose Diarrhea in Chinchillas?

It is quite easy to interpret and diagnose the severity of diarrhea by the appearance of or her runny feces.

However, you still need to confirm what causes it and how to correct the condition. As a veterinarian, I recommend you take certain measures to counter and diagnose diarrhea in chinchillas.

See also  Seizures In Chinchillas ( Complete Guide)

The foremost thing every exotic animal expert will recommend you is to take your chinchilla to a veterinarian. It is not always applicable to try home remedies to correct the upset stomach in chinchillas. A vet can be very helpful in diagnosing the causes of underlying diarrhea through a full clinical examination.

Your vet may require doing a fecal exam and blood work in case of a severe condition. A fecal floatation exam will reveal the presence of protozoal parasites present in the stool. Doing serum chemistry and electrolyte balance tests can be a great aid in diagnosing the best possible cause of diarrhea in chinchillas.

If you’re someone who is puzzled and worried about the consistent diarrhea of your chinchilla, only a qualified vet can make the diagnosis possible. 

Treatment of Diarrhea in Chinchillas

The treatment choices for your furry pet’s diarrhea are entirely dependent on the possible cause of correction.

As a veterinarian, I can assure you to have an optimum treatment plan by consulting your nearby veterinarian. I’ve mentioned earlier how a vet can effectively find the reason for your chinchilla’s loose sufferings.

Eliminate the Cause

The diarrhetic symptoms can be relieved and minimized by prescribed drugs in the case of parasitic or giardia problems. The maintenance of the healthy and freshwater provision must be maintained to get an optimum recovery result. Chinchilla’s diarrhea can be prevented in the first place by minimizing the water contamination.

Correct the Diet

If the root cause is the change in hay and chinchilla pellets, you should take a step and switch back to the older pellets he or she loves to eat. If the diarrhea is corrected, then there is a clear fault in the new food you’re providing.

As an effective resort to your chinchilla’s condition, your vet may advise you to completely stop the hay provision. The use of only high-quality pellets can aid so much in stopping diarrhea in chinchillas. On the other hand, if the pellets are the culprit, your vet will add high-class timothy hay to the chinchilla’s diet.

Make Use of Flushing

Flushing has been used for many years as an effective remedy to clear out the digestive system from undigested matter and toxins. You can make use of this technique using alkaline water and see if the diarrhea is resolved in the next 24 hours or not.

Consult a Chinchilla Vet

If the above-mentioned treatment strategies don’t overcome severe diarrhea, the best action plan is to book a second appointment with a veterinarian. Likely, the correct cause is still unidentifiable and you need a certified veterinarian to get to the root cause before treating this condition.

Final Thoughts

Chinchillas have a sensitive digestive system and taking care of overall health is mandatory for every pet parent.

Diarrhea is a common problem that shouldn’t demand any panic or hard situations. With the right information and treatment knowledge, you can treat and prevent these watery bowels from developing again.

Diarrhea in chinchillas can adopt a very severe and life-threatening form if ignored. For the stress-free and quality life of your furry friend, consulting a veterinarian is always the safest option you can choose. 


How long does my chinchilla take to recover from diarrhea?

Assuming you take our professional advice seriously, the loose stools can be treated at a relatively fast pace. In the first 24 hours after treatment, you may see a noticeable improvement in the overall health of your chinchilla. Running additional tests by a veterinarian always benefits you in the long run of diarrhea treatment in chinchillas.

How do I prevent diarrhea in chinchillas?

Educating yourself about the possible causes of diarrhea and eliminating them is a great way to prevent this condition. Experts recommend avoiding giving too much sugary fruits and treats. Additionally, maintain the cleanliness in the cage, water bottle, and feed of chinchillas, and don’t try to change food abruptly.

Can I give antibiotics to my chinchilla in case of diarrhea?

Choosing a proper treatment regimen requires proper clinical diagnosis by tools under the supervision of an exotic animal veterinarian. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat and prevent bacterial infections and help to resolve diarrhea in the required amount of time. Be careful and don’t administer ant medication without consultation with an exotic animal expert.

Research Links


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.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *