Chinchillas can make fun, enjoyable pets. The chinchilla is a rodent closely related to the guinea pig. They originate from South America where they live in the Andes Mountains.
Generally speaking, chinchillas are fairly hardy animals. However, they do have several unique problems, and understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care problems. These include fur slip, antibiotic sensitivity, teeth problems, heat stroke, skin problems, and dust bathing for normal grooming.
Common conditions of pet chinchillas include bite wounds, respiratory diseases, overgrown and impacted teeth, gastrointestinal stasis, bloat, diarrhea, skin problems, and heat stroke. Any deviation of your chinchilla's behavior from normal should be a cause for concern and requires immediate evaluation by your veterinarian.
Chlorpheniramine maleate is given by mouth and is used off label to treat allergic conditions or as a mild sedative. Common side effects include sleepiness, although other side effects are possible. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other similar antihistamines, or pets that are undergoing allergy testing within 2 weeks. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.
Cisapride is used off label and is given by mouth to treat gastrointestinal motility disorders in cats, dogs, and small mammals. Common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or in pets with conditions that would be made worse by increased intestinal movement. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.
Clarithromycin is given by mouth and is used off label to treat certain bacterial infections in several animal species. Side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, appetite changes, stomach pain/cramps, or skin redness in cats. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other macrolide antibiotics, in rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, or horses greater than 4 months old. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.
Coccidial organisms, including Eimeria, are parasites that can infect rabbits, especially young and recently weaned rabbits. These host-specific organisms live in rabbit intestines and can infect the liver. Healthy, mature rabbits housed in good environments may only be transiently affected, while young, immunocompromised rabbits kept in poor environmental conditions may succumb to infection and die. Many rabbits that have this disease do not show any or signs, but if they do, they may have infrequent or intermittent watery, mucousy, or possibly blood-tinged diarrhea. Diagnosis involves examining a fecal smear under a microscope or performing a fecal float test. If your rabbit's diarrhea progresses to moderate to severe in intensity, your veterinarian will hospitalize your rabbit to provide supportive care until it is well enough to go home.
While there is evidence of transmission from humans to dogs and cats, it does not appear to be a common event at this time. If you suspect that you are ill with COVID-19, you should practice the same precautions with your pet as you would with people – wear a mask, keep your distance, wash hands regularly, and avoid cuddling and other close contact.
Cyclophosphamide is given by mouth or injection and is used off label to treat various cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, carcinoma, and sarcoma. Common side effects include hair loss and hair coat changes. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or that cannot be sufficiently monitored during treatment, are pregnant or lactating, have urinary obstruction, infection, bone marrow dysfunction, or have had an episode of blood in the urine that is not associated with a bladder infection. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.
Cytology is the microscopic examination of cell samples. Cytology can be used to diagnose growths or masses found on the surface of the body, and also to assess bodily fluids, internal organs, and abnormal fluids that may accumulate, especially in the chest and abdomen. Cells can be collected using various methods including fine needle aspiration, skin scraping, impression smear, cotton-tipped swabs, or lavage. A biopsy is the surgical removal of a representative sample of tissue from a suspicious lesion. The most common biopsy techniques are punch biopsy, wedge biopsy, and excision biopsy. The tissue is then processed and is examined under a microscope via histopathology. Histopathology allows the veterinary pathologist to make a diagnosis, classify the tumor, and predict the course of the disease.