By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
My chinchilla was fine until a few days ago. He has not been hungry or thirsty. He appears to eat a little timothy hay and is sleeping more. He is not old. He came out of his cage for only a little while yesterday, usually he runs around quite a bit. His teeth are fine, and his eyes and area are not gunky. Does he just have a chinchilla flu, or something of that nature?
What you are describing are “nonspecific” signs of illness. What that means is that your chinchilla is not acting normally but none of what he is doing leads to one specific diagnosis. Increased sleeping time, not eating well, less activity, and decreased drinking are all nonspecific signs of disease, and many, many different illnesses can cause what you are seeing.
Some of the things I might consider would be improper diet, dental disease, heart disease, environmental toxins, renal disease, infection, liver disease and neoplasia (cancer). As you can see, these possibilities are widespread and do not help you very much to pin down a cause of the signs.
The best thing you can do right now is to visit with your veterinarian. Have him or her do a physical examination on your chinchilla, including an examination of the teeth. Your veterinarian may also want to do a fecal examination and some blood tests on your chinchilla. Finally, radiographs (X-rays) of the whole body and teeth may be necessary to get a final answer.
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