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*The Red Print: Please Read First
*How Knowledgeable is Your Vet?
*Information Resources (articles on choosing a vet, online vet advice, pet insurance)
*USA and International Vets Listed by Region
*Initial Vet Examination Criteria and Detecting Illness (ears and paw pads, eyes, fecal droppings, fur, general attitude, heart and lungs, teeth, urine)

While vet care is a necessity that every chinparent must be prepared to afford, HSUS offers suggestions for people who are having financial trouble.


Veterinary science has evolved with the popularity of chinchillas as pets, more knowledgeable and experienced exotics specialist vets are treating chinchillas today than were ten years ago. But the veterinary profession still has a ways to go with regard to chins, they're still a relatively uncommon pet and vet training programs don't spend as much time educating future vets on chinchillas as they probably should, at least in the U.S. A chinparent MUST ask questions, practice common sense and think critically at all times when it comes to their chin's health, just as we must do with human doctors, because no profession is perfect and our chins' welfare, sometimes their very lives, depend on our diligence.

It is important to actually ASK and find out exactly how much chinchilla training and experience your exotics specialist vet has, and we advise chinparents to first be knowledgeable themselves so that they can intelligently interact with and help educate their vet if need be. We have shared information to help educate our vet, providing duplicates of chinchilla care books from our reference library (.doc) and occasionally recommending online articles for her to examine, while she frequently advises us on care questions that others send our way.

A good veterinarian will be happy to involve their client in discussing their pet's condition, to explain what they are doing and why, to ask questions and invite them being asked in return. A great vet will actively educate themselves about their client's pet, researching problems and double-checking their diagnosis. If you find an exotics specialist vet who has dealt successfully with the problem you're facing, give their contact information to your vet so they can consult someone with practical experience. And if you're given a negative prognosis or something doesn't sound right to you, don't be afraid to consult other vets and get a second, even third opinion!

Sometimes, unfortunately, vets will authoritatively state their assumption as fact, when in reality they're projecting based on their knowledge of other animals; we've also seen this happen on forums. We've heard of vets prescribing anti-fungal shampoo for chins with Ringworm, treating them as if they're a dog or cat in that regard, or assuming that chins, like rabbits and cats, are prone to hairballs, or that chins are prone to bladder stones from "excess calcium" the way that rabbits and guinea pigs are, etc. If you don't have a vet with real working knowledge of and experience with chinchillas, then do what you can to help educate them and take an assertive role in overseeing your chin's veterinary care.

(articles: choosing a vet, online vet advice, pet insurance)

Vet Reference Books CA Chins
Forums often include Vet Resources
Online Medical Supplies: Supplier Sites
Pet Prayer Line- put your sick pet on a prayer list
The Pet/ Vet, Etc. Page many veterinarian-related sites
Veterinary often has chinchilla health articles, hosts Pet Pharmacy which "features detailed information
on commonly prescribed pet medications."

Caution and Common Sense Chinchillas of the Midwest
Choosing a Vet Spoiled Chins
Choosing a Veterinarian CA Chins
Finding a Vet Pitter Patter Chinchillas
Vet Check Chintasia

vetclick forum,,

ASPCA on pet insurance
Insurance Now Available for Rabbits and Exotic Pets
Pet Insurance- Is It Right For You
Who needs pet health insurance?
Why You Should Get Low Excess Pet Insurance

Available At
Exotic Direct, UK, Pet, Saga Pet Insurance, UK,
UK, VPI Pet Insurance


Academy of Veterinary Dentistry: Members Worldwide, Links
Dental Vets: Europe and USA Links
See these nationwide (U.S.) vet listings! Especially
if there is no specific state selection listed at right:
American Animal Hospital Association
Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) Listing
atnetworld's List of Vet Resources
AVMA: American Veterinary Medical Association
Brisky Vet Listing
CA Chins Listing, under Vets, also lists Dentists for some locations
Chinchilla Club Vet Directory
ChinNet Vet Listing
Chinville Vet Listing
NAPA: Exotic Animal Veterinarian Referral
Forever Feisty Chinchilla Rescue Vet Listing
Petlopedia Vet Listing
The Dust Bath's Chinchilla Veterinarians Listing Vet Listing
Alta Mesa Animal Hospital --Mesa
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Jill M. Patt

AZ Chins Vet Listing
New Hope Animal Hospital --Rogers

South County Animal Hospital --Greenwood
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Leslie Block
- recommended by Dark Labyrinth Chinchillas
Adobe Animal Hospital --Los Altos **Vet with successful chinchilla neutering experience
DVM Jane Johnson is an experienced chinchilla vet who oversees all the work for the Chinchilla Health Day that CaChins puts on yearly.
- recommended by CaChins

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital --Vallejo

Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital --San Diego

SF Peninsula's Mobile Veterinary Hospital --San Francisco
Alameda East Veterinary Hospital --Denver
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Kevin T Fitzgerald
- recommended by The Dust Bath
Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital --Kensington
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Theresa Cianciolo
- recommended by Patty M.
Nokomis Veterinary Clinic --Nokomis
Bells Ferry Veterinary Hospital --Acworth
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM James McClearen
- recommended by Tiffany B.

Central Veterinary Hospital --Savannah
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Richard Bink
- recommended by Judy
Animal House of Chicago, Complete Veterinary Care, Inc. --Chicago
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Byron J.S. de la Navarre
- recommended by S. Young, DVM

Dundee Animal Hospital --Dundee, Elgin and Algonquin
24/7 emergency services

Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital --Westhester
Experienced vet with special training treating chins: DVM Clarkson
- recommended by J. Novakowski

Ness Exotic Wellness Center --Lisle
Hillview Veterinary Clinic -- Franklin

Baker Animal Hospital --Baker
DVM Gordon Pirie

West Esplanade Veternary Clinic --Metairie **Vet with successful chinchilla neutering experience
Experienced and highly knowledgeable chinchilla vet: DVM Gregory A. Rich
- recommended by
NOLA Chinchilla Rescue
River Road Veterinary Hospital --Orrington **Vet with successful chinchilla neutering experience
DVM Katherine Carter

North Windham Veterinary Hospital --Windham
DVM Jeffrey Carr
Baltimore Chinchillas Vet Listing --Baltimore
Phoenix Veterinary Hospital --Wayland
Birmingham Veterinary Clinic --Birmingham **Vet with successful chinchilla neutering experience
Extensive experience in treating chinchillas: DVM Christine Glikis-Scott (was Fernandez)
- highly recommended by the ChinCare webmasters

Milwood Animal Clinic --Portage **Vets with successful chinchilla neutering experience
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Alissa Smitley and DVM Karen Updike
- recommended by D. Mesik

Second Chance Chin's Chinchilla Rescue listing of SE lower and mid-Michigan vets

Veterinary Care Specialists --Milford
Open 24/7

Companions Animal Hospital --St. Cloud

MVHS Vet Listing
Horton Animal Hospital --Columbia
DVM S.M. Sczepanski

Howdershell Animal Clinic --Florissant **Vet with successful chinchilla neutering experience
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Dr. Toepke
New Jersey
All Creatures Veterinary Care Center --Washington Township

Mt. Zion Chinchillas Vet Listing
New York
North Fork Animal Hospital --Southold

Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics --Bedford Hills
Saturday hours and Sunday emergencies
Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP
- recommended by Penny's mom: "Dr. Hess recently saved the life of my chinchilla, Penny, after she was mauled by a dog. If it weren't for Dr. Hess' expertise and compassion, Penny would not be with us. Dr. Hess is an exotic animal vet who treats only exotic pets such as chinchillas. She completed years of residency training in the care of exotic pets at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, where she has been head of the Avian and Exotic Pet Service. She lectures across the country on the care of exotic pets and has written several articles on their care."

Veterinary Medical Center --West Islip
Provides care 24 hours/day, 365 days/year
Dr. Elisbeth Simone-Freilicher, DVM Dip. ABVP
Dr. Noelle La Croix, Veterinary Opthamologist
- recommended by V. Gaffney
North Carolina
Avian & Exotic Animal Care, P.A. --Raleigh

Carolina Veterinary Specialists --Huntersville
Open 24/7
Experienced chinchilla vet on call 24/7: DVM Lauren Powers
- recommended by S. Lane
All Creatures Animal Hospital --Amelia

Bird and Exotic Pet Wellness Center --Toledo
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Tim Reichard
- recommended by Amanda B.

Fairfield Animal Hospital and Pet Center --Columbiana
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Max VanBuren
- recommended by L. Rowe

Mentor Veterinary Clinic --Mentor
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Carole L McLaren
- recommended by Tabby, Aura's chinmom

Norton Road Veterinary Hospital --Columbus
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Lani Herrli
- recommended by J. Hamlin

West Park Animal Hospital --Cleveland **Vet with successful chinchilla neutering experience
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Kari Swedenborg
- recommended by ForCHINate Chins Chinchilla Rescue
Brookwood Animal Clinic --Oklahoma City
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Aaron Stachmus
- recommended by Elene O.

Neel Veterinary Hospital --Oklahoma City
Open 24/7
- recommended by Elene O.
Southwest Animal Hospital --Beaverton
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Mark Burgess

Vista Pet Hospital --Portland
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Scott Davis
- recommended by Brian S.
Apple Creek Veterinary Hospital --Lebanon

Ebensburg Animal Hospital --Ebensburg
24 hour emergency service
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM James W. Takacs.
- recommended by Angela A.

Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania --Philadelphia
24 hour emergency service
- recommended by Sue P.

Robinson Animal Hospital --Pittsburgh
Features emergency clinic

Smoketown Veterinary Hospital --Smoketown
- recommended by Angela C.

Wellsboro Veterinary Hospital --Wellsboro
Vet Pets Animal Hospital --Cordova

Coffee Veterinary Hospital --Manchester
Experienced chinchilla vets: DVM Diane Bruner, DVM Michael Hoover
- recommended by Robbie S.
Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists --Houston
Experienced chinchilla vet: DVM Natalie Antinoff
Wasatch Exotic Pet Care, Inc. --Salt Lake City
Pet Care Veterinary Hospital --Virginia Beach
Bird and Exotic Clinic of Seattle --Seattle
West Virginia
Animal Care Associates --Charleston
- recommended by L. Cobb


Academy of Veterinary Dentistry: Members Worldwide
Dental Vets: Europe and USA Links

Crystal Chinchilla's Vet Listing: see Links
Animal Hospital of High Park --Toronto
CA Chins Listing, under Vets, also lists Dentists for some locations
Ontario Chinchilla Association Listing --Ontario
The Dust Bath's Chinchilla Veterinarians Listing
Vetcetera Animal Hospital --Nova Scotia
WinRose Animal Hospital --Manitoba
Veterinarian Listing extensive resource with details about special services and operating times, by CHINCITTĄ
Mars Pet-Clinic: DVM Tizuko Yamada **Vet with successful chinchilla neutering experience
Tokiwa 89-8, Kamakura 248-0022
Tel/Fax: 0467-39-3882

- recommended by Karen H.
Kenya Vet Listing
ChinNet Vet Listing
Chinchilla Exchange Vet Listing (page bottom)
Chinchilla Information Guide Vet Listing
Chins of the East Vet Listing (page bottom)
Internet Chinchilla Vet Listing (see Local Articles)
Our Chinchilla Gallery Vet Listing
Blackness Veterinary --Dundee and Monifieth
British Small Animal Veterinary Association
Burnham House Veterinary Surgery --Dover, Kent
Chinchilla Chat Line Vet Listing
Chinchillas Unlimited Forum: Vet Listing
ChinNet Vet Listing
David Crossley Clinical Services (referrals)
Exotic Direct Vet Listing
Granite City Chinchillas Vet Listing
Kingdom Chinchillas (msn) Vet Listing
NAPA: Exotic Animal Veterinarian Referral
Pet Smile Vets (site promoting veterinary dental health)
The Dust Bath's Chinchilla Veterinarians
Valley Vets Limited -- Cardiff, Caerphilly,Ystrad Mynach


(ears and paw pads, eyes, fecal droppings, fur, general attitude, heart and lungs, teeth, urine)

Also see: Avoiding Tragedy: Don't Kill Your Chin With "Kindness!"

When you bring a chinchilla home, whether it's your first or an addition to your "herd," the new chin will require an appointment with an exotics specialist vet to be declared healthy and free of disease. If the chin is an addition, he must be kept apart (quarantined) from the others and the facilities they use until after he's been examined by the vet, until then it's vital that you wash hands and keep things especially sanitary and separate between the addition and the resident chins. Chinchillas don't require check-ups (or vaccinations) after their initial vet examination, but we strongly advise getting a yearly head x-ray because that is the only way to confirm and address malocclusion at the earliest stage.

Chinchillas themselves have few contagious diseases, but a chin that has been exposed to other animals (and their fecal droppings, etc.) should have blood samples drawn to conclude that he is indeed free and clear of disease, because other animals can carry diseases that are capable of infecting chins, like Pasteurella or Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (VHD).
You can print out the list below and go over the points with your exotics specialist vet to ensure that at least these basics are covered in the new chin's initial examination. This list may also be used as a checklist for routine health maintenance.

Ears and Paw Pads need to be examined and treated, if necessary, for dryness or callouses. Check for ear mites.

Eyes should be bright and clear. There should be no white, yellow or milky discharge or any dampness in or around them. Dampness around the eye may indicate an advanced case of malocclusion, but usually it's just an eye irritation.

Fecal droppings/ Crap/ Excrement/ Poop/ Stool/ Turds should be of consistent appearance, as in the example photo below, but do not overanalyze fecal droppings and expect them to always appear "perfect." What is normal for droppings can vary somewhat between chins, and some chins normally produce quite large droppings.

Chinchillas practice Coprophagy, or, more accurately, Cecotrophy, they reconsume some of their own droppings as part of their normal digestive process.
These droppings, that differ from the final deposit, are called, "cecotropes."
(more on chinchilla cecotropes and Coprophagy)

Don't overreact at the first sign of smallish (constipation) or squashy fecal droppings!

A change in droppings is actually symptomatic of a problem rather than a problem in itself, and usually the problem is related to some aspect of husbandry, such as: overfeeding treats, an abrupt addition or change in diet, or an environmental stress factor such as a chaotic environment, cagemate incompatibility, fear of other houshold pets, a major lifestyle change or relocation, etc. Once the underlying problem has been addressed, e.g., the addition/ change in diet has been slowed or temporarily discontinued, etc., the fecal droppings will return to normal within a day or two. If the environmental stress factor is the stress of a move, say, if the chinparents have relocated or just brought their new chin home, then he may just need a little time to settle in.

As long as there are no other symptoms besides a change in fecal droppings (if there are, see an exotics specialist vet immediately), and as long as there isn't rank-smelling diarrhea (see Giardia), then squashy droppings, even a regular case of diarrhea can be helped by trying ONE of these suggestions. Be aware, though, that although this will treat the SYMPTOM in the short term, if the underlying problem goes unaddressed then the symptom will continue to recur:

Administer acidophilus+ for small animals or Bene-Bac (see international suppliers)
Offer a small piece of burnt toast (must be charred) or
charcoal nuts (see international suppliers)
Give the chin access to hay only (no water, treats, pellets) for 6-8 hours. This will not cause GI stasis, chins can safely go up to 24 hours without water (this is vet verifiable; a state of extreme stress either mentally or physically can put a chin temporarily off his food or water) barring other complications and we've treated squashy droppings this way at our rescue for years.

The primary symptom of Giardia is VERY repugnant, strong-smelling diarrhea. Parasites, Giardia in particular, are a contagious condition and a new chin (or any chin with foul-smelling diarrhea) must be checked and cleared of this by an exotics specialist vet BEFORE contact with other chinchillas. This is not a common problem, but parasites can be present in tap or well water and this is why chins should have only distilled or filtered water.

Hard, unusually small fecal droppings are an indication of inadequate food intake or constipation. It is not unusual for a chin who is experiencing environmental stress, or who is recovering from a recent operation, illness or injury to eat less for a time until the stress factor is resolved or until he recovers from his condition and regains his full appetite.

Constipation can indicate a temporary intestinal blockage, sluggishness from lack of dietary fiber or potentially GI stasis, but the far more likely and common cause of constipation is environmental stress, especially the stress of a move or from prolonged confinement in a smaller cage or carrier. If the latter is a possibility, give the chin extra out-of-cage exercise time and restore him to his larger cage at the earliest opportunity. A small piece of prune, fig or a raisin can encourage gut motility as long as other symptoms are not present that would indicate illness rather than environmental stress, if illness is suspected see an exotics specialist vet immediately.

Fur needs to be looked at for signs of fur biting or fungus. Chins that check positive for fur biting should be considered NFB. Fungus, Ringworm in particular, is a contagious condition that a new chin (or any chin exhibiting signs of fungus) must be cleared of BEFORE contact with any other chinchillas.

General Attitude should be observed to determine if there are any abnormalities of movement, response, or use of limbs. If the chin is acting limp and lethargic, check for diabetes or hypoglycemia. If he has a seizure, examine the many causes and pursue a remedial course of action.

Heart and Lungs
need to be listened to for health and clarity, the heart should be clear of murmurs. Chins that test positive for a heart murmur should be considered NFB. A wet nose and hair thinned around the nose (from pawing at it), accompanied by wheezing and sneezing are signs of a cold or respiratory problem. Be aware that sometimes chins expel air sharply through their nose to clear it of some irritating particle, however, this is an infrequent occurrence and it woud be better to have the chin examined by your exotics specialist vet if in doubt.

Teeth should have dark orange enamel (outer coating), which indicates sufficient calcium levels in the body. Clear/ white or light yellow teeth indicate a serious calcium deficiency, which is a cause of environmental malocclusion, but only a head x-ray will confirm malocclusion at the earliest stage. Malocclusion is NOT always a "death sentence," it may be reversible in the initial and mid stages with vitamin C and calcium supplementing among other things, see Implementing Changes and Positive Results.
Your exotics specialist vet should check the growth of both molars and incisors to ensure that the teeth are properly aligned and are receiving sufficient wear. Incisors are readily observable, as in the photo illustration, but viewing molars requires the use of a veterinary otoscope.

Urine/ Pee is darker in color than our light to medium yellow. Chinchilla urine ranges from dark yellow to reddish-orange in hue. If the urine is bright red or if blood, which is of a different consistency than urine, is visible in the urine, then the chin is passing blood and needs the immediate attention of an exotics specialist vet.


A pet's love for his family is forever, unconditional, without qualification, without reservation, is pure and unselfish.

We the caretakers of these wonderful animals must never forget that our animals are dependent on us for their well being. We must provide them with food, water, shelter and health care.

In return, they wag their tail, talk to us in their own way, purr in our ears, cuddle next to our bodies, play with us, lick us, provide us company, bring smiles to our faces and heart. Our pets are someone to talk to when we are lonely, cheer us up when we are blue, always there for us with unconditional love.

Lots of people talk
to animals....
Not very many listen,
though.... That's the problem.
~ Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
They give us so much more than they get.
Imagine how it would be if the whole world acted like
our pets.

~ author unknown