Keeping people safe while caring for pets during the COVID-19 outbreak

To all our valuable clients and their pets, we at the Veterinary Center will continue to stay open to care for ill pets during this difficult time, but to ensure the health and safety of you, your pets, and our staff, we are implementing some new protocols:

  • We will take appointments, as usual; however, pet owners will not be allowed in the building. Pets will be handed off in their carriers to our staff in the parking lot outside the Center. Staff members will carefully remove pets from their carriers inside the building and then return carriers to pet owners in the parking lot. No other personal objects (toys, blankets, etc.) will be taken into the building.
  • Pet owners will be asked to provide detailed accounts on the phone to the staff about what is going on with their pets. Owners are welcome to listen on their phones to the appointment in progress as it goes on in the exam room and should feel free to ask questions as the doctor comes up with recommended plans for treatment.
  • Once the staff and the pet owner have agreed on a treatment plan for a pet, owners will be asked to sign permission for treatment online and can either wait in their cars in the parking lot until their pet’s care is complete, or they can return later to the Center at a time they work out with the staff to pick up their pets.

All payment for services will be due at the time of treatment, as usual, and will be processed over the phone. We are sorry if these new policies inconvenience our clients in any way, but in order to keep our staff healthy so that we may be there to treat your pets, we feel that these steps are necessary. We cannot compromise on these new policies and risk the health of our staff. Please be patient during these trying times so that we can all get through this safely and not compromise our health or the health of our beloved pets.

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  • Monday-Thursday: 9am-6pm
  • Friday: 9am-5pm
  • Saturday: 9am-1pm
  • Sunday: Emergency Phone Consultations Only

Chinchillas

Behavior

Chinchillas are rodents that are generally nocturnal (active at night) but can also be active during the day. They should be provided with some quiet time during daylight hours and a hide box in which to sleep, if they choose. They are curious, social pets that bond closely with their owners. They generally like to be held close and cuddled. They defecate frequently and can be trained to use a litter box. When they are stressed, their stool may become soft, and they may chew on their own fur—a process called barbering. They may also release large clumps of fur when they are restrained unwillingly. Chinchillas need to bathe in fine dust 1-2 times a week to keep their coats healthy. Bathing dust is commercially available at the Veterinary Centerand from pet stores and can be provided to chinchillas in small metal boxes. Chinchillas should be kept at cool, dry temperatures (approximately 55-70˚ F) and should not be overheated, as they are prone to heat stress.

Chinchilla Housing

Chinchillas should be housed in the largest cages possible. The minimum cage size for an adult chinchilla is approximately 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet. Cages may be made of welded wire mesh but should have some area of solid flooring to prevent the development of pressure sores on the soles of the feet.

Ideally, cages should have multiple levels to enable climbing and jumping. Bedding should be made from paper. Plain paper, newspaper, or commercially available shredded recycled newspaper products are all adequate.

Wood shavings are not recommended, as they can be dusty and irritating and are indigestible. Chinchillas should be taken out of the cage every day to play and exercise, but they should never be left unsupervised, as they may chew on electric cords, painted surfaces, and other toxins.

They should also be kept away from other potentially predatory pets such as cats and dogs. In addition, since their teeth grow throughout their lives, chinchillas should be provided with safe wood objects on which to chew.

Nutrition

The main component in a chinchilla’s diet should be hay. Full-grown adult chinchillas should be offered unlimited amounts of timothy hay. Young, growing chinchillas or nursing mothers can be given alfalfa hay that is higher in calcium content than timothy hay. Long-term consumption of alfalfa hay by an adult chinchilla can lead to the development of bladder stones from excessive calcium absorption into the blood and urine.

Chinchillas should be provided with small amounts (1-2 tablespoons per day for an adult) of commercially available pelleted food specifically formulated for chinchillas. Diets made for rabbits or other rodent species are not recommended. Ideally, pellets for adult chinchillas should be made from timothy, rather than alfalfa, hay due to alfalfa’s excessive calcium content. Small amounts of low-calcium-containing fresh greens (such as dark lettuces and other vegetables) can be offered daily to provide fiber and wear down growing teeth. Excess vegetable consumption can lead to diarrhea.

Sugary treats (such as raisins, dried fruits, yogurt drops, etc.) and high fat foods (such as nuts and sunflower seeds) should be avoided to prevent gastrointestinal upset and obesity. Fresh water should be provided every day via a sipper tube or water bottle.

Healthcare For Chinchillas

Chinchillas should be checked annually by an exotic animal veterinarian. Proper diet and housing should be discussed, and a complete physical examination should be performed, including a check of the pet’s front and back teeth.

The chinchilla should be weighed, and a stool sample should be analyzed for undesirable bacteria or parasites. Proper preventive medical care before problems arise can help promote lifelong health for your chinchilla.

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