Can We Start Dialogue about Gluten/Wheat Intolerance?

Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum

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Well-known member
Nov 1, 2012
I wanted to see how I could test for it at the vets? I'm really suspecting that my chin has a wheat intolerance and that's what has caused or triggered his stomach issues since january.

If anybody has experience with this, i was hoping we could touch on:

>alternative feeding (alfalfa only pellets and where to get them)
>introducing more fiber into diet/encouraging more hay eating
>how to soothe stomach? (i heard dried peppermint was good for helping with digestive ouchies)
>what experiences you've had with chinchillas with gluten sensitivities? how did you catch on?


Well-known member
Jan 8, 2013
North Liberty, IA
I've never had an animal with wheat issues. I'm not entirely sure it exists with small animals who are designed to eat grasses and young seed heads. To test for it though you would need an elimination diet. It does not have to be nutritionally complete for short term testing. Just hay and a few simple treats like rosehips and maybe some type of mint for digestion would do it.

Long term you need a multivitamin/multimineral source and alfalfa pellets won't do anything. They are just compressed hay and no different than feeding loose alfalfa. They are not nutritionally complete. You need some type of mineral mix. With other small animals that have similar nutritional needs I have used loose horse minerals. Ronda's chinchillas sells a bird mineral block as supposedly safe for chins. Dunno how complete it is though. Various dried herb and dried edible flower mixtures would help with the vitamins. Fortified human foods could help but you'd have to watch for gluten/wheat free and sugar free cereals or similar. No matter what you use it won't be tailored specifically to chinchilla nutritional needs but half the stuff people feed like rabbit pellets aren't anyway. They are just a neutral energy and vitamin/mineral source for similar animals much like the horse minerals I used for rabbits and guinea pigs when feeding them without a commercial diet. Chinchillas are the only animals I keep that are not fed an all natural species appropriate diet free of commercial feed mixes. I'm working on that.


Well-known member
Apr 14, 2009
modesto CA
I had a father and son and there was 3 daughter chins who had chronic digestive issues that were treated with everything under the sun and the issues still remained-all had chronic loose poo, constipation, bloating, stasis, inpactions and infections-numerous fecal floats, antibiotics, gut drugs to even out peristalsis all without long term success, they were finally diagnosed with wheat intolerance with the elimination diet-100% timothy pellets and loose alfalfa hay and nothing else, improvement happened within a couple of weeks with no more issues, the damage was done though to the intestines and both the father and son developed tumors a few months later and had to be put down-these tumors were not your usual type-it was a thickening of the intestinal walls to the point of obstruction. It won't hurt to try the elimination diet, 100% timothy pellets are readily avaliable now. There have been a few members here who have had chins diagnosed with wheat issues.
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