New Chinchilla with diarrhea, could be my husband’s fault?

Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum

Help Support Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum:


New member
Jul 15, 2021
Hi everyone. I just got my chinchilla, Mazikeen 5 days ago. The first two days she had normal dry hard pellet poops and didn’t seem to have any issues whatsoever. On the second day my husband went and got her all kinds of stuff to spoil her and show he wasn’t mad at me for getting her lol. He bought a bunch of treats and proceeded to give her 4 Timothy fruit biscuits before I realized what he had done. By the time I figured it out, only half of one was left which I immediately removed. She seemed to be okay until two days later. She started having soft stool. I kept an eye on her and made sure no treats were given and kept her hay and pellets in her cage. Now she has bouts of squishy piles that look like mini cow patties and small bouts of just liquid diarrhea. I have removed the pellets and she has nothing but one wooden chew toy (aspen), water, and Timothy hay. She seems to be drinking fairly well and she is definitely eating her hay. But today she seems a little less bouncy but she also for the first time just sat and cuddled in my hand? I’ve cleaned her cage as well twice now to keep her as clean as possible. I’m wondering if she’s getting worse or not. I can’t tell based on her activity if she’s getting comfortable with me or if she’s getting lethargic because she’s sick. I’m so terrified she won’t recover and I’ve called all the vets near by. The nearest one that specializes in exotic small animals like chinchillas is 2 hours away. I feel like putting her through that particular stress will just make her worse at this point. There is a walk in emergency vet about an hour away that will look at her but all they can do is a general exam and a stool sample test. Can someone please tell me if I need to take her to the vet immediately or wait and see if the hay diet helps? I’m also curious about water, she’s from a pet store in town and they have tap water and I live way out in the country and we have water from an under ground spring. I live in Wisconsin if that helps. I’m wondering if it’s the treats my husband gave her, the water change, or something else. She’s still fully on the food pellets the pet store was giving her, I was going to start transitioning on the third day when I noticed she was having squishy poop and I thought any changes would not be good at that point. I am so frantic with worry about her. I already love her immensely. Thank you in advance for any and all advice.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 7, 2012
For chins even soft poop is technically diarrhea, so liquid is very bad. They can dehydrate quickly since they can't, or wont, drink enough to replace the lost fluids. If it's been more then 24 hours and there is no improvement at all you need to get the chin to the vet, even a general vet should be able to give fluids in case the chin has become dehydrated and do a stool test. Then you can take it from there, if the stool sample shows an issue you can then take the chin to the exotic vet for treatment. The idea of taking the pellets away and just giving hay is to hopefully increase fiber and firm up the poops after eating something they shouldn't have, but if it's an illness, infection, or parasite that wont help.

It normally takes about 12-24 hours for something to go through their system so if the diarrhea started 2 days after the treats they are unlikely the cause. I would still not give anymore of these treats though, fruit is not safe for chins for several reasons. Much more likely cause is the water, tap water can have micro parasites namely giardia, in it which causes diarrhea. Do you filter your water? Specifically filter it with a multistage filter? If not she could have caught giardia from the pet store or your home. Even if you get your water tested regularly safe levels for humans are still too high for chinchillas especially when under stress from going to a new home.