Chinchillas are super cute and adorable. We love them to be our little friend at home. Besides their cute faces, another noticeable features on chinchillas is their teeth, right? Well, it is obvious because their open-rooted teeth, which are common in rodents like degus or guinea pigs, keep on growing 2 to 3 inches per year throughout their lives! It is not a big deal since chinchillas use to eat rough grasses or vegetation in their natural habitat to let their growing teeth worn down but when they are domesticated, the pet chinchillas usually being fed with dry and crumbly pellets. Thus, they don’t chew enough to wear down their teeth which puts them in the risk of several dental issues.
Knowing the common dental issues on chinchillas can be important for you as a pet chinchilla owner. With enough information, we can provide our little furry friend a proper treatment to prevent it from getting a dental problem.
Malocclusion is the common dental issues on chinchillas. Malocclusion happens when the chinchilla’s teeth surface hit each other because they do not align properly. Since their teeth keep growing from time to time, at one point there is no more room for the teeth to grow longer and then the teeth are impacted in the gum and jaw bone. Malocclusion can lead to other dental issues like drooling, losing the appetite, until some serious ones like infection and tumors.
3 Kinds of Dental Issues on Chinchillas
1. Cut on cheeks, lips, and tongues
Malocclusion is not only bad for your little friend’s look, but it is also painful for them. Your chinchillas may have some hard times when they try to chew with their abnormal teeth. The sharp edges on the overgrown and uneven teeth may also hurt their mouths from checks, lips, and tongues when they chew on their food and sore and ulcer their gums and around their mouth interior. Your chinchillas will eat slower or even lose their appetite which may lead to weight loss.
2. Excessive Drooling
The overgrown teeth may also make your chinchillas drooling. The excessive drooling can lead to other health problems such as matted fur and fur loss, especially at the fur around their mouths, chins, and front paws. This uncomfortable situation will also make your chinchillas keep on pawing their mouths.
3. Infection and abscess
Malocclusion can be a serious problem if it is not treated properly because it may lead to other health issues such as abscess and infection. So, if you notice your chinchillas exhibit such symptoms of malocclusion, bring it to the vet as soon as possible to get the teeth treated.
The treatment for malocclusion can be different from each case depends on how bad the teeth condition is. As long as the impacted teeth are not infected, the vet will only suggest you change your chinchillas’ diet plan with some type of foods with a soft texture like chopped hay or shredded vegetables or even the liquid one so it will be easier for your chinchillas to chew on. But if the root of teeth is infected, it may need some surgery under anesthesia to remove the tooth. Yup, it does not sound fun at all. We, the adults, even don’t like to get our tooth removed, right?
So, how can we prevent our little friend from getting malocclusion and any following dental problems?
- Feed them with hay
Calling back from the beginning explanation, the overgrown teeth on pet chinchillas happen because they are not fed with such abrasive foods to wear out their teeth just like what they usually do in their natural habitat. Instead, pet chinchillas are fed with dry pellets, alfalfa hay, leafy greens, or any soft type of foods that are easier to chew on or even don’t really need to be chewed at all. Pet chinchillas don’t chew enough to grind and wear down their teeth so their teeth grow faster than before.
Hence, the best way to prevent overgrown teeth is to feed them with rough grasses and foods. The best and easiest one is hay. Feed them with high-quality hay (like for example, timothy grass hay) as much as possible. Hay, eventually, contains fibers so it is not only good for your chinchillas’ teeth but also good for their gastrointestinal tract and their digest system. What a complete package.
- Take them for a regular check-up
Not only you who need regular visitation to the dentist. Your little furry friend also needs regular veterinarian check-up, at least once every 4 months to track its weight, diet plans, growth of the tooth, and its stool production. With this regular dental check-up, any abnormal or overgrown teeth, or any symptoms of dental issues can be spot on earlier so it will be treated immediately before it is too late.
Well actually, once you took chinchillas to your home as your pet, you also signed to commit on taking care of their health throughout their lifetimes. A dental issue like malocclusion is very common in chinchillas and it may happen repeatedly. It may require a life term treatment. So, prepare yourself with proper treatment to tackle down any dental problems. If you have to, you can consult your vet for the most suitable and the best treatment for your chinchillas’ condition. Remember than one of the key to healthy teeth on chinchillas lay down on their diet plan and they type of food that they eat daily.
However, don’t forget to pay attention to other health issues on chinchillas. Besides malocclusion, chinchillas are also prone to heatstroke from unbearable high temperatures, seizures from the lack of vitamins and calcium, choking which can be deadly to them, and bumblefoot from rough cage surfaces like a wire-bottomed cage one.
Chinchillas are execellent as pet because they are sociable and affectionate animals. So, always take care of your chinchillas, okay? May they keep healthy and happy with you as always!