Bumblefoot in Chinchillas: Everything You Want to Know

We certainly want to give the best life to our pets, and a part of our responsibility is to ensure their good health and a comfortable environment. The best way to build it is by studying every single thing that concerns them. Now, what is bumblefoot in chinchillas and what is it?

One health issue to know more about is bumblefoot. If you have taken care of rodents before, you might be wondering about the possibility of a chinchilla getting a bumblefoot. For first-time owners, this can be a new encounter.

In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about bumblefoot in chinchillas.

What is Bumblefoot in Chinchillas

Scientifically, a bumblefoot is an inflammation of the skin in the foot, which is also known as pododermatitis. A bumblefoot in chinchillas is a health issue that concerns their footpads. 

Like other rodents, chinchillas also have footpads which harden when walking on solid and hard surfaces. As a result, the hardened skin builds up calluses as a form of adaptation. However, continuous walking on textured surfaces might cause the callouses to be dry, slightly or severely cracked, inflamed, and possibly bleeding. 

With the build-up of fluids beneath the calluses, an early stage of bumblefoot is seen. But, if left untreated, this issue can get a lot worse. Blisters might rupture and get infected by bacteria over time, which may be defined as late-stage bumblefoot. In rare cases, foot infections may result in amputation when it affects the pet’s muscles, bones, and tendons. 

Causes of Bumblefoot in Chinchillas

Out of a few possible reasons why chinchillas can develop bumblefoot, pressure sores hold the record as the most known and common cause. As explained by experts, patches of skin and tissue are formed when the footpads are constantly being put under pressure on various surfaces. Such formations are normal, however, eventually, the sores can be damaged by cuts and scrapes, allowing bacteria to infect them.

Looking into our pet’s way of living, I have come up with a few valid observations that cause pressure sores and foot cuts to our pets.

Firstly, a chinchilla’s bedding is seen as a factor. Wire bars, rough textures such as carpets and uneven flooring, solid hard floor, and uncovered wood floor are probably reasons for the abnormal formation of calluses. Chinchillas experience different levels of discomfort when standing on these surfaces since only a few areas of their feet bear their entire weight. In addition, most of the mentioned beddings also absorb very little of their urine and other forms of dirt which may end up getting absorbed by their foot cuts instead. With this, open wounds and sores can get infected resulting in bumblefoot.

Although nobody has full control to avoid bumblefoot on your pet, the choice of bedding can be of good help. Fleece liners are highly recommended for they provide a very soft surface, providing less pressure on your pet’s feet and an overall comfortable experience.

Signs of Bumblefoot in Chinchillasllas

The early stages of bumblefoot can be recognized by checking your pet’s feet and paw every once in a while. In such a way, you would be able to check on dry skin, abrasions, swellings, redness bleeding, and any callus on their footpads. 

Moreover, behavioral signs can also indicate issues with their feet. When you notice that your pet stops moving around so much, then pain and discomfort on their footpad can be one of the reasons behind such actions. 

For severe cases of bumblefoot, additional signs may be present. Since it gets more painful over time, your pet may move lesser than it did before. Also, look out for dried blood on the beddings, floorings, and their common areas as bleeding is very common for developed infections. 

Take note that these infections can spread around their body eventually affecting organs that can sometimes be fatal.

Bumblefoot Treatment

Before I lay down the proper ways to treat your chinchilla’s bumblefoot, be reminded that bumblefoot isn’t necessarily curable. 

When you notice any of the signs that might indicate the presence of bumblefoot in your foot, talk to a vet right away. Your vet will give you the proper diagnosis, antibiotics, ointments, and other instructions for their bandages and to keep them comfortable at home. In rare cases, your pet may need to have surgery to get rid of the infected tissues.

Once your pet is home again after some medical treatments, make sure you follow your vet’s instructions on proper bandaging, application of the ointment, and giving your pet its medicine. In the meantime, avoid giving your pet a dust bath too, and wait for his further instructions.

Moreover, clean and comfortable bedding and environment can be very helpful for your pet to recover easily. Do this by replacing old beddings and covers with ones with fleece linings and softer textures. Also, be more diligent in cleaning the cage and other areas where it enjoys staying and playing around. Keep the surroundings clean and monitor your pet from time to time.


Prevent Bumblefoot in Chinchillas

Although there are no proper methods on how to entirely avoid bumblefoot in chinchillas, a few techniques can give them a lesser chance of having it. 

Firstly, ensure that their beddings are comfortable. Do not wait for issues to arise before resorting to softer textures and fleece linings.

Secondly, a clean environment is always a must. All their accessories and their cage should be cleaned according to a suitable schedule to make sure that everything is tidy.

Lastly, keep an eye on your pet by checking on it from time to time. Monitor their behaviors and other physical signs. In case of any noticeable changes, contact a vet who is an expert on exotic animals right away.

Final Words

As a saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Just like a bumblefoot concern, nothing beats responsible monitoring, diligent cleaning, and providing your pet’s most suitable requirements.

But even after all these methods are applied, if an issue still arises, call a trusted vet right away.