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What are Abscesses?

These infections develop after a chinchilla has sustained a skin injury or been bitten by another animal. Bacteria from its surroundings or from the mouth of the animal that bit it cause the infection, which can be dangerous, needing immediate treatment. 

Treatment of an abscess and underlying infection in a chinchilla can be difficult because the abscess may branch off from the main site of infection.

An abscess forms in a chinchilla after it develops an infection. When the chinchilla’s body senses an infection has developed, its immune system responds to protect the area where the infection is developing. In doing so, its immune system sends leukocytes, or white blood cells, to the injured and infected area. The white blood cells create a wall that holds the infection in so it can’t spread to infect other areas of the chinchilla’s body. You’ll see the presence of leukocytes as characteristic pus, which causes a swelling and inflammation around the infection.

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Symptoms of Abscesses in Chinchillas

You’ll notice several symptoms when your chinchilla has developed an abscess:

  • Lump under the fur (may be hard)
  • Area is reddened
  • Chinchilla may be in pain
  • Abscess leaks pus
  • Animal acts strangely as infection spreads
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bad breath (for abscesses in mouth)
  • Eating is painful (mouth abscess)
  • Wet fur around mouth (mouth abscess)

 

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Causes of Abscesses in Chinchillas

The causes of abscesses in your chinchilla are fairly direct:

  • Bite from another animal
  • Other traumatic injury

Once you notice your chinchilla is injured, in pain, or not feeling well, get it to the vet immediately. An abscess can be potentially deadly if it ruptures; the pus and bacteria can migrate to other areas of your pet’s body.

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Diagnosis of Abscesses in Chinchillas

Your vet will give your chinchilla a full physical exam, including taking a small sample of the pus within the abscess. He may also run blood tests to determine whether the infection is bacterial (most likely) or viral. If he believes that the chinchilla may have developed a hematoma (a collection of blood outside a blood vessel), a hernia, or a cyst, he’ll run tests to confirm or rule these out.

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Treatment of Abscesses in Chinchillas

The course of treatment your vet chooses depends on whether your chinchilla’s abscess has already ruptured or not. If it has ruptured already, the vet will flush the area with an antiseptic, which helps to kill the bacteria underlying the abscess.

Your vet will also prescribe an antibiotic cream, which should be applied to the chinchillas’ abscess every day.

If the abscess hasn’t ruptured, your veterinarian may have to surgically remove it. This option isn’t always chosen. Instead, your vet may prescribe the antibiotic ointment after draining the abscess. Once the abscess has been drained, it needs to be flushed out to remove all the pus and bacteria causing the infection and abscess. 

Once you’ve brought your chinchilla back home, you’ll have to treat its wound and abscess every day. This means you’ll need to apply the antibiotic ointment as prescribed; you may also have to flush the injury every day so it doesn’t re-fill with pus.

One treatment option for your chinchilla are antibiotic beads or filler. These medications dissolve over the space of several days, allowing the abscess to heal from the inside out. This option requires the vet to stitch the wound closed so you won’t have to flush it out.

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Recovery of Abscesses in Chinchillas

While an abscess is potentially dangerous, if not deadly, for your chinchilla, it is possible for it to recover from its illness. By bringing your chinchilla to the vet immediately, you improve its chances of recovery.

As soon as you notice your pet has an injury, take it to the vet as soon as possible so he can prescribe the most appropriate medication for your chinchilla.

You should also take care to clean your chinchilla’s cage regularly, removing all soiled matter and waste. Ask your vet about the best products to use to kill any microorganisms that may be trying to grow in the cage.

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Abscesses Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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smokey

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white mosaic

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Hard Large Red Lump On Chin
Struggling To Eat(But Still Eating)

hello, today i noticed a very large lump on the chin of my chinchilla. I am on a chinchilla facebook group already so i sent pictures and asked what it was, they all said it was an abscess. i took him to the vet and she put a needle in it, expecting puss but it was just solid and only a bit of blood came out. when she checked his teeth it was all fine apart from a very small bit of puss at the back. she vet did not know what it was so she has given us some inflammatory and antibacterial to give him and return in 5 days and see if it has helped. do you know if there could still be a possibility of it being an abscess? and if not, what could it be?

March 8, 2018

smokey's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Whilst abscesses are common in chinchillas especially arising from dental disorders, other issues may cause swelling on the chin or other areas including response to trauma (scratches etc…); a course of antibiotics and anti inflammatories is a good initial start to see if there is any improvement over the weekend. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/rodents/chinchillas

March 9, 2018

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Mahina

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Chinchilla

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

We took our chin to the vet last night and the abscess ruptured at the clinic we are now home with anti & pro biotics and told to hot compress her area. I hot compressed her this morning but how long I should do it for? And is it normal that the lump is still there it’s just much smaller but not red,it’s very hard too.

Jan. 4, 2018

Mahina's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, without knowing where the abscess was, how large it was, or how long it had been present, I can't comment on how long to use the warm compresses on the affected area, as each situation tends to be different. Those are great questions to ask your veterinarian, who saw and treated the abscess, as to how long to expect it to take to recover back to normal, and how long you should be using the warm compress therapy for her. I hope that everything goes well for Mahina.

Jan. 4, 2018

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