What are Infection and Inflammation of the Uterus?

Other conditions can develop as a result of metritis. One of these is pyometra, which is pus that has accumulated in your chinchilla’s uterus. Metritis is dangerous because the infection can migrate to other areas of your pet’s body. One specific infection, postpartum septicemia, has developed in ill chinchillas with metritis and pyometra.

Infection and inflammation of the female chinchilla’s uterus is called “metritis.” The condition typically develops in postpartum chinchillas when fetal remains and the placenta have not been expelled from the uterus. This leads to a bacterial infection which can become potentially deadly. 

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Symptoms of Infection and Inflammation of the Uterus in Chinchillas

When your female chinchilla develops metritis, she’ll be obviously ill with the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vaginal discharge (foul smelling)
  • Swollen genitals
  • Discolored vulva
  • Inability to walk or abnormal gait 
  • Lack of milk for her kits
  • High fever

Causes of Infection and Inflammation of the Uterus in Chinchillas

When your chinchilla develops an infection within her uterus, the causes are typically related to recently giving birth:

  • Retention of a dead fetus
  • Retention of the placenta

Your pet’s condition may deteriorate quickly, especially if she begins to develop septicemia. Before she begins to weaken, take her to the vet.

Diagnosis of Infection and Inflammation of the Uterus in Chinchillas

In examining your chinchilla, the vet will document her clinical signs while he’s giving her a full physical. He’ll also take swabs of her vaginal discharge. The swabs will be stained and examined under a microscope so the vet can determine what kind of bacteria is sickening your pet. The discharge may also be collected for a culture, which also allows your vet to identify the bacteria.

Treatment of Infection and Inflammation of the Uterus in Chinchillas

Once your vet knows what is making your chinchilla sick, he will begin administering one of several treatments. These include administering oxytocin, which will cause your pet’s uterus to contract, as in labor. As your pet’s uterus contracts, it expels pus and mucopurulent debris (infected placenta or fetus).

Your chinchilla will receive systemic antibiotics to help heal the infection once she’s rid her body of the pus and debris. She’ll also receive sulfathiazole mixed in mineral oil. This solution will be inserted through her vagina and into her uterus through a tiny rubber catheter. While she’s receiving these treatments, she’ll also be given overall supportive care, such as foods, water and a quiet place to rest.

If your chinchilla’s metritis has progressed into pyometra, the only treatment that will allow her to recover is surgery to remove her ovaries and uterus. It’s difficult for your vet to find the exact site of the infection in her uterus. A hysterectomy is effective early in her illness because, as your pet gets weaker, it’s more difficult to treat her, even surgically. Also, if she gets metritis or pyometra once, she’s more vulnerable to it again.

Recovery of Infection and Inflammation of the Uterus in Chinchillas

When your chinchilla develops metritis or even pyometra, it is possible for her to recover, as long as she receives early treatment. If she didn’t have a hysterectomy and is still fertile, you and your vet will have to watch her closely during every delivery to ensure that she delivers every kit and the placenta so the risk of another infection stays low.

If she did have to have her uterus and ovaries removed, she’ll have to spend a few days in the animal hospital recovering before she goes home. Follow your vet’s discharge instructions exactly so your pet continues to recover.