What is Infertility?

Before you first attempt to breed your chinchilla, make sure both animals in optimal health. Poor health, nutrition, or living conditions can affect fertility.

Infertility in your chinchilla indicates the animal is unable to reproduce. Genetic issues in either gender can cause infertility, and females may be unable to conceive for one of several reasons. Infertility may not be suspected until several breeding attempts have been unsuccessful. If you do believe your chinchilla is having problems with fertility, consult your vet to determine the cause and explore treatment options. 

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Symptoms of Infertility in Chinchillas

The primary sign that your chinchilla is infertile is that the female fails to conceive or lacks interest in mating. Other symptoms may include abnormal vaginal discharge and signs of an underlying condition, such as a bacterial infection or malnourishment.

Causes of Infertility in Chinchillas

Several factors may lead to infertility for male or female chinchillas:

  • Genetic factors associated with reproduction and breeding
  • Nonviable sperm 
  • Lack of egg production 
  • Metritis (uterine inflammation)
  • Vaginal infection 
  • Hormone deficiency that prevents estrus (heat)
  • Malnutrition (inadequate or poor quality feed)
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Breeding too often 
  • Retained fetus, leading to dangerous infection
  • Illness that damages chinchilla’s reproductive organs
  • Injuries to reproductive organs
  • Lack of interest in breeding

Diagnosis of Infertility in Chinchillas

If you suspect something is wrong with your chinchilla after breeding several times without a pregnancy resulting, he or she should be examined by a veterinarian. Your vet will perform standard blood work and other lab tests. In males, sperm may be collected for testing and examination. In females, the vet will examine the abdomen and reproductive organs and X-ray her abdominal area. Your vet may also attempt to diagnose an infection by swabbing your pet’s vagina and examining the mucus under a microscope. Brown or red discoloration may tell your vet that your chinchilla does have an infection that needs treatment.

Treatment of Infertility in Chinchillas

Infertility treatments vary, depending on the cause and nature of the disorder. An infection can be easily treated with antibiotics, rendering a female able to receive a male chinchilla’s sperm so she becomes pregnant.

In males, you may be advised to pay careful attention to his nutritional needs and to watch for hair rings around his penis.

If your female chinchilla lost a kit before birth, she may have developed an infected uterus (metritis). This may lead to obstructions from adhesions. If she didn’t abort the dead fetus, she is at high risk of developing toxemia or blood poisoning.

To promote successful breeding, both male and female chinchillas must receive the most nutritious food available. This means that they should eat more high-quality hay than pellets and treats should be kept to a bare minimum. 

Recovery of Infertility in Chinchillas

Depending on the causes of infertility, your chinchilla may have an excellent outlook for recovery. If a female chinchilla didn’t abort a deceased or deformed fetus, she may develop blood poisoning. If this isn’t detected and treated quickly, the condition can be fatal. If she is treated and recovers, a resulting uterine tube blockage may make it impossible for her to become pregnant.

Once you know what can prevent pregnancy from taking place, be on the lookout for these conditions, including accidental injuries to your pets. If your female chinchilla is just picky about who she will breed with, then allow her to mate only with that male. If she has to be matched to another chinchilla, be aware that she may take her time in accepting the new mate, if she does at all.