What is Vitamin B Complex Deficiency?

When she is diagnosed with a vitamin B complex deficiency, it should be your vet who begins the administration of this vitamin complex to her. You’ll find that a good quality hay for chinchillas is high in this vitamin. About six forms of vitamin B help your chinchilla maintain her overall health. Good food sources include leafy vegetables, along with wheat germ meal and high-quality hay.

Your chinchilla may develop a vitamin B complex deficiency when she isn’t getting high-quality foods, such as hay, or when she is ill, stressed, or even pregnant. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins can lead to damaged muscles, loss of coordination of her movements, or even what looks like seizures. A long-term deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) means her legs may become paralyzed. At this point, death is imminent. 

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Symptoms of Vitamin B Complex Deficiency in Chinchillas

You’ll notice troublesome, alarming symptoms when your chinchilla develops a vitamin B complex deficiency:

  • Severe lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • cardiovascular symptoms
  • Excitability
  • Nervousness
  • Reacting with convulsive jumps to unexpected stimuli
  • Body and limb trembling
  • Inability to control bodily movements
  • Circling
  • Difficulty getting in and out of nest box
  • Leaning

Advanced symptoms:

  • Cramps or paralysis of one leg, then two
  • Death

Causes of Vitamin B Complex Deficiency in Chinchillas

The cause of a vitamin B complex deficiency is simple: lack of high-quality foods or hay containing these essential nutrients. This deficiency isn’t a short-standing situation. It develops over weeks in which a chinchilla has begun to display several symptoms that indicate she is definitely not well. Her condition can be treated and reversed.

Diagnosis of Vitamin B Complex Deficiency in Chinchillas

Take your chinchilla to your vet for diagnosis and treatment of her symptoms. After explaining to your vet what you have observed, he’ll ask you about your pet’s diet. He’ll also ask about any other conditions that may have allowed your pet to become depleted in her level of vitamin B complex: pregnancy, nursing, other illness, or stress.

Upon examining your chinchilla and running blood tests, your vet will diagnose a deficiency in her level of thiamine (vitamin B1).

Your chinchilla’s behaviors, nervousness and inability to move around normally will tell your vet everything he needs to know as he is observing her. His physical exam will help to confirm the correct diagnosis.

Treatment of Vitamin B Complex Deficiency in Chinchillas

After making his diagnosis, your vet will prescribe large doses of vitamin B complex, which he will give to your chinchilla for four to five five weeks. She may receive the supplements as injections. As he is administering the vitamin B, he will be monitoring her condition and response to the supplementation. If she returns to normal before the full four or five weeks is up, he will recommend what kind of hay you should be feeding to your pet. Your vet may also prescribe a vitamin B complex supplement to be added to your chinchilla’s food, at a dose of 1 mg of thiamine per kilogram of hay.

If your chinchilla becomes deficient in thiamine while she’s pregnant, nursing, growing or when she has a health condition including diarrhea, she will need additional thiamine supplementation.

Recovery of Vitamin B Complex Deficiency in Chinchillas

Your chinchilla can recover from her thiamine or vitamin B complex deficiency. As soon as you recognize something is wrong, take her to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Once your pet comes back home, make sure you provide only high-quality hays and wheat germ meal for her to eat. She needs nothing else, although she may benefit from leafy vegetables as well, if she likes them.

If you have gotten into the habit of giving your chinchilla regular, daily treats, try to stop this practice. They are “extra,” and give her little nutritional benefits. Keep a close eye on her, especially after she has been ill, or while she is pregnant and nursing, to make sure she doesn’t become deficient in thiamine again. If she does, you’ll recognize her symptoms.