Note: This guide is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. If there is blood in your chinchilla’s cage, you must determine the cause and talk to a vet.
There’s no good reason for there to be blood in your chinchilla’s cage. It can mean that your chinchilla is severely injured.
Why is there blood in my chinchilla’s cage? The cause could be physical trauma from fighting or an accident, a nosebleed, or bloody stools. Your chinchilla’s urine can have blood in it from a UTI, or it can appear bloody as it dries orange-red. Identify the cause if possible and take your chinchilla to the vet.
The guide below explores why there might be blood in your chinchilla’s cage, and what to do about it.
Causes of Blood in Chinchilla Cage
Blood is never a good sign, and your chinchilla shouldn’t produce any. Some cases are more serious than others, so the cause of the blood should be ascertained. But sometimes, you may think that your chinchilla is bleeding when it actually isn’t (as can happen with dark urine that dries to an orange-red color).
Here is a table of every common cause of blood in a chinchilla’s cage. Afterwards, we’ll look at each point in more depth.
|Cause of Blood in Chinchilla Cage||Description||Severity|
|Fighting||Chinchillas use their teeth to attack. They particularly attack the ears.||7/10|
|Nosebleed||Direct trauma to the nose causes nosebleeds. These can also occur after heart attacks.||8/10|
|Dried Skin on Feet||Blood on chinchilla feet can result from cracked and bleeding skin.||3/10|
|Injured Feet||Chinchilla feet can also be injured in the cage bars, or by splinters.||8/10|
|Bloody Discharge||Chinchillas don’t have periods, so you should never see blood around or coming from your female chinchilla’s rear end.||8/10|
|Blood in Urine||Blood in urine indicates a UTI. But chinchilla urine is naturally deep yellow/orange, and dries orange-red. It can be mistaken for blood even if there is none.||6/10|
|Blood in Feces||This indicates gastrointestinal stasis.||7/10|
Can Chinchillas Draw Blood When Fighting?
Chinchilla pairs can fight even if they normally get along. In some cases, the fighting isn’t serious enough to warrant splitting them. In others, pairs can fall out for unknown reasons and fight seriously. If that happens, the pair could draw blood. Signs of fighting include:
- Fur slip. This is where patches of fur are pulled from your chinchilla’s coat. Obvious bald patches may form, or fur may be evident on the floor of the cage.
- Loud noises. Fighting chinchillas make squeaking noises. A chinchilla that’s deathly afraid of its cage mate may even scream or wail loudly.
- One chinchilla hiding. Sometimes, one chinchilla can bully another. If that happens, the bullied chinchilla will hide most of the time. If it doesn’t have a hide, it will try to stay as far from the other chinchilla as it can.
The worst kind of fighting is with teeth. Chinchillas can bite each other and create big, open wounds. The most easily damaged part of the chinchilla’s body is the visible part of the ear (the ‘pinna’). Bites can leave part of the ear hanging off, or even separate altogether. This results in lots of blood and your chinchilla will need medical attention, although if treated correctly, will live.
Trauma can also result in rapid hematoma, which is where a large amount of clotted blood forms underneath the skin. These can burst and cause a large pool of blood. However, you would notice a hematoma on its ears if you spend any time with your pet.
Fighting can also cause open wounds elsewhere in the body, but this is less likely. The fur forms a physical barrier which makes it hard for another chinchilla to bite the skin. Damage to the ears is most common, followed by the tail, face and feet.
If your chinchilla pair are fighting to the point of drawing blood, you must separate them. You could try reintroducing them at a later date, but some experienced owners state that once they start fighting, they will always fight when placed together. But it’s best for the safety of both chinchillas to keep them apart, for now at least.
Do Chinchillas Get Nosebleeds?
Chinchillas can have nosebleeds, although not for what seems like no reason, as can happen to people. There will be some blood on the cage floor, and some in your chinchilla’s fur under its nose and chin. This can become dried in place.
The leading cause is physical trauma. This can occur either in a fight, or because the chinchilla fell from a height. Chinchillas can also accidentally run or jump into walls when startled, causing head injury. Or, they can injure themselves when running on exercise wheels. This can cause damage to the nose, head, or any other part of the body.
The second cause is a heart attack. This can occur in older chinchillas, even if they’re otherwise healthy (e.g. fed the right diet). You may also notice bloody mucus during a respiratory infection, although this is likely to only be a small amount, and much of it is mucus rather than blood.
Again, if fighting caused the nosebleed, you should separate your pets. You should also take your chinchilla to the vet to determine if there was any further damage, and in case it needs antibiotics.
Blood from Dried or Injured Feet
Chinchillas can easily injure their feet in the wire bars of their cage. Injuries can affect:
- Toenails. These can get torn partially or completely.
- Toes and feet. These can be broken.
There may not be a large amount of blood if this is the cause, as the break may not poke through the skin. You will have to confirm through observation of your pet’s behavior and a close-up check of its feet.
A chinchilla’s feet can also get dry and cracked skin. Sometimes this can result in bleeding. You can easily spot this by checking your chinchilla’s feet for dry skin. Take a damp cloth and clean up your chinchilla’s foot, before placing some moisturizer on it. Check the area for infection: swelling, redness, irritation and perhaps weeping discharge. If there is any, take your pet to the vet. You should also clean your chinchilla’s cage to prevent further infection.
A third possibility is a splinter. A chinchilla’s cage should be filled with things made of wood: chew sticks, wooden platforms, a wooden running wheel, and so on. It’s possible that all that wood gives off splinters. As chinchillas jump around their cages a lot, these splinters can get caught in their feet and cause a small amount of bleeding.
Chinchilla ‘Bloody’ Discharge When in Heat
Female chinchillas don’t have periods whether they’re in heat or not. The female chinchilla’s reproductive system is different to that of a person. Instead of getting rid of the lining of the uterus, the chinchilla reabsorbs it, because minerals like iron in the blood are hard to come by.
As such, it’s not normal for a female to have blood around its rear end, whether in heat or otherwise. If it does have blood around its rear end, this is a sign of physical trauma or a medical condition and you should get your chinchilla checked by a vet.
Should Chinchilla Urine Look Like Blood?
Chinchillas have highly concentrated urine as they conserve water. It looks orange, and can dry to orange-red. It’s possible to mistake this for a pool of blood or dried blood, especially if there isn’t much, there’s low lighting, or you don’t have full color vision.
That being said, there may genuinely be blood in your chinchilla’s urine. This occurs during a UTI (a urinary tract infection). The infection causes damage to the bladder and the pipes that connect it to the kidneys or the urethra, hence the blood.
Why Would a Chinchilla Have Bloody Stools?
Gastrointestinal problems can occur in chinchillas, especially if they are not fed the correct diet. Constipation is more common than diarrhea, although both can occur. In instances of diarrhea the fecal pellets may be accompanied by or covered in blood.
That’s because the chinchilla has to strain to produce them. Other signs of constipation include fewer fecal pellets, and any that are produced are thin and harder than usual. These shouldn’t create big pools of blood or blood stains, but rather small amounts of blood that may transfer from the pellet to the cage flooring or platform.
If your chinchilla has bloody stools, you should take it to a vet and assess its diet. If you aren’t feeding your chinchilla a diet of hay, and avoiding almost all snacks, you should change what you feed your pet. Chinchillas need a diet that mirrors what they eat in the wild, otherwise they get sick with gastrointestinal stasis (GI/constipation), diarrhea, or overweight.
Uncommon Causes of Blood in a Chinchilla’s Enclosure
The above causes aren’t the only ones that can affect chinchillas. Chinchillas can be affected by many of the health conditions that people can, and while they’re uncommon or even exceptionally uncommon, they can happen.
Tongue Laceration Due to Seizure
Another possibility, albeit rare, is that your chinchilla had a seizure. Seizures are not common in chinchillas, even though they are in other small pets. They involve the sudden loss of control over bodily movement and function, and make your chinchilla kick and jerk. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Because seizures involve loss of bodily control, your chinchilla can accidentally bite or lacerate its tongue. A chinchilla’s front teeth are sharp, so this is a possibility.
If your chinchilla passed away and you found lots of blood around its cage, you could ask your vet for a necropsy. A necropsy is where the vet performs exploratory surgery to check what killed your pet. The vet can find latent heart conditions, find any injuries, and make their best guess at why your chinchilla died. This can stop you wondering about any lingering what ifs, and can help you improve your level of care for any other chinchillas you own. As such, we recommend having one done if possible.
How to Clean Blood from a Chinchilla’s Cage
After you’ve figured out what’s wrong and taken your pet to the vet, you should clean any blood from your chinchilla’s cage.
If there’s only a small amount, a deep clean won’t be required. Simply take any bloody bedding and replace it with fresh. Take any cage accessory that has blood on it and wash it in hot soapy water. It may be impossible to get rid of deeply dried blood stains, particularly in wood, so don’t worry if you can’t. If this is a major issue for you, consider buying new cage accessories.
If there’s lots of blood, deep clean the cage. Place the chinchillas in a safe place. If you have a partner or friend who can, have them supervise the chinchillas. Otherwise, keep them in a playpen in the room while you clean the cage. Begin by removing everything and cleaning it. Then, scrub and wipe the cage with disinfectant. Replace everything once it’s dried.
Cleaning Blood from a Chinchilla’s Fur
You should take your pet to the vet if it has fresh blood in its fur. You can keep your chinchilla’s fur relatively clean by dabbing it with a cloth, but bear in mind that it may be bleeding, so this won’t get rid of all the blood. You can then clean the fur properly once your chinchilla’s wound has healed.
Dust bathing may be enough to get slight blood stains from a chinchilla’s fur. If it isn’t, add in a small amount of corn starch. If the blood is matted in the fur, you could consider trimming the matted section out.
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