Fits/convulsions are relatively common in chinchillas. Although no one is entirely certain why.

Symptoms can be ......

loss of coordination



unable to move normally

flattening of ears and a stiff posture

flattening of the body

twitching and head-tilt

stretching head backwards

arching of the back

There are many possible causes ......

hypo or hyper glyceamia (especially in chins less than a year old)

hypo or hyper calceamia (also seen in younger chins)


stress/excitement (AKA feeding fits)

thiamine deficiency (rare)

genetic/hereditary causes




Cardio vascular anomalies



With "calcium fits" the chinchilla can go rigid, with it's head arched backwards, may stagger around and lose it's balance.

"Thiamine fits" are indicated more so by twitching, shaking and trembling, as well as loss of balance.

When a chin is fitting - it is best left alone and quiet - as there is nothing you can do - other than ensure they dont injure themselves.

Afterwards, keep the chin warm and let it rest quietly to recover.

If the fit lasts longer than a few minutes - then veterinary advice should be sought.

A chinchilla that fits regularly should also be taken to the vet - and a diary should be kept (recording details such as what was fed, excercise, temperature, interaction with a companion, age etc etc) which may help the vet pinpoint a cause.

Strokes may look similar to a fit - but are often longer in duration and usually cause some sort of long or short-term disability such as paralysis. In all cases where a stroke is suspected - veterinary attention should be given and some sort of post-event care should be given (treat as for shock).

I hope this helps.

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