I have only come across this problem once in 17 years. With me, it was with a male charcoal kit who I aptly named Piddle. At the time I rang around lots of experienced breeders to see if anyone else had heard of this problem, and only found one other breeder (Brenda from Brenvics Chinchillas) who had dealt with a similar condition (I have since heard of several other cases in the UK in the last 2-3 years).

I have also recently read of the condition in a 1960's Ranchers Handbook, where the kits are described as "wetters". It appears "wetters" were first documented in the 1940's on a ranch in Virginia, USA.

It is basically a genetic deformity of the urinary system, resulting in incontinance. The entire belly is usually soaked in urine, and the chin becpmes very smelly. It is incurable, sadly.

If incontinence is diagnosed (by a vet) then you will need to ensure that the chin is kept as clean and comfortable as possible by ensuring that the fur is clipped short, as it will only get soiled and matted.

Wash the chins belly once or twice a day with a mild antiseptic solution (hibiscrub), diluted in warm water.

Thoroughly dry the chin with a hair-dryer on a cool setting (quicker and more thorough than a towel). Then apply some Sudocrem cream on the skin (sparingly), to avoid urine scald.

There is little a vet can do with this condition (as a chinchilla is too small to perform a "re-plumbing" operation on). So the owner will need to ensure that an affected chin is kept clean, dry and comfortable.

N.B. Mild incontinance can also be caused by infection (i.e. cystitis) or bladder stones. Veterinary treatment/diagnosis is essential. This type of mild (temporary) incontinance usually clears up after appropriate treatment.

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