Signs of Over-Heating

  • Ears may flush bright red as the capillaries dilate.
  • Chinchillas tend to lie down on their sides in the heat of the day, but should always be responsive. Any chinchilla lying down that is not responsive should be checked immediately.
  • Breathing may become shallow and rapid.
  • In severe cases, the chinchilla may lose consciousness and be limp and floppy when handled. Or it may be convulsing.

Emergency Treatment

As a last resort, you can attempt the following if a chinchilla has become severely over-heated.

  • Immerse the chinchilla up to the neck in tepid (NOT COLD) water, to bring down its core-temperature.
  • When the chinchilla regains consciousness and becomes more coherent, remove it from the water, and wrap it in a towel to remove some excess water and leave it in a secure, cool and dark place with minimal disturbance to get over the shock and stress.
  • You can offer some rehydration solution (such as Diaoralyte - available from chemists and mixed according to the instructions on the packet) either from a syringe or water bottle. But do not force the chinchilla to drink, as this will only cause further stress.
  • Seek veterinary advice via telephone, before risking a stressful journey.
  • We are often caught out, one way or another, by our fickle weather, and because of this it is a good idea for the chinchilla owner to keep one eye on the weather forecasts and to be prepared for that sudden, unexpected "heatwave".

As with many things, prevention is far better than any cure. Keeping chinchillas as quiet and cool as possible on those hot summer days will prevent an emergency situation from arising.

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