Main Photo Credit Amber Gold -This is a tale sign of heat exhaustion
Watching for Signs of Heat Stroke
Look to see if your chinchilla's ears are red. Chinchillas get rid of heat through their ears. If they're not able to get rid of heat fast enough, their ears may become red. Because of this, red ears are a common sign of heat stroke in chinchillas. If your chinchilla's ears are red, it may be having a hard time cooling off.
Watch to see if your chinchilla is drooling. While your chinchilla may drool for a variety of reasons, drooling may be a sign of heat stroke when paired with other symptoms (like red ears). If you notice your chinchilla drooling and think that it is overheating, move it to a cooler room immediately and call your vet.
Note if your chinchilla is breathing rapidly. Like drooling, rapid breathing may be a sign of a variety of problems. However, paired with red ears and drooling, rapid breathing is a sure sign of heat stroke. In this event, move your chinchilla to a cool area and contact your vet.
See if your chinchilla seems lethargic. If your chinchilla lacks energy, is laying down and panting, or won't move after being exposed to sunlight or heat, it may have heat stroke. In this case, move your chinchilla to a cooler room immediately. Then, contact your vet and ask them what you should do.
Observe your chinchilla to see if it passes out. If your chinchilla loses consciousness and passes out after being exposed to direct sunlight or heat, it is probably suffering from heat stroke. If this is the case, you should contact your vet and begin treatment immediately.
Move your chinchilla to a cool location. Gently pick up your chinchilla and carry it to a cool place. If you’re inside, go to a room that has better access to an air-conditioning system. If you’re outside, go into the nearest building. If there is no building nearby, carry your chinchilla to a shaded area.
- If possible, move your chinchilla somewhere where the temperature is between 50° and 70° F (10° and 21° C).
- Stand in front of a refrigerator or freezer with the door open.
- Use a cloth soaked in cool water to dampen your chinchilla’s ears. After you’ve moved your chinchilla, take a cloth and soak it in cool water. Then, use the cloth to dampen your chinchilla's ears. This is important, as chinchillas release heat through their ears. By cooling its ears off, you’ll help cool your chinchilla’s entire body.
Give your chinchilla a few drops of salty water. If your chinchilla has passed out, give it a few drops of cool salt water when it wakes up. The water should be just a little salty – not as salty as sea water. The water will help your chinchilla’s body move back to its normal temperature.
Get your chinchilla’s body temperature to 100° F (37.8° C). Over the course of several minutes or even an hour, your chinchilla’s body temperature should decrease. Once its temperature is between 99° and 101° F (37° to 38° C), you can take a minute to relax.
- Keep your chinchilla in a cool location. Turn on a fan and let it blow over the chinchilla, but keep it at a distance so it doesn’t stress or frighten the chinchilla.
- Avoid exposing your chinchilla to direct sunlight as you're trying to lower its body temperature.
- Wet the chinchilla’s paws with a little cool water.
Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your chinchilla has heat stroke. After you've stabilized your chinchilla, you should immediately call your vet. When talking to your vet's office, describe your chinchilla's symptoms and let them know what you've done to help your chinchilla. Your vet may:
- Ask you to come in for an office visit immediately.
- Recommend other things you can do to help your chinchilla recover.
Allow your vet to administer fluid therapy. If your vet recommends visiting their office, they will likely suggest giving your chinchilla fluid therapy. Depending on your chinchilla's immediate health, this may include providing fluids and minerals intravenously. But don't worry, in most cases this is done as a precaution to ensure your chinchilla's complete recovery.
Check your chinchilla's blood, blood pressure, and heart rate. In addition to intravenous fluid therapy, your vet will monitor your chinchilla's blood pressure and heart rate. They may also take a blood sample to verify that your chinchilla's kidneys and other organs are working properly.
Leave your chinchilla for observation. If your vet is concerned that your chinchilla has not fully recovered, they may recommend that you leave your chinchilla with them for observation. This way, they'll be able to continue fluid therapy and will be able to provide any additional care your little friend may need to make a full recovery.
- Observation could be overnight or it could be for several hours.
Keep your chinchilla in a location under 80° F (27° C). Because of their thick coat, chinchillas don’t fare well in very warm climates. To make sure your little friend thrives, place its cage in a room that always stays under 80° F (27° C).
- If you live in a cool climate and keep your chinchilla outside, make sure that daytime temperatures stay above freezing and below 80° F (27° C).
House your chinchilla in a well-ventilated area. In addition to providing a cool climate for your chinchilla, you also need to make sure that the room has good air circulation. If the air circulation is poor, the temperature could rise quickly.
- Leave doors open in your home so air can circulate.
- Keep the air conditioner on, if you have one.
- Place a fan near your chinchilla’s cage.
Place your chinchilla’s cage away from direct sunlight. Even if your chinchilla is in a cool room, direct sunlight could cause a rapid increase in temperature. In addition, under certain circumstances, direct sunlight alone can cause your chinchilla to overheat and suffer heatstroke. Keep your chinchilla and its cage away from direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
Provide your chinchilla with a lot of water. Whether your chinchilla is in its cage or outside of it with you, it should have access to water. To ensure this, place a water bowl and water bottle in your chinchilla’s cage. If your chinchilla is outside of its cage, place a water bowl nearby. This way, your chinchilla will be able to stay hydrated, which will reduce the chance of heat stroke.