There are a few ways to determine whether or not your chinchilla is running a fever. Just as a human, a chinchilla’s normal temperature is 98.6 degrees. Without any special thermometer, you can see if the animal has a fever by touching and examining its ears. If they are pink or red in color and feel abnormally warm to the touch, then there is a high probability of a fever. Prior to this method of determining temperature, observe the position in which your pet has been sleeping. Sometimes, if the ears are tucked under the sleeping animal, the ears, warmed by body heat, may produce appearances similar to those described above. Wait a while after the animal has awakened before trying to determine an elevated temperature.
If you do suspect a fever, the animal will probably also appear listless. If this is the case, you should also listen carefully to its breathing. If it experiences difficulty breathing, makes a wheezing sound or shows a nasal discharge it might indicate a case of pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses. In a case of pneumonia, this causes unusual stress to the animal’s circulatory system and heart. In fact, it is this kind of stress that is usually the direct cause of death in such instances. In most cases, you will require the services of a vet to treat pneumonia. Only a trained expert will know the exact type and needed dosage of antibiotics. If such is the case, you should also remember that you will most likely have to administer water to the stricken animal via a water dropper several times a day and make certain the animal is kept warm in a quiet place.
If the symptoms occur minus any difficult breathing, your chinchilla might be suffering from the common cold. In such a case, all you need do is keep the animal warm and be certain it drinks plenty of water. Also, don’t allow the animal to have a dust bath until the cold symptoms clear up. Continually examine the animal to make sure no pneumonia symptoms appear later on.
While pneumonia is not rare in chinchillas, it is more likely that watery eyes are a sign of a more common chinchilla difficulty such as dental problems. If you observe the animal pawing at its mouth or drooling when it eats, dental problems might be the cause. If such a condition has continued for a time, the animal might not have had the proper chewable foods and playthings to wear down its constantly growing teeth properly.