Much like in humans, chinchillas can fracture (or break) bones. Luckily, chinchillas heal quickly from fractures. However, they require sufficient rest and proper restraint during recovery, so as not to aggravate the injury.
A chinchilla suffering from a fracture will suffer from immense pain, be unable to move -- especially the affected portion of its body -- and have swelling around the area of the broken bone. A crackling sound may be heard when the fractured area is manipulated due to the rubbing between the broken ends of the bone. Very rarely do chinchillas have an open wound on its skin. But if this occurs, you will be able to see the broken end of the bone piercing out.
Fractures can occur due to accidents, such as improper handling or the trapping of a chinchilla's legs in the cage's wire mesh, or because of nutritional disorders like calcium and phosphorus imbalances -- wherein the bone becomes brittle and is prone to break.
Your veterinarian can easily diagnose a fracture in the chinchilla by observing its clinical symptoms. Occasionally, however, they will confirm the diagnosis by taking an X-ray of the affected area.
It is better to take your pet chinchilla immediately to your veterinarian if you suspect it has fractured a bone. There, they will reduce the fracture and then apply a bandage to the affected area in order to restrain its movement. If the chinchilla has an open wound, it will be properly dressed and cleansed with antiseptics; antibiotics are frequently prescribed to prevent infections. Your veterinarian might also want to prescribe some vitamin and mineral supplements to your pet chinchilla to help it recover more quickly.
Living and Management
Fractures typically begin to heal between 7 to 10 days. To help in the recovery, place your chinchilla in a smaller cage or living area and restrict its movements. Give the chinchilla sufficient rest and a well-balanced, calcium-rich diet, which helps with the new bone formation. And follow you veterinarian's instructions as to the proper dosage of medication and oral supplements.
To prevent potential limb injuries, caging should have solid floors or mesh openings no wider than one-half by one-half inches (15 by 15 millimeters). Providing a well-balanced, nutritional diet will also help prevent fractures occurring due to nutritional disorders.