Bloating in Chinchillas

By PetMD Editorial on Jun. 19, 2010

Tympany in Chinchillas

Sometimes referred to as bloat, tympany in chinchillas is a condition in which there is a sudden build up of gas in the stomach. This usually occurs following a diet change or due to overeating. Both of these causes result in constipation and gas production from the bacterial flora in unmoving bowels and quickly build up within two to four hours, eventually leading to bloat. Bloat can also occur in nursing females two to three weeks after giving birth and may be related to hypocalcemia, a life-threatening imbalance of calcium metabolism.

When the chinchilla is suffering from tympany, its abdomen will appear swollen and will be painful to the touch. The chinchilla will try to relieve the pain of bloat by rolling or stretching. It may also be lethargic and appear depressed, with noticeable difficulty in breathing. You should avoid overfeeding the chinchilla to prevent bloat. Give a diet that is specifically adapted for chinchillas, and take special care when changing the animal's dietary habits so that it does not suffer from any other side effects.


  • Listlessness
  • Depression
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Rolling and/or stretching to relieve discomfort



  • Sudden diet change
  • Overeating
  • Hypocalcemia


Clinical symptoms exhibited by the affected animal are characteristic of the condition and aid in making a diagnosis. As an owner, the medical and dietary history provided by can be used by a veterinarian for confirming the diagnosis of tympany.



Treatment by a veterinarian is usually required for tympany and may include passage of a stomach tube or insertion of a needle into the stomach to relieve gas buildup. Nursing females may respond favorably to calcium gluconate given intravenously to help manage hypocalcemia.

Living and Management

The chinchilla should be allowed to rest in peace. Carefully monitor the diet as well as the feeding schedule. Consult your veterinarian and formulate a special diet to be fed during the recovery from tympany.


Bloat in chinchillas can be prevented to a great extent by feeding your pet chinchilla a diet specially formulated for chinchillas. Avoid changing the feed or feeding schedule suddenly. Monitor your pet's feeding and take steps to prevent overeating. Giving adequate calcium supplements to pregnant chinchillas can ensure that hypocalcemia-related tympany does not occur in nursing females.

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