Bacterial (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) Infection in Chinchillas

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 7, 2010

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection in Chinchillas

In chinchillas, infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosais bacteria is the most common bacterial infection. This is mainly because Pseudomonas aeruginosa are mainly found in unclean environments, and when the immunity of the chinchillas is compromised or reduced, the bacteria gain an upper hand and cause disease. The infection may be passed by direct contact or contaminated fecal droppings. Young kits may get it by nursing from an infected mother.

Since Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection spreads quickly among the chinchillas it is necessary to immediately segregate the infected chinchillas from the normal ones. To prevent infection, maintaining good cleanliness and good sanitary condition inside the cages is necessary.


  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Ulcers on the eyes or mouth
  • Pus-filled blisters
  • Mammary inflammation
  • Miscarriage of the fetus
  • Infertility
  • Death


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a disease-producing bacteria found in unclean drinking water and cages or contaminated fecal droppings. It typically affects chinchillas with weakened or immature immune systems. Young kits may also get it by nursing from an infected mother.


Your veterinarian would carefully observe the clinical signs for any involvement of internal organs. Blood tests may be taken to detect the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Alternatively, swabs may be collected from the ulcers in the skin or conjunctival swabs may be taken for culturing in suitable medium. Confirmation is based on a positive identification of colonies of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.


Treatment involves the administration of specific antibiotics to help overcome the infection. Topical antibiotic ointments are used to treat local ulcers. Good supportive care in the form of vitamin and mineral supplements may be needed. If the chinchilla has suffered from diarrhea then electrolyte solutions should be administered orally to help the chinchilla from getting dehydrated.

Living and Management

When recovering from a bacterial infection, your pet chinchilla must be placed in a clean environment. Clean and disinfect the cages before allowing the chinchilla inside. Do not allow the recovering chinchilla to come in contact with other chinchillas as apart from chances of passing on the infection to other chinchillas the infected chinchilla will have poor immunity and could easily get secondary infections from the other chinchillas. Follow the supportive care as advised by your veterinarian to help your pet make a quick recovery.


To prevent infec­tion, improved sanitation, general chinchilla husbandry and sanitation are required and disinfec­tion practices should be intensified.

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