Vitamin B Complex Deficiency in Chinchillas

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 7, 2010

Thiamine Deficiency in Chinchillas

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is one of the B-complex vitamins. It is needed by the chinchilla’s body for processing carbohydrates and manufacturing proteins. Deficiency of thiamine causes damage to peripheral motor nerves that is often reversible when vitamin B1 is restored to the diet. Chinchillas suffer from this condition mainly due to dietary imbalances.

Though treating this condition with injections of thiamine or B-complex vitamins can be effective in chinchillas, changes in the diet to better suit the needs of your pet animal also needs to be addressed.

Due to the damage of peripheral motor nerves, symptoms of thiamine deficiency are usually seizures, trembling and circling, and sometimes paralysis. Treating a thiamine deficiency disorder involves giving oral and intravenous thiamine to the affected chinchilla along with a diet rich in vitamin B1-containing foods like leafy vegetables, hay, wheat germ, etc. Giving your pet chinchilla a vitamin B1-rich diet will ensure that it never develops this deficiency disorder with its associated neurological problems.


  • Trembling
  • Circling
  • Convulsions
  • Paralysis


The main reason for thiamine deficiency disorder in chinchillas is a lack of vitamin B1 in the diet. For instace, diets with little or none vitamin B1-rich foods such las eafy vegetables, high-quality hay, and wheat germ meal can quickly become problematic.


The veterinarian will diagnose thiamine deficiency by observing the chinchilla's clinical symptoms. Your account of your pet chinchilla’s dietary history also aids in making a diagnosis.



Your veterinarian can treat this deficiency with injections of thiamine or B-complex vitamins. The veterinarian will usually treat thiamine deficiency on the basis of neurological and other symptoms presented by the chinchilla.

Living and Management

Once you find that your pet chinchilla is facing a problem of thiamine deficiency, apart from treatment with injectible thiamine or B-complex vitamins, your veterinarian will likely advise you to include thiamine supplements or natural sources of vitamin B1 in the diet, such as leafy vegetables, high-quality hay, and wheat germ meal, to help overcome thiamine deficiency.


Providing a well-balanced diet for your pet is the best way to prevent nutritional disorders like vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency.

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health