Lack of Milk in Chinchillas

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 7, 2010

Agalactia, Dysgalactia in Chinchillas

A lack of milk production sometimes occurs in females that have recently given birth. This is more specifically classified into two main types: agalactia, a complete absence of milk secretion; or dysgalactia, an incomplete or improper secretion of milk to meet the needs of the kits. Lack of milk may be due to many causes from nutritional to infectious and it requires proper veterinary attention.


  • Insufficient production of milk
  • Kits appear malnourished
  • Red and swollen mammary glands
  • Small and underdeveloped mammary glands


  • Age (very young or old)
  • Underdeveloped mammary glands
  • Infectious causes such as mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands)
  • Malnutrition


Diagnosis is based on the history provided by the owner as well as the clinical signs exhibited. For example, your veterinarian will suspect this condition if females have not begun to produce adequate milk within 72 hours of giving birth. Blood tests may be necessary if an infectious cause is suspected as the reason for the lack of milk production.


If milk secretion has not started by 72 hours of giving birth the veterinarian will administer oxytocin injections to improve flow of milk. Oral calcium supplements may also be given to improve secretion of milk.

Living and Management

Follow the supportive care routines set forth by your veterinarian. Allowing kits to nurse from compatible nursing female chinchillas may be an option necessary in unresponsive cases or large litters. Otherwise, hand feeding is another option. Your veterinarian will advise you about the best methods and strategies that will be adaptable for treatment of your female chinchilla.


Giving your pet chinchilla a good nutritious and well-balanced diet can help to prevent this condition from arising due to poor nutrition. Promptly treating any infectious conditions may also minimize the incidences of lack of milk due to infectious agents.

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