Retained Fetus in Chinchillas

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 7, 2010

A retained fetus occurs in female chinchillas usually following delivery, though it may also happen during early pregnancy. When the death of the fetus occurs early in the pregnancy, resorption of fetus will normally occur. However, when a fetus dies near the end of term, the chances of it getting retained increase. There is also a chance that a fetus dying near the end of pregnancy may get delivered along with other living kits. Typically, a fetus is retained after the loss of fetal fluids.

This condition should be diagnosed as early as possible and treated accordingly to prevent further complications.


  • Depression
  • Negligence of live kits
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Death


Infection or poor nutrition is often the predisposing cause for this condition. Loss of fetal fluids may also lead to a retained fetus.


An initial diagnosis is made by the clinical signs observed and an examination of the female following birth to see if any fetuses were not delivered. However, the only way to confirm the diagnosis is by taking X-rays of the female chinchilla.


Your veterinarian might administer some drugs like oxytocin, which increases the contractions of the uterine musculature and might help to expel the mummified fetus without surgery. When the chinchilla is not able to deliver the retained fetus, the veterinarian may perform C-section to extract the fetus. Antibiotic therapy would be administered to counteract any secondary bacterial infections and resulting toxemias.

Living and Management

The chinchilla should allowed to rest in a quiet and calm environment and fed a good, nutritious diet should be fed. In addition, the follow-up antibiotic and supportive care as advised by the veterinarian should be routinely followed. If the chinchilla is recovering from surgery, it is also advisable to suitably restrain the chinchilla so that it does not groom the operation site and disrupt the wound healing.


Whenever a chinchilla has given birth, it should be immediately examined to ensure there is no retained fetus. If it is found that a fetus has been retained then immediately contact a veterinarian to treat the condition. This can help prevent cases of retention of the fetus in chinchillas.

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