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Broken Chinchilla Legs

Bone Fractures in Chinchillas

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Chili - Chinchilla Photo

Chili

Photo © 2006 Lianne McLeod, Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Many exotic pets are small and fragile critters with even smaller and more fragile bones, but chinchillas seem to be seen at animal hospitals pretty often for bone fractures. Read on to find out more about broken chinchilla legs.

What is a Bone Fracture?

A bone fracture is another way to say broken bone. There are different kinds of breaks and different degrees of severity. Compound fractures can be more severe since they are not just a broken bone. They also have a wound associated with the fracture, such as a hematoma, or the bone is protruding through the skin. Compound fractures are at a higher risk of getting infected than simple fractures.

Simple fractures are just a broken bone with no skin wounds. These may be able to be fixed depending on where the break is located and how long it has been broken.

Fractures can also be broken down into more specific types such as oblique, complete, compression, and others.

How Did My Chinchilla Break A Leg?

The most commonly seen reason for broken chinchilla legs is ramps. Tiny chinchilla legs tend to fall between the wire spacing on ramps when they hop on and off of them and they get stuck. The chinchilla then struggles and tries to break free from the ramp and a bone fracture results.

Other reasons include being dropped, being stepped on, getting stuck elsewhere in the cage or hay hamper, or from being malnourished. If a chinchilla does not receive an appropriate diet his bones will become weak, brittle, and prone to fracturing.

What Do I Do If I Think My Chinchilla Broke His Leg?

Get him to your exotics vet as soon as possible! Although the fracture itself may not be an emergency, your chinchilla is in a lot of pain if he does have a broken leg and the stress his body goes through from the accident and the pain is enough to kill him. Even if the first vet you take him to cannot help you fix his leg ask for pain medications and anti-inflammatories to keep him comfortable while you get him more help.

Your vet may be able to tell if the leg is broken without radiographs (x-rays) but a radiograph is the best way to see what and where it is broken exactly. It may need to be splinted or have surgery to place pins in it to hold it together until it heals. If the leg is unable to be repaired surgically, splinted, or is a break that is more than a few days old it will most likely need to be amputated.

How Can I Prevent This From Happening?

Make sure you are providing the proper chinchilla diet to keep his bones strong, remove anything that you could see him getting stuck in, such as a wire wheel, a hay hamper or hay ball, wire ramps, etc. Have children sit on the ground when handling chinchillas and make sure you and everyone in the house knows when your chinchilla is out of his cage so that they can pay extra attention to where they are stepping.

Accidents happen and when they do don't blame yourself. Plenty of chinchillas do great with only three legs or while they have a splint or bandage on their leg and they will be back to jumping around before you know it.

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