Chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger), degus (Octodon degus) and guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are South American rodents living in a semi-arid habitat with varying, species-specific adaptations to water deprivation. Nonetheless, several diseases have been linked to insufficient water intake when these species are kept as pets, such as urolithiasis or obstipation. This study evaluated preferences for drinking systems. Six animals of each species were given a choice between an open dish and a nipple drinker. Food intake and water intake were measured daily for 13 days. Chinchillas in this study had significantly lower water intakes than the other two species, indicating particular species-specific adaptations to aridity. All chinchillas favoured open dishes, whereas the degus and guinea pigs had variable individual preferences. Water intake of chinchillas was similar or higher in this study than in previous studies where nipple drinkers were used. The results indicate that degus and guinea pigs can meet their drinking water needs with nipple drinkers; for chinchillas, other drinking systems may be more adequate.
Doss, GA; Mans, C; Houseright, RA; Webb, JL: Urinalysis in Chinchillas (Chinchilla Lanigera) - In: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016 Apr 15;248(8):901-7 - Link
Objective: To evaluate urine variables in chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera).
Design: Evaluation study.
Sample: Urine samples from 41 chinchillas.
Procedures: Voided urine samples were collected from clinically normal chinchillas that were exhibited during a breeder exposition. Urinalysis was performed within 1 hour after collection. Urine specific gravity (USG) was measured before and after centrifugation with a handheld veterinary refractometer. Urine dipstick analysis and microscopic sedimentation examination were performed on all samples. Additionally, a urine sulfosalicylic acid (SSA) precipitation test and quantitative protein analysis were performed on samples with sufficient volume.
Results: 17 of 41 (41%) samples had a USG ≥ 1.050, and USG ranged from 1.014 to > 1.060. The USG before centrifugation did not differ significantly from that after centrifugation. Protein was detected in all urine samples on dipstick analysis. The SSA precipitation test yielded negative results for all samples tested. Results of the quantitative protein analyses were not correlated with the results of the dipstick analyses or SSA tests. The recorded pH for all samples was 8.5, which was the upper limit of detection for the reagent strip. Glucose and ketones were detected in 5 and 6 samples, respectively. Crystals were observed in 28 of 41 (68%) samples; 27 of those samples contained amorphous crystals.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Urinalysis results for clinically normal chinchillas were provided. For chinchilla urine samples, measurement of USG by refractometry prior to centrifugation is acceptable and protein concentration should be determined by quantitative protein analysis rather than dipstick analysis or the SSA test.
Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas are all classified as hindgut fermenters, depending on primarily cecal microflora for nutrient composition. The rabbit has some unique anatomical features including the sacculus rotundus and the vermiform appendix. Gastrointestinal disorders in these animals can be a challenge to clinicians as not only the motility of the hindgut must be maintained, but the microflora as well. Dysbiosis, or changes in the microflora can release toxins and further alter the pH, microflora and motility. The clinician must also be aware of gastrointestinal pain and hydration status accompanying most gastrointestinal disease.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of restraint time and thermometer insertion depth on rectal temperature measurements in chinchillas and determine the extent of agreement between temperatures measured with 2 tympanic and a rectal thermometer. DESIGN Prospective method comparison study. ANIMALS 47 healthy chinchillas. PROCEDURES Effects of 1- and 2-cm rectal thermometer insertion depths and the effect of manual restraint for up to 5 minutes were evaluated. Near simultaneous temperature measurements were obtained with a human tympanic, a veterinary tympanic, and a rectal thermometer by 2 observers. Duplicate temperature measurements were obtained for each method, and the sequence of measurements was randomized for each animal. RESULTS Rectal temperature readings obtained at a depth of 2 cm were significantly higher (mean ± SD, 1.14 ± 0.77°C [2.05° ± 1.39°F]) than those obtained at 1 cm. After 3 minutes, manual restraint had a significant effect on rectal temperature. The reference interval for rectal temperature in chinchillas with a 2-cm thermometer insertion depth was calculated as 34.9° to 37.9°C (94.8° to 100.2°F). Both tympanic infrared thermometers had significant systematic bias (0.42 ± 0.12°C [0.76° ± 0.22°F]) and proportional bias (0.88 ± 0.14°C [1.58° ± 0.25°F]). The coefficients of reliability for the rectal thermometer, the human tympanic thermometer, and the veterinary tympanic thermometer were 0.86, 0.85, and 0.69, respectively. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Rectal thermometer insertion depth and duration of manual restraint had a significant effect on rectal temperature measurements in chinchillas. Because of significant systematic and proportional bias, tympanic thermometry was not considered a suitable replacement for rectal thermometry in chinchillas.
Ceftibuten is a new oral cephalosporin with an unusual stability to β-lactamases that can hydrolyze other extended-spectrum cephalosporins. Using the chinchilla animal model, we compared the efficacy of ceftibuten (n = 33) with that of saline (n = 34), ampicillin (n = 32), and cefixime (n = 31) for the treatment of acute otitis media caused by β-lactamase—producing nontypeable Hemophilus influenzae. Ceftibuten was superior to ampicillin regarding the time necessary to sterilize the middle ear (p < .001) and eliminate effusion (p < .001). The mean days of therapy required for bacteriologic cure were 2.57 for ceftibuten, 2.95 for cefixime, 7.95 for ampicillin, and 8.16 for saline. At the conclusion of therapy, chinchillas treated with ceftibuten had a significantly lower prevalence of positive cultures and middle ear effusion than did animals treated with ampicillin. No significant differences were observed between ceftibuten and cefixime. The results of this randomized, investigator-blinded experiment warrant further consideration of ceftibuten as a second-line agent for acute otitis media caused by ampicillin-resistant H influenzae.
The Chilean chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) is threatened in its natural habitat and there is very little information concerning the reproductive biology of this species. Our main objectives were to investigate the postnatal testis development in this rodent, with emphasis on Sertoli and Leydig cell proliferation and the establishment of puberty and sexual maturity. Forty-four animals from one day to 30 months of age had their testis and epididymis prepared (time of collection for animals from 5 to 30 months of age, May–November in the southern hemisphere) for histological and stereological analyses. Both Sertoli and Leydig cell proliferation occurred up to two months after birth and their total number per testis were stable thereafter. Based on spermatid release from the seminiferous epithelium and the presence of sperm in the epididymis, puberty in chinchilla took place at around three months of age. However, testis weight and tubular diameter and epithelium height appeared to stabilise only after the animals reached 17 months of age, indicating that the establishment of full sexual maturity in this species takes a relatively long period of time. This particular finding indicates that chinchilla might represent an interesting experimental model to investigate the mechanisms that regulate the establishment of this important event of reproductive physiology in mammals.
The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between the types of chinchilla behaviour and different images of band patterns obtained using the RAPD-PCR technique. The sound-move test allowed classification of the animals into confident, reserved and indifferent ones. The results of the pilot study based on markers OPA07 and OPA12 suggest the existence of DNA regions containing nucleotide sequences that determine chinchilla behaviour. It is advisable that further analyses should be performed aimed at discovering sequences of genetic material that may determine the traits studied. This will facilitate using the band pattern as an additional criterion, beside lineage information, in animal selection