Common Dental Problems in Chinchillas

in Teeth

Dental problems are a serious and common issue for chinchillas. As with other rodents, a chinchilla's teeth will continue to grow. Some chinchillas have a genetic predisposition to malocclusion. Injury and diet also contribute to tooth development. Overgrowth can also occur in animals if they are not provided with a proper way to naturally wear down their teeth. There are ways to identify and prevent dental issues.

Malocclusion
Malocclusion is the misalignment of the teeth. There are many factors that can lead to malocclusion. They include genetics, diet, and the absence of something to gnaw on.

Genetics play a significant role in dental development. Malocclusion is considered a polygenic trait, which means that a combination of inherited genes will cause a chinchilla to be more susceptible to problems. Chinchilla breeders have tried to eradicate this disease by carefully selecting breeding pairs, but they have been unsuccessful. Malocclusion is more common among unnatural breeds, such as ebony, violet, and sapphire chinchillas.

Nutrients play an important role in the development of the teeth. A diet consisting of too much sugar or low amounts of calcium can cause the teeth to malocclude. Food and hay can become stuck in between teeth and lead to misalignment. Food or hay can also get stuck under the gums, causing abscesses that will lead to problems.

A chinchilla will naturally chew and gnaw to wear down its teeth. If something is not provided, such as a wood block or lava rock, the teeth will continue to grow and become a detriment to the animal's health. If a chinchilla will not chew, it is a sign that there is a problem.

Symptoms
Common symptoms of malocclusion are watery eyes, weight loss, and drooling. The eyes will water because the back molars are near the eye socket. Tooth soreness can cause a chinchilla to stop eating. Drool or slobber that forms while a chinchilla is eating is a good indicator that there is a problem. The inability for a chinchilla to close its mouth is another sign.

Prevention
Unfortunately, some chinchillas will develop malocclusion because of bad genetic luck. Factors that are controllable include a healthy diet, a safe environment, and providing wood blocks, lava rocks, and other items to gnaw on. Inspect the jaw bone to find bumps or abscesses, and continually look for the common symptoms.

Treatment
It is possible for a veterinarian to file the front teeth if they become too long. Problems with the back molars are much more serious and usually fatal. If this happens, the chinchilla will usually be put down because it can be very painful and untreatable.

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Tim Andrews has 1 articles online

To find out more about chinchillas, visit Chinchilla Cage HQ. To find out how bedding can play an important role in your chinchilla's health, check out this page, Safe Bedding for Your Chinchilla

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Common Dental Problems in Chinchillas

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This article was published on 2010/03/28