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CASE DESCRIPTION A 3-month-old sexually intact female chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) was examined for sudden onset of non–weight-bearing lameness of the right hind limb.

CLINICAL FINDINGS On physical examination, the right pes was swollen. An open wound on the medial aspect of the metatarsal region exposed the second metatarsal bone, and the pes was displaced laterally. Radiographs of the right pes revealed oblique displaced fractures of the 4 metatarsal bones.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Surgical treatment was elected, and enrofloxacin was administered prior to surgery. The protruding fragment of the second metatarsal bone was excised, and the third and fourth metatarsal bones were repaired with intramedullary pins and external skeletal fixation. The chinchilla was bearing weight on the affected limb 9 days after surgery with only mild lameness. The implants were removed 35 days after surgery when radiographs showed bony union of the third and fourth metatarsal bones and continued reduction of the fractures of the second and fifth metatarsal bones. Fifty-six days after surgery, the chinchilla was bearing full weight on the limb, and radiographs showed bony union of the third, fourth, and fifth metatarsal bones.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings suggested that intramedullary pinning combined with an epoxy resin external fixator may be an effective technique for metatarsal fracture repair in chinchillas. This method allowed physiologic positioning of the limb and functional hind limb use during fracture healing. Prospective studies of fracture healing in exotic small mammals are indicated.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine the prevalence of heart murmurs in chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) and determine whether heart murmurs were associated with cardiac disease.

Design—Retrospective multi-institutional case series.

Animals—260 chinchillas.

Procedures—Medical records of all chinchilla patients evaluated at the Tufts University Foster Hospital for Small Animals between 2001 and 2009, the University of California-Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital between 1996 and 2009, and the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital between 1998 and 2009 were reviewed.

Results—Prevalence of heart murmurs was 23% (59/260). Of 15 chinchillas with heart murmurs that underwent echocardiography, 8 had echocardiographic abnormalities, including dynamic right ventricular outflow tract obstruction, mitral regurgitation, hypertrophy of the left ventricle, tricuspid regurgitation, and hypovolemia. Echocardiographic abnormalities were approximately 29 times as likely (OR, 28.7) to be present in chinchillas with a murmur of grade 3 or higher than in chinchillas without a murmur.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that heart murmurs are common in chinchillas and that chinchillas with heart murmurs often have echocardiographic abnormalities, with valvular disease being the most common. On the basis of these results, we believe that echocardiography should be recommended for chinchillas with heart murmurs, especially older chinchillas with murmurs of grade 3 or higher. Further prospective studies are needed to accurately evaluate the prevalence of cardiac disease in chinchillas with heart murmurs.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association