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.
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.