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An introduction to chinchillas.

Merry CJ
Vet Tech 1990 Jun; 11(5):315-322
Animal husbandry considerations and biological aspects of chinchillas were discussed. The natural history of chinchillas were summarized. The largest commercial use of chinchillas has been in the fur industry. In recent years, the chinchilla population in the US has increased markedly not only because fur ranches have increased production, but because chinchillas have become increasingly useful in otological research and increasingly popular as pets. Characteristics of chinchillas that make them useful for otological research were considered. Chinchillas have a lifespan of approximately 20 years which makes them useful for long term auditory studies. They have large bullae surrounded by thin bone that allows easy access to the middle ear, cochlea, and surrounding structures. The auditory sensitivity of chinchillas is very similar to that of humans. Some chinchillas by nature are fur chewers and are sold for research since their pelts have little economic value. Care of chinchillas was reviewed. Common ailments of chinchillas were discussed. These include conjunctivitis, enteritis, penile hair rings on males, dental problems, and fur chewing. Corrective actions for these problems were described. Clinical data on chinchillas such as their response to anesthesia, hematology, and urine composition were discussed.
Laboratory-animals; Rodents; Animal-husbandry; In-vivo-studies; Hearing-acuity; Noise-exposure; Inner-ear; Anatomy
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Journal Article
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Veterinary Technician
Page last reviewed: February 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division