Bumblefoot in Chinchillas {Reasons & Remedies}

Bumblefoot is such a dreadful occurrence that causes strain on you and pain for your lovable pocket pets including chinchillas.

What should you do when a pet gets bumblefoot? What makes chinchillas so susceptible to this infection?

In this article, we’ll discuss bumblefoot in chinchillas to help anyone going through this with their pocket pets.

Bumblefoot in Chinchillas

The dreaded bumblefoot in chinchillas is caused when their feet are infected and inflamed. Calluses grow, crack, bleed and continue this way without effective treatment.

It may start with red or swollen footpads from too much interaction with cage wires or other reasons which we will discuss further with helpful remedies for bumblefoot in chinchillas.

How Do You Treat Bumblefoot Chinchillas?

Go to the vet for medication. The treatment for bumblefoot is a lengthy process and it causes the rodent a great deal of discomfort.

In order to maintain cleanliness in the region, the feet need to be bathed many times each day. The typical treatments consist of:

  • soaking in a solution of vinegar and water
  • applying colloidal silver
  • using a wash of prescribed chlorhexidine

What Antibiotic Treats Bumblefoot?

In many cases of bumblefoot, bacteria, including staphylococcus spp., have been found. This occurs when the lesion is not discovered and treated in a timely manner before it develops into an acute condition.

If the illness is severe enough, the veterinarian will most likely recommend antibiotic treatment for your chinchilla with a medication such as:

  • Erythromycin
  • Penicillin

Why Are My Chinchillas Feet Red?

Reasons for chinchillas to have red feet include:

  • Sore hocks
  • Overweight
  • Standing on wire
  • Wet bedding
  • Scabs
  • Cuts
  • Lesions
  • Bumblefoot

Treatment is available at the vet’s clinic with prescription involving antibiotics and topical ointments along with liquid solutions for washing your pet’s feet.

The process takes time and requires patient care with preventative tips to keep their enclosure dry and add fleece liners to limit their interaction with wire bottom cages.

Chinchilla Bumblefoot Causes

Causes for chinchillas to develop bumblefoot include:

1. Wire flooring

The feet are subjected to constant pressure from the wire flooring, which has the potential to irritate them greatly and lead to infection or inflammation.

2. Unsanitary Enclosure

The unsanitary circumstances that result from urine being trapped in fleece also play a role. Abscesses might form if there were bacteria present in addition to a cut or sore in the foot.

Diabetes, obesity, and a genetic susceptibility to bumblefoot are all prominent causes of bumblefoot.

3. Not Enough Floor Time

Chinchillas, like most other pocket pets, require floor time because they need time to run around and explore their environment.

Chinchilla bumblefoot is a serious issue that can arise if the animals are not given sufficient time outside of their cages.

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Bag Balm Chinchilla?

Bag Balm is a type of chinchilla ointment and a great answer to how to moisturize chinchilla feet. It has gained popularity because it is safe for consumption if your chinchilla starts licking at it.

Bag Balm works well for dry and sore skin including the feet of your rodent pocket pet. I would recommend Bag Balm as a preventative measure against skin cracks and sores.

Only use the product when you notice dryness or redness in the skin or footpads. If the feet are cut, open with sores or infected, you will need the help of a vet’s prescribed:

  • ointments
  • antibiotics
  • liquid wash solutions

I keep some on hand because I know that if I catch something early, I can safely apply it on my chinchillas’ feet and not worry about any possible harm from them licking at it.

Chinchilla Toe Injury

You might be seeing the process of the swelling after a chinchilla toe injury. If you want to lessen swelling, I would put ice in a bag and then cover that bag with a towel.

You may use triple antibiotic ointment, but the correct medication for animals may be a product like DermaGel.

When you’ve brought down some of the swelling, make sure your chinchilla gets some rest before considering taking them to the veterinarian..

The visit might be costly and you are already taking the appropriate steps to treat it. If the skin cracks, breaks and you see an infection forming, I would be more worried about it and see the vet for possible bumblefoot treatment.

Chinchilla Foot Bleeding

If your chinchilla’s foot is bleeding, there might be something sharp in the enclosure that caused it. Check the wiring for any sharp edges and inspect everything inside their shelter to make sure there are no places that could create such wounds.

Now that the foot is bleeding, you can apply a liquid bandage after treating it with an antiseptic. The goal is to prevent any infection.

As an infection progresses, it opens up wounds. As they become infected, these sores are referred to as ulcers or abscesses are very painful.

Pus will be evident within or around these wounds, and you could also detect further bleeding from the chinchilla’s foot. A vet will help in this case to treat bumblefoot or other infections that may have developed.

Dry Chinchilla Feet

It is not unusual for chinchillas to have dry feet.  Even a slight bit of cracking and the development of calluses are to be expected.

On the other hand, this is not a huge problem unless you start seeing open sores. Bacteria are to blame for the unpleasant symptoms of bumblefoot that could develop or worsen the condition.

4 Signs of Bumblefoot

1. Diseases of the urinary tract or the intestines

When chinchillas have problems with their stomachs, they might have diarrhea. This can happen if you don’t eat right or if you have a stomach bug.

No matter what, diarrhea is messy, and your chinchilla might stand in it. This hurts the foot and makes any cuts or scrapes on the foot worse. In the same way, UTIs can make bumblefoot worse.

2. Obesity

The more weight a chinchilla has to carry on its feet, the more likely it is to get bumblefoot.

3. Arthritis

This can make a chinchilla not want to move, which means it stands on certain parts of its feet for longer.

4. Too small of a cage

If your chin’s cage is too small for it to jump or move around in, it won’t exercise and will again spend long periods of time putting pressure on certain parts of the feet.

5. Damage to the feet from things like cuts, splinters, broken toes or feet

Damage to your chinchilla’s body can make it painful for it to stand and change the way it walks. This changes where on its feet it puts pressure.

Bacteria can also get into the feet if they have been hurt. There may be more than one reason. Bumblefoot is often seen in chinchillas that have been neglected and have many other health problems.

Reasons For Bumblefoot

  1. Pressure sores are the main culprits to bumblefoot. Most of the time, these make calluses. If the callus keeps getting bigger, it can turn into a blister.
  2. Once pressure sores appear, scrapes and cuts can do more damage to the skin. These are what lets the bacteria in.
  3. If a chinchilla has the wrong kind of bedding, it can hurt its feet. Chinchillas should sleep on fleece because it is just the right amount of soft, firm, and absorbent.
  4. Wire bars are uncomfortable to stand on, but what’s worse is that they put different amounts of pressure on different parts of their feet.
  5. This means that only small parts of your chinchilla’s foot have to carry all of its weight. This speeds up the death of skin and tissue and makes blisters appear more quickly.
  6. Bumblefoot is caused by bedding that doesn’t absorb urine, water, or feces well enough. Especially urine and water can hurt the skin, and then the bacteria on the cage floor can get into the wound and cause bumblefoot.

Can Bumblefoot Spread?

No. There is no transmission of bumblefoot to you or other chinchillas. A healthy chinchilla won’t get bumblefoot if it is placed adjacent to one that has the disease.

Yet, there is a good chance that the other chinchillas will develop bumblefoot if one has it in an inappropriate cage.

One chinchilla can infect another with the bacterium that causes bumblefoot, but a healthy chinchilla won’t catch them if its feet are free of open sores.


Your chinchilla won’t want to put weight on the foot since bumblefoot makes the foot sensitive even in its early stages.

You could see the tiniest swellings in the foot pads of your chinchilla if you examine its feet. They may even be red. These signs indicate that the feet are swollen and irritated. This might be caused by urine irritation or rough flooring, but it could also be a first symptom of an infection.

The pads on your chinchilla’s foot may also be spread apart. This happens when your chinchilla is unable to stand properly. Moreover, you’ll notice basic signs of discomfort including a stooped posture.

The development of infection results in open wounds. They are highly painful lesions known as ulcers or abscesses if they become infected.

Despite popular belief, bumblefoot can actually become worse. The infection will travel deeper into the foot as it worsens. Muscles, tendons, and even bones may be impacted.

A growing amount of tissue may perish or get an infection. Without treatment, the infection has the potential to spread throughout the body. I advise using the tips in this article to spot the problems and get treatment as soon as possible.


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My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.