The Signs of Seizure in Chinchillas

Updated July 20, 2017

Seizures are relatively common among chinchillas, whose delicate nervous systems can be upset by many different factors, including a Vitamin C deficiency, food allergies, stress, accidents or illness. Chinchilla owners should always be careful to monitor their pet's diet, safety and activity, but even in the best of scenarios seizures still occur. When they do, it is important to keep the chinchilla calm and out of harm's way. Being able to recognise the telltale signs of a chinchilla seizure will help with this process.

Muscle Twitching

Because chinchillas are small, their nervous systems are more active, leaving them prone to twitching. Usually, this is normal. However, if the twitching continues for a prolonged period of time (more than one minute) in a localised area or spreads to half the body or the entire body, the chinchilla is probably having a seizure. Half-body seizures are especially common in red-eyed chinchilla mutations.


Also common in red-eyed chinchilla mutations, this type of seizure doesn't really look like a seizure at all; the animal simply spins in a circle for a period of time.


If a chinchilla is visibly shaking from head to toe, it is probably beginning to have a seizure. It might simply continue to shake, or it might start to spasm and go rigid.

Rigid Body

If a chinchilla's body goes rigid, often accompanied by muscle spasms, it is probably having a seizure. This is especially common in pregnant chinchillas or chinchillas with Vitamin C deficiencies.

Bowing or Turning Head

Often during seizures, chinchillas will tuck their chin down toward their tail or turn their head sharply to the side, toward the shoulder.

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About the Author

Bess Cozby began writing professionally in 2009 as a newsletter writer for the Center for Christian Living in Fort Worth, Texas. She served as editor-in-chief of literary magazine, "The Tower Light," and also as a researcher for Intellectual Takeout. She graduated Hillsdale College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy.