Posted: September 30, 2013, 4 a.m. EDT
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Possible reasons for discharge from a chinchilla's vagina include infection, inflammation or normal reproductive discharge.
Q: My chinchilla has a yellow discharge coming from her vagina. Do you have any idea what this might be? I have a veterinarian appointment later today, but I was looking for a second opinion.
A: Yellow discharges usually signify that there is mucus and maybe pus in the fluid. Pus is due to white blood cells. White blood cells can be found either because of infection, inflammation or as a normal part of the breeding cycle.
The first thing to do is exactly what you are doing, visit a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can determine by a physical examination of your chinchilla if this is a yellow discharge that signifies disease or if it is just part of the normal breeding cycle.
If your veterinarian determines that it does signify disease, then the question is: where is the disease coming from? Likely it is due to disease in the reproductive tract, but it is possible it could be coming from the urinary tract. If it is from the urinary tract, we worry about infection of the bladder and kidneys or a possible stone in the urethra. If it is coming from the reproductive tract, the most likely area of infection is in the uterus. This is termed a pyometra, and it is not uncommon to find that in chinchillas.
Unfortunately, pyometra infection does not usually respond to just medication. This is the type of infection for which we recommend surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries. The reason we do that is twofold. First, it is difficult for antibiotics to get to the site of infection in the uterus. Second, once a chinchilla has an infection in the uterus, she can be prone to more. Removal of the uterus is typically suggested to prevent future infections of the uterus. Veterinarians try to do such a surgery early in the infection, because a chinchilla gets weaker as the infection progresses. This makes the chinchilla more likely to have a difficulty under anesthesia.
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