Chinchillas, Digestion and Immunity
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Dave Green
Posted on: November 27, 2006

Can you tell me any good herbs that can be fed to chinchillas to help boost immunity and overcome digestive disorders? Chemical probiotics tend to cause more problems than they cure so I would be very interested to learn of any herbs that I can give instead to help assist with both constipation and diarrhea and helping a chinchilla to rebalance its digestive system when it has been off colour or lost its appetite.

I do not have experience with chinchillas but I would think the concepts used with other members of the rodent family might be indicated here. Preventatively, make sure a good diet is provided that includes fresh greens; exercise also helps digestion. When digestive upsets do strike, you could try using Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) powder (1/4 teaspoon twice a day in food) or Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis), the latter as a decocted tea. Take 1 teaspoon dried root and add 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm and strain. Give 1 teaspoon tea twice a day in food. A tea made of this herb will last about two to three days in the fridge before it begins to ferment at which time it should be thrown out.

As for immunity, I have heard of rabbits chewing Echinacea leaves, so you could try an infused tea of the leaves of Echinacea purpurea or E. angustifolia at 1 teaspoon herb to 1 cup boiling water. Let steep for 15 minutes and cool to lukewarm, strain. Feed 1 teaspoon of the tea twice a day in food. This tea will last two to three days in the fridge as well.

I would like to add that animals fed a good diet who also receive ample exercise and are free from stress seldom have immune-related conditions. Prevention in all things is always the key.

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