Xiao Bai The Chinchilla: Bladder Stones

Chinchillas can live up to 10 years or more, which is a long lifespan for a rodent. Some of the common ailments include dental, gastrointestinal and urinary problems.  With their dense fur, chinchillas are also prone to heat stroke.

Xiao Bai, 2-year-old male Chinchilla.

Xiao Bai, 2-year-old male Chinchilla, was eating lesser, lethargic & having difficulty urinating.

X-rays done at Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East) revealed stones in Xiao Bai’s bladder and urethra. The signs and causes of bladder stones in chinchillas are similar to that in rabbits -> “Zara The Rabbit: Bladder Stones”.

xiao bai bladder stones

For some chinchillas like Xiao Bai, excess minerals such as calcium that are not flushed out with urine accumulate in their bladder to form stones. Some stones may exit the bladder & get lodged in the urethra.


Dr Sarah Wong, Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East), made an incision in Xiao Bai’s abdomen to access his bladder & remove the stones.


Xiao Bai was unable to pass out urine due to obstruction caused by the stones. Build-up of urine may cause the bladder to rupture, resulting in a painful death.


The full bladder was expressed & you can see the outline of the largest stone.


Stones removed from Xiao Bai’s bladder. Some stones may form due to excess calcium in diet. Timothy hay is recommended for adult chinchillas as it has lower calcium content than alfalfa hay.


Size of stones compared with a 10 cent coin.


One of the stones was lodged in Xiao Bai’s urethra. Sterile saline solution was instilled through a catheter into the bladder, in an attempt to flush the stone out of the urethra. It was unsuccessful as the stone was too large to pass through the narrow urethra.


A catheter was then inserted via Xiao Bai’s urethral orifice to flush the stone back into his bladder so that it could be removed. This process, called retrograde voiding urohydropropulsion, was also unsuccessful.

Perineal urethrostomy (removing the penis to create a wider urethral opening) can successfully treat urinary blockage in male dogs and cats, but is complicated in small animals like chinchillas. Scar tissue could possibly cause another obstruction in the urethra and there is also a high chance of stones recurring after surgery.

The most humane choice was to euthanise Xiao Bai while he was still under general anaesthesia. Our heartfelt condolences to Xiao Bai’s family. He will be missed.