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Acta Vet Hung. 2002;50(2):133-42.

Stress-induced Cushing's syndrome in fur-chewing chinchillas.

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  • 1Poultry Center, Croatian Veterinary Institute, 10000 Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, Croatia.


One of the most serious problems in the chinchilla industry is 'fur-chewing', when the chinchilla bites off areas of its own or some other animal's fur. The condition generally develops in both genders at the age of 6-8 months. In chinchilla farms in Croatia an incidence of 15-20% has been observed. A pathomorphological, microbiological and parasitological investigation was conducted on eleven 6- to 11-month-old chinchillas of both sexes with clinical symptoms of 'fur-chewing' and three chinchillas without such signs. Histopathology of the adrenal glands and of the chewed skin revealed changes typical of Cushing's syndrome in 'fur-chewed' chinchillas, such as hyperkeratinisation of the epidermis, epidermal atrophy, pronounced follicular and sebaceous gland atrophy, hyperkeratinisation of the follicles with comedo formations and the presence of calcium salts in subcutis.

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