Guinea Pig Eye Infection – Diagnosis, Care and Treatments

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vet examining a guinea pig

Guinea pig eye infections are sadly fairly common. If your guinea pig’s eye is weepy, red, inflamed or crusty then visit your vet. They will look in their eyes, put dye into them to make sure they haven’t ulcerated, and if necessary prescribe eye drops and oral antibiotics.

Although it might be tempting to go for a guinea pig eye infection home treatment, this isn’t in their best interests.

Let’s look more at what causes guinea pig eye infections, and whether your guinea pig has one.

There Are Many Potential Guinea Pig Eye Conditions

Self diagnosis is always tempting. Whether it’s our pets or our own medical problems!

But unless we’ve been to veterinary school ourselves, we really aren’t best placed to know exactly what the cause of the issues are.

And we certainly aren’t qualified to dispense the medications that will resolve the problem. Even if we do accurately guess which ones we need.

There are some eye conditions which can be helped by bathing in a cooled solution of boiled water and salt. But without examination by the vet, we don’t know for sure whether something stronger is required in order to help our pet heal.

If you don’t treat your guinea pig’s eye infection promptly and appropriately, then the eye can potentially end up more severely and even permanently damaged.

Sore eyes can also be an indicator of other health issues. Which you might miss by avoiding that trip to the vet. So, do visit the vet as soon as you notice an eye problem. If it can be treated with simply salt water bathing at home, they will let you know.

Guinea Pig Eye Infection Examination

When you arrive the veterinarian will weigh your pet.

vet weighing guinea pig

This is to make sure they are a healthy size. But also to prepare for working out doses for any medication they will need.

Guinea pig eye discharge can look quite distressing. Especially when it is a creamy white color or has turned into a crusty coating.

The eye may even appear to be completely sealed by the discharge, and the guinea pig unable to open it.

If this is the case, the first thing your vet will do is clean the area so that your pet can open their eyes again.

How each vet handles their patient will differ slightly. But here’s what you can usually expect.

Cleaning

The vet will take some clean cotton wool, wet it with sterile water or saline, and very gently rub at the affected area. Carefully removing the crusty layer which is gluing the lids together, and exposing the eye underneath.

You might be surprised by how calmly your pet accepts this procedure. Having their eye open again will be a relief.

Your vet may need to flush the eye out after it’s opened to clear enough of the discharge away to examine it thoroughly.

Inspecting

Your vet will look in both of their eyes. Regardless of whether it’s only one which appears to have a problem.

They will use a device called an ophthalmoscope. This looks like a little torch with an eye piece.

You will need to help keep your piggie still while the vet takes a look into each eye with this device.

They will then drop some dye into each one. This needs to be left for a couple of minutes to settle.

While this happens they will listen to your guinea pig’s chest and examine their abdomen. The vet will ask you about your pet’s current drinking and eating habits. And whether they are pooping normally!

When the eye dye has settled they will use the ophthalmoscope again to look for any damage.

The dye will cling to areas for concern, allowing the vet to better see where any ulcers might be.

Guinea Pig Eye Infection Treatment

The treatment your vet choses will vary depending upon what they think the cause of the guinea pig eye infection is.

They might find some inflammation in the eye, which might be treated with an anti-inflammatory injection by the vet. This one-off injection goes in the skin at the back of your piggie’s neck. The vet will give this at the clinic. And you won’t need to follow it up at home.

If they believe it to be a bacterial infection, your vet will give you some antibiotic eye drops. You will probably need to administer these at home, to both eyes, for the next ten days.

A guinea pig which also has a gunky nose or a wheeze in their chest may be given oral antibiotics.

Expect to give these to your guinea pig once a day, using a syringe.

guinea pig oral antibiotic administration

It is possible to give oral antibiotics to a guinea pig in their water. But it’s much harder to make sure that they have had their full dose. This also isn’t practical if they share their home with other pets.

Make sure you follow the instructions given on the packaging exactly.

Giving your pet their medicine

Your vet will work out the dose based upon your guinea pig’s weight. And tell you exactly when and how to administer it.

Don’t be tempted to guess or use online advice over your veterinarian’s advice. If in doubt, give them a call and ask for clarification.

Oral antibiotics are usually given a nice flavour to try to encourage your pet to accept being given them. But you will still need to hold them firmly and gently.

Eye drops are just as unpleasant for our little pets as they are for us. And just like us, some will be more willing to accept this moment of discomfort than others!

Ask for a hand from a family member if you are having trouble keeping your wiggly pet still enough!

It’s really important that even after the eye looks better, you finish the course of antibiotics for as long as your vet recommended.

Is my guinea pig better now?

If your guinea pig’s eyes still look sore in a week’s time, you will need to make another appointment with your vet for a check up.

If their problem was more serious, an ulcer on their eye for example, your vet might want to see them regardless to make sure that it is clearing up.

Going to the vet is frustrating, expensive and time consuming. But, the quicker and more effectively we deal with our pets illnesses, like guinea pig eye infections, the better.

Not just for our pet’s comfort. But because delaying can make matters even worse and lead to an even longer and more expensive treatment requirement further down the line.

Tell Us About Your Guinea Pig

Has your guinea pig ever struggled with a guinea pig eye infection? If so, let us know about it in the comments.

What did your vet do to help?

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