Guinea Pig eye infection is something that might be pretty common amongst the guinea pigs living in captivity. Eye infection is something that is very common in a lot of animals and guinea pigs are not any different. Eye infections are also something that you should not worry about too much.
You should not be very relaxed regarding it either, but eye infections are not fatal. Although if you keep ignoring the eye infections for a very long time, it might result in total blindness for your guinea pig and that is something you would not want happening to your lovely pets.
Guinea pigs are a rodent species that are not native to Guinea. These animals originated in the Andes in South America. Initially, these animals used to be bred as livestock for meat. Even now, they are still consumed in many parts of the world and a lot of people love eating them.
The people who keep these animals as pets might find the above-mentioned particular piece of information a bit revolting. Some of us can’t even imagine eating these animals that just look so cute and adorable and just imagining eating them would feel like imagining eating your own siblings. Well, not to that extent but you get the idea.
Because we love these animals so much, we cannot imagine them suffering through things like eye infections. Even if they do suffer from it, we would want nothing more than to get them help as soon as possible and resolve the issue so that they won’t have to feel pain.
So in this article, I am going to talk about the guinea pig eye infection, its causes, all the types of problems it will cause and the treatment method the vet will use to treat the guinea pigs.
What Does Guinea Pig Eye Infection Mean?
Which is the most adorable thing about guinea pigs? Their fur? Yes of course, but the other most adorable thing is their cute eyes. Your pet may or may not like it, but you won’t be able to stop staring at their eyes.
These beautiful eyes sometimes can get affected due to various reasons. To be honest guinea pig eye infections are very common in this species and if your pet is not a guinea pig then congratulations!
The guinea pig eye infection includes infection to various parts of the eyes, from bulging of the whole eye to all the way up to damaged cornea. These infections are common and many are curable with proper and timely treatment as well.
Some infections are more obvious and easy to spot whereas some infections might not be visible at the early stages and then pop out at a critical phase. Thus, it becomes important to be aware of different symptoms of guinea pig eye infections and look out for them.
Once you have caught the symptom and identified the type of eye infection like whether it is physical damage or some type of ulcer or even a tumor, consult your veterinary doctor for further treatment. Treatments vary greatly according to the kind of guinea pig eye infection we are dealing with.
How To Spot Eye Infection?
Unlike other diseases or problems, guinea pig eye infection is easy to spot as their symptoms are easily visible. However, not all infections are obvious to spot, and sometimes they may seem normal while possessing a greater threat to your guinea pig.
Your cute, little pet, no matter what happens, will never be able to come to you and say out what’s wrong with them, right? While this seems impossible, what is possible is, we can just get to know them better and try to be aware of symptoms. So that next time they are in trouble we will know.
The guinea pig eye infection can be detected in one of two ways. The first one is by closely examining and observing the eye. Tracking different symptoms can help you in such a case.
The other way is by noticing the behavior of your guinea pig. They begin to get uncomfortable during any such infection. Their actions can help you detect infections. Therefore, let’s get familiar with the symptoms of guinea pig eye infection.
- Red/pink eye
- Swollen eyelids
- Enlarged eye
- Change in eye color
- Eye discharge
- Cloudiness in the eye
- Holding eye closed
- Scratching eye constantly
All the above symptoms will indicate guinea pig eye infection but to further diagnose the infection, consult a veterinary doctor unless you yourself are one. There are different symptoms for different kinds of eye infections.
These above-mentioned symptoms are a result of different kinds of infections. The eye is an extremely delicate organ, not just for guinea pigs but for all animals. Any kind of infection, if ignored, can result in severe damage or even permanent loss of vision.
Thus it becomes very important to detect, diagnose and treat such infections in time. Now let us see what kind of guinea pig eye infection can be seen.
Various Conditions In Guinea Pig Eye Infection
There are many kinds or conditions of any guinea pig eye infection. It is important that you know what should be done with any kind of eye infection. Every condition requires a different kind of treatment and if it is not provided, it could turn into something ugly and not just in appearance. I will be discussing the various types of guinea pig eye infections below.
Before we get to that though, let us discuss more the process involved in providing the treatment to your guinea pigs. The guinea pig eye infection might seem like a small or minute issue at the start but as it gets worse, you will realize that not doing anything about it was a huge mistake.
Because the guinea pig eye infection seems like a minor issue, some people try diagnosing this issue themselves. Self-diagnosing is a very tempting idea whether the issue is related to us or our pet’s medical health. So if you have not studied at a veterinary school and have not got any type of training in this field, you should refrain from trying to solve these issues yourself.
That is because you might not know the cause of the infection and if you do not know that, how are you going to diagnose the pet? Hence, you should know that you have no qualification to do that.
As I said, you can’t just guess the cause of an issue and the types of infections that happen to a guinea pig’s eye have a lot of causes and the conditions or types are different, so it is best to leave the issue up to the professionals and not try to work on the issue yourself. Trusting your vet for the treatment of your pet’s eye infection will be best.
Why Is It Necessary To Go To The Vet?
Like I mentioned in the above sub-topic, self-diagnosing is a really bad idea and you might just make the issue worse than it already is by doing things on your own without consulting an expert or professional.
There are certain types of conditions and symptoms that will be reduced or go away if you used a solution that was made up of boiled water and some salt. But you should know that there’s no way of telling if that is going to help your pet or not.
So if you go to your vet, they can tell you if a solution of boiled water and salt is going to help your guinea pig eye infection or not. They will examine the guinea pig’s eyes and tell you whether something stronger and more effective than a salt and water solution is needed for the treatment of the infection or not.
If the guinea pig eye infection does not get treated as soon as possible, the eye infection might spread, become more severe and cause issues such as corneal ulcer, excessive weeping, tumors, or even blindness if it is left untreated for a very long time.
If your guinea pig has a sore eye, it might be indicating some other health issues that your pet might be having as well. Issues with the eye or any part of the body could be a symptom of something that does not become obvious for a long time.
Hence, it becomes important that you visit the vet and let the vet examine your pet, and determine what needs to be done in order for the health of your pet to be improved. If the issue is something very small that can be treated by saltwater, they will tell you and then you can do that, better be safe than sorry.
Guinea Pig Eye Infection Types
The guinea pig species is prone to many kinds of diseases and disorders. Such as skin diseases, reproductive diseases, dental diseases, and many more. What that tells you is these adorable guinea pigs have some real troubles to face.
Keeping all other diseases aside, guinea pig eye infection alone is enough to cause a lot of trouble to our little friend. Let’s see what are the types of eye infection your guinea pig might be suffering from or might suffer from, in the future.
The guinea pig eye infection can be categorized into 3 types listed below.
- Corneal ulcer
- Bacterial and fungal infections
- Eye tumors
All these three types of eye infections can get fatal over time however they are curable if proper treatment and medication are provided. Let’s straight away jump into it to understand how each infection affects your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs can get infected by a lot of eye problems and ulceration is one of them. Corneal ulcer, as the name suggests, is ulceration on the layer of the eye known as the cornea. It is the outermost layer of the eye, thus it makes this infection critical.
Cause Of Corneal Ulcer
Guinea pigs are kept in cages, these small animals do not have much strength to be sustained in the actual environment. These delicate creatures can easily get injured. A guinea pig can get an injury to its eye due to several reasons.
The reasons can include injury by anything present in its cage or its bedding, injury due to other guinea pigs present, etc. Due to poor defense mechanisms, these species keep their eyes open most of the time.
In such a case, the chances of eye injury can increase significantly. Like getting injured by hay being stuck into the eye or fights including stretching can injure the eye easily. This injury results in an open wound due to damage of the outer layer of the eye i.e. cornea.
This makes an open window and opportunity for bacteria present in the environment to enter and infect the eye. This infection is what leads to the formation of guinea pig eye infections known as corneal ulcers.
Symptoms To Identify Corneal Ulcer
As we have already discussed, symptoms can be detected via two types, by observing behavior changes and by examining the eye visually. The corneal ulcer can also be identified by observing these two types of symptoms.
On a behavioral level, the corneal ulcer will make the guinea pig weak and sick. Which ultimately results in a loss of interest in eating food and in turn will make them weaker. If you notice such a scenario, run to your vet as soon as possible.
Another change you may notice is that they will become shy to some extent. They may seem disinterested or not excited after seeing you. All these behavioral changes are symptoms of corneal ulcers.
Coming back to the eyes, the infected eye may seem swollen or squinted. The guinea pig eye infection also leads to pus which can be easily visible around the eye.
Regarding color change, guinea pig’s eyes mostly are in shades of red or black. But in the case of corneal ulcers, the eyes will appear slightly bluish or white but not in a good way. If any of these symptoms are noticed, consider visiting a veterinary doctor as soon as possible.
Eye injury and infection can be dangerous but the guinea pig eye infection like corneal ulcer affects the first front layer of the eye. Therefore the question that arises is, can this corneal ulcer lead to permanent loss of vision?
Can Corneal Ulcer Lead To A Permanent Vision Loss?
This guinea pig eye infection is particularly associated with one of the most critical parts of the eye. The cornea, as we know, is the first layer of the eye. Light enters the eye from this layer. Any obstruction caused to the cornea will directly affect the vision.
The corneal ulcer causes scarring of the cornea layer. Thus, the scarred cornea will have trouble letting the light into the eye. It affects the vision in such a way that a guinea pig can lose its vision partially or even completely.
However, the guinea pig eye infection is not a threat to your pet even in the case of corneal infection. This is because the guinea pigs do not have great vision in the first place, therefore they can manage well even if their vision is partially impaired.
How Can The Corneal Ulcer Be Treated?
As we know, the corneal ulcer is a kind of bacterial infection. Thus in such a case, your veterinary doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops. These drops will help to kill the infection-causing bacteria already present in the eye.
Getting rid of a corneal ulcer is easy but the tough part is giving eye drops to your guinea pig. Ask someone to assist you in holding the guinea pig steady and then give the drops as prescribed.
2. Bacterial And Fungal Infections
It is not that the eye needs to be injured in order to get an infection. The guinea pig eye infection can be caused even without any injury. Just the exposure of bacteria and fungal spores can cause infections provided the number of bacteria exposed is greater.
You must have heard about ‘conjunctivitis’ caused in humans. It works the same way in guinea pigs too. These bacterial and fungal infections cause conjunctivitis in one or both of the eyes of guinea pigs.
The symptoms of conjunctivitis are redness in the infected eye. One of the prominent symptoms is loss of hair around the eye which has been infected by this bacteria. Discharge, swelling of the eye are other symptoms you may look for.
The guinea pigs tend to keep the infected eye closed to avoid further infection and also due to pain. If you spot any of these symptoms, it is very probable that your guinea pig is infected by bacteria and fungus.
The treatment of guinea pig eye infection of this kind involves obtaining a sample to culture. This culture of bacteria and fungal infection helps to identify which type of bacteria out of millions of bacteria has infected your guinea pig.
However, many veterinary doctors may begin treatment without examining the type of bacteria. In any such case, do not try to cure such infection using home remedies. It can impair the vision of your guinea pig for life.
3. Eye Tumors
Eye tumors or unwanted growths can occur behind the eyes of a guinea pig. This guinea pig eye infection does not directly affect the eye but the tumor formed behind the eye can cause a number of issues.
This kind of guinea pig eye infection is not visible externally unlike other kinds of infections. These tumors can only be discovered with the help of an X-ray by your exotics veterinary doctor.
However, complications caused by the tumor are not completely diagnosed with just the help of an X-ray. Therefore an MRI scan along with an X-ray is often better for analyzing the guinea pig eye infection properly and accurately.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for tumors formed behind the eye. Thus the only treatment your vet can provide is by treating different symptoms caused due to eye tumor. Also, it becomes very much difficult to diagnose the problem in the case of an eye tumor as symptoms are not easy to identify.
How Is The Guinea Pig Eye Infection Examination Done?
I have mentioned before that it is essential that you take your guinea pig to the vet instead of doing anything at home on your own. The veterinarian will determine what the cause of the issue is and then tell you what kind of plan you need to follow to make the infection go away and if there is anything additional that you will need to do.
There are certain things that the vet will do to examine your guinea pig to determine what kind of diagnosis it requires. I have mentioned these things below, read ahead to find out.
The first thing that is done when you take your pet to the vet to get its treatment done is that the vet will weigh your pet to determine whether the weight of your guinea pig is within the healthy limit.
Whether your pet is of a healthy size and weight or not will help the vet determine what kind of medications can be given to your guinea pig when the cause of the infection is determined.
Determining the condition of the eye
The next thing that is done by the vet will be to have a look at the eye to see if they can determine what kind of eye infection it is before they do any tests. The discharge from the eye that happens due to the infection can look very ugly and will be very distressing for the guinea pig.
The discharge from the eye can be of different types as well. The discharge can be of a creamy white color or it could be something that has turned into a crusted coating around the lid of the eye. It can appear to be sealed completely by the discharge and the guinea pig might not be able to open the eye at all even if it tried very hard to do so.
If the eye is completely shut due to the discharge getting frozen or becoming hard then the first thing that the vet is going to do will be to clean the area around the eye and the discharge which will help your pet to open its eyes more easily. Let us discuss how they do that.
Cleaning the eye
The method that the vets use to go about the cleaning business of the eye can vary depending upon the guinea pig they are treating but mostly the cleaning task looks rather simple.
The vet will start with a ball of cotton wool and make it wet with sterile water or sometimes saline and then proceed to rub that cotton wool over the area that is affected, which is usually around the eyes and the eyelids.
The vet will rub the affected area gently to remove the crusty layer that has formed over the eyelids that were formed due to the discharge accumulating over it. The crusty layer would be the thing that would be keeping your guinea pig from opening its eyes so it is rather essential and obvious that the vet would clean that first.
Cleaning the crusty layer will expose the eye and the vet can go on working from there. During the whole process, the vet will keep your guinea pig calm, and anyway, the pets are always calm when such a process is being carried out.
Obviously, the guinea pig will know that its eyes are being cleaned and that will help it in opening the eye which will be a relief for it. After the eye is open, the vet will proceed to then flush the eye and that will clean all the discharge in the eye and the vet can then do all the other things that it needs to do.
The next step in the diagnosing process is inspecting the eye. This is the most important part of the process as it will help the vet determine the cause of the guinea pig eye infection.
Inspection of the eye
The vet is going to be examining both the eyes of the guinea pig even if the infection is in just one eye to help determine what the problem is. So when you see the vet doing this, do not think that they might be mental for doing it. It is a standard procedure.
To inspect the eye, the vet will use a device that is called the ophthalmoscope which looks like a small torch that has an eyepiece. When the vet is doing this, you will need to keep your pet still and calm.
After the vet is done inspecting the eye, they might use a drop to drop some dye in the eye of the guinea pig. The dye will be left to settle for a couple of minutes in the eye. When the dye is settling, the vet will keep doing its work.
The vet will listen to the guinea pig’s chest and then examine its abdomen and chest too, all this while the dye is settling in. The vet is going to be asking you a lot of questions during this process, like what kind of diet you are giving your pet, its drinking and eating habits, whether it has been pooping normally or if its behavior has become restless, and other similar things.
After the dye has settled in the eye of your pet, the vet will again use its ophthalmoscope to look for any guinea pig eye infection and check if there has been any damage done to the eye of the guinea pig.
The dye will stick to the places that have been affected and the vet will get to see if there are any ulcers in the guinea pig’s eyes. The next step is the treatment of the guinea pig eye infection.
Guinea Pig Eye Infection Treatment
As I said, there might be a lot of different causes for the guinea pig eye infection and the vet will determine what that is when they inspect the eye. So, therefore, the type of treatment that your vet is going to tell you about will be based on their observations and what they think the cause is.
- If the vet finds some sort of inflammation in the eye, they might use an anti-inflammatory injection to treat it.
- This injection is a one-off and it goes into the skin at the back of your guinea pig’s neck.
- This treatment is done completely at the vet and it would not require you to do anything at home.
- If the vet finds that the issue is a bacterial infection, then they will give you some antibiotic eye drops for it.
- This antibiotic eye drop will help with the guinea pig eye infection and you will need to give it to your pet at home for a total of ten days in both the eyes or the way the vet has told you to.
- If your pet has other issues along with the guinea pig eye infection like a gunky nose or a wheeze in its chest then the vet will give you oral antibiotics as well.
- You can give these to your guinea pig at least once a day using a syringe or using the method the vet tells you to.
- You can even give the guinea pigs their oral antibiotics through water but that way, you would not know whether they have consumed all their medicine or the full dose or not.
- This method might not be very practical if there are other pets at your home as well. Just make sure you follow all the instructions given to you and it will be all good.
Giving Medicine To Your Pet
The last thing that comes after the treatment is determined, is the type of medicine that is to be given to your guinea pig. The vet will determine what type of medicine is to be given to your pet based on its weight as I mentioned before.
The vet will give you all the instructions about how you have to administer the medicines for the guinea pig eye infection to your pet. It is essential that you ask your vet if you have any doubt regarding the administration of the medicine or any other issues. Searching on the internet for these issues or guessing what you need to do might end up in a disaster.
Why go online when you can just call the vet and ask them? Always ask the vet for any clarification you need regarding anything. When you give the oral antibiotics, remember that they have a nice taste to them so that your guinea pig will have no issue consuming it. Although, remember that you will need to hold your pet down when you give them the antibiotics.
Giving eye drops for the guinea pig eye infection to your pet might be problematic as well if they are not calm enough, so make sure that they are calm and you are holding them down firmly before giving it to them. You can ask someone else to hold your pet down if it is very wiggly.
Through all that, you should keep in mind that it is important that you give the medicines to your pet even when the guinea pig eye infection has gone away or the eye looks much better than before. Remember to complete the whole course of the antibiotics because it was recommended by your vet and the vet knows the best.
How Soon Will The Guinea Pig Eye Infection Heal?
Normally, the guinea pig eye infection should go away or be healed within a week of you starting the medication given by your vet but if the infection has not healed even after a week or the time your vet told you it will take, then you will need to make another appointment at your vet for a check-up.
If the problem is more serious than just a guinea pig eye infection, like an ulcer or something, the vet might even ask you to come again after some time to see if it is healing properly and to not leave any doubt in their minds because every pet is precious after all.
There might be the issue of getting frustrated because of having to go to your vet again and again especially if the fee they charge is a bit high but you should remember that, the health of the guinea pig is above all those things and the guinea pig eye infection must be dealt with as soon as possible.
If you keep putting off going to the vet, the condition of the guinea pig infection might just worsen and it might make you spend even more money than before. So it is best if you take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
Conclusion | Guinea Pig Eye Infection
Guinea pig eye infection is something that troubles your pet a lot. Sometimes they might not be able to open their eyes due to the infection taking place as it sometimes discharges some fluid in the eye and that will form a crusty layer in the eye, disabling your pet from opening its eye.
When a guinea pig eye infection happens, it is essential that you take your pet to the vet instead of giving any homemade remedies to your pet like using boiled water mixed with salt. These things might prove to be useful sometimes, but there are a lot of things that it will not work for and if the guinea pig eye infection is an inflammation or ulcer, it might even get worse
There are a lot of causes for the guinea pig eye infection and many different types of infections that could happen in your pet’s eyes. These might include eye tumors, bacterial infections, corneal ulcers, inflammation, and a lot of other issues as well. So it becomes important that you visit your vet as soon as possible to get the treatment done.
When you take your guinea pig to the vet, they will first weigh the guinea pig to determine if it is within the healthy weight limit and determine what kind of medicine is to be given to it and then they will clean the infected area and then drop dye in the eye and inspect it for the cause of the guinea pig eye infection.
After the inspection, they’ll prescribe a treatment based on their observations and give you medicines for the pet, follow the instructions given by the vet carefully. All you should be worried about is the health of your pet and nothing else because if they are good, life is good.