4 Things Guinea Pig Owners Need To Know About Eye Injuries

Posted on: 19 June 2015

Guinea pigs love to run, play, and explore the world, but their high speed adventures put them at risk of eye injuries. Wood shavings, sharp pieces of hay, and even the nails of other guinea pigs can damage their eyes during play time. Here's what you need to know about your guinea pigs and eye injuries. 

What are the signs of eye injuries?

Guinea pigs tend to hide any sign that they're sick or injured. They do this because in the wild, they're prey animals, and showing any sign of weakness makes them an easy target for predators. Because of this behavior, it can be hard to notice that your pigs have injured their eyes.

Stay alert for changes in their behavior like not eating or drinking which are clues that they're not feeling well. You may also notice that one of their eyes is squinted, swollen, or sunken in. Discharge from the eye is another clue that something is wrong. 

Are eye injuries serious?

Eye injuries are a serious problem for guinea pigs. As you've probably noticed, guinea pigs aren't the most hygienic animals, and all of the feces and urine they leave scattered around the cage translates to a lot of bacteria. This means that eye injuries can easily become infected. If these infections aren't treated, your guinea pig could end up with serious complications like partial or complete vision loss, or even the loss of their eye.

How do you treat eye injuries?

If you think your pig has an eye injury, don't try to treat the problem at home. Trying to remove foreign objects from your pet's eye or cleaning the eye could cause further damage. You need to take your pet to an emergency vet that specializes in guinea pigs right away.

If your pig has a foreign object (like a piece of hay) stuck in their eye, the vet will need to carefully remove it before doing anything else. The wound will be cleaned, and an antibiotic will be given. Make sure that your vet doesn't prescribe an antibiotic that is dangerous to guinea pigs, such as penicillin or amoxicillin.

Can you prevent eye injuries?

It's hard to prevent eye injuries in guinea pigs due to their adventurous nature, but you can make a couple changes to their cage to make it a bit safer. You may want to invest in a hay rack to keep hay off of the floor of the cage, and above eye level. You may also want to start using fleece bedding instead of wood shavings to remove the risk of bedding getting stuck in their eyes. 

Guinea pigs can easily hurt their eyes during play time, so stay alert for signs of injury. If you notice any problems, see an emergency vet (like those at After Hours Veterinary Emergency Clinic Inc) right away.