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Any Experience With Or Advice For Eye Infection/eye Ulcer!

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HayHay

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Hi I'm new to the forum but I've owned guinea pigs for a really long time but in this last week I ran into a problem with my pig Eloise where she developed an eye infection and I'm in need of advice!

First off, Eloise is an extremely old guinea pig and is 7 years old and has never had any health problems up to this point. Her eyes are normally dark but about three or four days ago I realized one of them had turned almost completely red, including the sclera and cornea, and looked foggy. I took her to the vet the next day and told him I couldn't find anything lodged into her eye so I thought it was conjunctivitis. Then he sort of looked her over and said it was probably an infection that may have ulcered and gave me Terramycin to rub into her eye 2x daily. However, it is now day three or four and her eye looks almost worse than before and is bulging and extremely swollen, red and runny. It looks absolutely horrid! It is so swollen she won't or can't shut her eye. Weirdly It also looks to be spreading to the other eye, which is starting to run and become irritated. As such i started putting the ointment into that eye too to halt the infection in its tracks. I'm going to try and get her into the vet tomorrow since it's Christmas today, hopefully that happens.

But in the meantime, I'm very confused because I've looked at pics of other pigs with ulcerated eyes from getting poked by hay and stuff, and they just do not look as swollen and horrible like Eloise's. and because her other eye is irritated too, it seems like it might be infection that's causing this, not an injury. But then why does her eye have the ulcer? Has anyone had any similar experiences?

Additionally the poor thing isn't wanting to drink and will only eat veggies and fruit and has been sort of avoiding her pellets and timothy hay. As such, her poops have become smaller and softer, sometimes with little "tails" at the end. I've started to syringe feed her water but she still doesn't seem to want much. I'm also unsure if she's been urinating, but it doesn't seem like it. I have been supplementing her with the occasional raspberry if she'll take it for fiber since she won't eat the pellets! I put a warm water bottle next to her to keep her cozy. Is there anything else I could be doing? Does anyone know what this could be and if/when it will clear up? I'm very worried, she's so old I'm afraid we'll have to put her to sleep if she doesn't improve soon :( and she's clearly in a ton of pain.
 

Veggies Galore

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A health and illness guru ejill answer this post.

Can you give us an idea where you are located? We have members all over the world and knowing which country and county you live in can help us tailor our advice.

Personally, I think you need to find a vet with better experience of guinea pig care. She needs to be reviewed by a vet . If she is in pain, she needs painkillers.
 

Wiebke

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Hi I'm new to the forum but I've owned guinea pigs for a really long time but in this last week I ran into a problem with my pig Eloise where she developed an eye infection and I'm in need of advice!

First off, Eloise is an extremely old guinea pig and is 7 years old and has never had any health problems up to this point. Her eyes are normally dark but about three or four days ago I realized one of them had turned almost completely red, including the sclera and cornea, and looked foggy. I took her to the vet the next day and told him I couldn't find anything lodged into her eye so I thought it was conjunctivitis. Then he sort of looked her over and said it was probably an infection that may have ulcered and gave me Terramycin to rub into her eye 2x daily. However, it is now day three or four and her eye looks almost worse than before and is bulging and extremely swollen, red and runny. It looks absolutely horrid! It is so swollen she won't or can't shut her eye. Weirdly It also looks to be spreading to the other eye, which is starting to run and become irritated. As such i started putting the ointment into that eye too to halt the infection in its tracks. I'm going to try and get her into the vet tomorrow since it's Christmas today, hopefully that happens.

But in the meantime, I'm very confused because I've looked at pics of other pigs with ulcerated eyes from getting poked by hay and stuff, and they just do not look as swollen and horrible like Eloise's. and because her other eye is irritated too, it seems like it might be infection that's causing this, not an injury. But then why does her eye have the ulcer? Has anyone had any similar experiences?

Additionally the poor thing isn't wanting to drink and will only eat veggies and fruit and has been sort of avoiding her pellets and timothy hay. As such, her poops have become smaller and softer, sometimes with little "tails" at the end. I've started to syringe feed her water but she still doesn't seem to want much. I'm also unsure if she's been urinating, but it doesn't seem like it. I have been supplementing her with the occasional raspberry if she'll take it for fiber since she won't eat the pellets! I put a warm water bottle next to her to keep her cozy. Is there anything else I could be doing? Does anyone know what this could be and if/when it will clear up? I'm very worried, she's so old I'm afraid we'll have to put her to sleep if she doesn't improve soon :( and she's clearly in a ton of pain.
Please have her seen by a vet ASAP. You can usually find local out-of-hours services via your vet's answering machine if there are any.

It could be a retrobulbar abscess (an abscess behind her eye) or in infection that has gone into or behind the eye. If you want to get on top of that, she will need a very strong antibiotic like zithromax (azithromaycin) to have a chance. It could be that elongated tooth roots/dental problems are at the bottom of it.

She also needs a painkiller, and you have to start syringe feeding her immediately.Here are tips on what you can do with what you have got at home.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

If that is not possible (especially as we are in the middle of holidays) or it is not working, you may have to face some very tough decisions, as an eye removal operation is likely too be the only other option, and depending on the quality of vet care that is available to you, it may be risky at her older age. The sooner you can get her seen, the more of a chance you may have left. :(

As we have members from all over the world, you can help us a lot by please adding your country, state/province or UK county to your details. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!

@furryfriends (TEAS) @MintyAndGarry (TEAS) @Abi_nurse
 

Abi_nurse

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She sounds like she has glaucoma (but it may be something else too like an abscess as Wiebke has suggested). The first vet you saw didn't sound too helpful, what exactly did they say was wrong with the eye, did they check the pressure of the eye at all?

Sounds like she needs to see a vet ASAP. Regardless of the holiday season vets work all year so your practice will either have own vets working or use a 24hour hospital so you can reach a vet 365 days a year. She sounds like she needs some intense treatment. Pain relief is a must, the eye or eyes may need removing as they sound very bad, but first vet needs to find the cause of this problem and then also prescribe potentially antibiotics. If you go don't the treatment route be careful not to be given just baytril as this will be useless and not strong enough for an abscess or infection that this may be.

Good luck, but please call a vet ASAP.

x
 

HayHay

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A health and illness guru ejill answer this post.

Can you give us an idea where you are located? We have members all over the world and knowing which country and county you live in can help us tailor our advice.

Personally, I think you need to find a vet with better experience of guinea pig care. She needs to be reviewed by a vet . If she is in pain, she needs painkillers.
Well I live in Southern California USA, in Los Angeles County. The vet we saw is a small animal vet who also works on all my other pets, so I trust his competency. He works on rabbits and other rodents in addition to dogs and cats. But there is an exotic vet I could go to, though I don't really want to get a second opinion until I've had her on the Terramycin for slightly longer (it's only been 4 or 5 days since we started the regiment.) The Exotic vet also charges the same amount for an appointment as our other vet does for appointments AND the costs of medicine and medical tests combined. So I would like to wait. Today the eye is looking slightly less horrific, and that makes me feel better. She also ate some red leaf lettuce and celery for breakfast. I'm trying to get her to eat celery since she doesn't want to drink water.

I was mostly just looking for advice about how to take care of her in the mean time, and if anybody had experience with conjunctivitis and ulcerated eyes. Also er poops are still slightly abnormal from not eating well and I was wondering what I could be supplementing her with in the meantime. The vet told us to call him back in 7-10 days so she can come in for a follow up unless anything pops up before then. I was thinking of calling again today anyways since my elderly dog is his patient too and she too is having some health issues (unrelated) and I was going to inquire about pain meds for the g. pig Like you suggested! Thanks!
 

HayHay

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She sounds like she has glaucoma (but it may be something else too like an abscess as Wiebke has suggested). The first vet you saw didn't sound too helpful, what exactly did they say was wrong with the eye, did they check the pressure of the eye at all?

Sounds like she needs to see a vet ASAP. Regardless of the holiday season vets work all year so your practice will either have own vets working or use a 24hour hospital so you can reach a vet 365 days a year. She sounds like she needs some intense treatment. Pain relief is a must, the eye or eyes may need removing as they sound very bad, but first vet needs to find the cause of this problem and then also prescribe potentially antibiotics. If you go don't the treatment route be careful not to be given just baytril as this will be useless and not strong enough for an abscess or infection that this may be.

Good luck, but please call a vet ASAP.

x
He said it seemed like maybe she got poked by hay or something and that it looked to be conjunctivitis caused by a secondary infection and that he wasn't sure if the white was an ulcer or glaucoma, the latter we can't really do much about, but if it was an ulcer antibiotic eye ointment would do a good job of clearing the infection. So he prescribed me Terramycin, an antibiotic ointment, instead of drops since she's so good about being handled and ointment stays in the eye longer and lubricates better than drops. He also said that because she is so old, she might just be on her last legs and I could have to make some tough decisions. So surgery of any kind is not a likely option. I doubt she'd survive anesthesia poor old pig. I'll call him back today and tell him what's up. Thank you for your advice!
 

HayHay

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If this is at all helpful for anyone, here is a picture of her eye, the other one is only slightly irritated and much healthier by comparison. I've started terramycin in that eye as well to quell the infection before it exacerbates. Anyways, the eye in this photo also seems to be slightly better than it was last night, but still looks pretty bad. Keep in mind her eyes are normally darkly colored. Any thoughts? IMG_20151226_112554427.jpg
 
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helen105281

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That does look like it could be a hay poke, but I am glad you are getting a second opinion. My Tim had a retrobulbar abscess earlier this year and lost his eye because of it, so time is off the essence. Good luck. Hopefully they will give you pain relief for her too.
 

Wiebke

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Well I live in Southern California USA, in Los Angeles County. The vet we saw is a small animal vet who also works on all my other pets, so I trust his competency. He works on rabbits and other rodents in addition to dogs and cats. But there is an exotic vet I could go to, though I don't really want to get a second opinion until I've had her on the Terramycin for slightly longer (it's only been 4 or 5 days since we started the regiment.) The Exotic vet also charges the same amount for an appointment as our other vet does for appointments AND the costs of medicine and medical tests combined. So I would like to wait. Today the eye is looking slightly less horrific, and that makes me feel better. She also ate some red leaf lettuce and celery for breakfast. I'm trying to get her to eat celery since she doesn't want to drink water.

I was mostly just looking for advice about how to take care of her in the mean time, and if anybody had experience with conjunctivitis and ulcerated eyes. Also er poops are still slightly abnormal from not eating well and I was wondering what I could be supplementing her with in the meantime. The vet told us to call him back in 7-10 days so she can come in for a follow up unless anything pops up before then. I was thinking of calling again today anyways since my elderly dog is his patient too and she too is having some health issues (unrelated) and I was going to inquire about pain meds for the g. pig Like you suggested! Thanks!
UPDATE: taking Eloise to a different veterinarian today who specializes in exotics!
Good that you are having her seen again today. Eye infections/injuries can develop and go wrong very quickly. They are one area where you cannot wait if there is any deterioration whatsoever. :(

Keeping my fingers very firmly crossed for your poorly girl! That eye is looking ever so sore! :(
 

HayHay

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Good that you are having her seen again today. Eye infections/injuries can develop and go wrong very quickly. They are one area where you cannot wait if there is any deterioration whatsoever. :(

Keeping my fingers very firmly crossed for your poorly girl! That eye is looking ever so sore! :(
Thank you very much! We're home now with some more eye ointment and oral antibiotics. She's perked up after subcutaneous fluids!
 

HayHay

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Update for anyone who was curious, we're back from the vet. Eloise's eye is dried out and ulcerated, we think, because for whatever reason, she can't close her eyelid right now. So her eye dried out and needs to be lubricated. No fluid in the lungs, no runny nose so likely not a respiratory infection. The doctor did an eye stain though and has prescribed an oral antibiotic (Orbifloxacin) and over the counter Saline eye ointment to be applied every two hours in addition to the Terramycin eye ointment. Hopefully we can get that eye to heal up and stay lubricated. I bring her back in a week for a follow up.

Since being home she is eating some pellets (amazing what subcutaneous fluids can do for a pig) and seems perkier in general. She also took ger antibiotic like a champ! The doctor gave me a good syringe to give her water and keep her hydrated. So yeah this turned out to be a weird situation...we'll see how it goes I guess. Thank you to everyone for the advice and well wishes. I'll keep you posted.
 

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Update for anyone who was curious, we're back from the vet. Eloise's eye is dried out and ulcerated, we think, because for whatever reason, she can't close her eyelid right now. So her eye dried out and needs to be lubricated. No fluid in the lungs, no runny nose so likely not a respiratory infection. The doctor did an eye stain though and has prescribed an oral antibiotic (Orbifloxacin) and over the counter Saline eye ointment to be applied every two hours in addition to the Terramycin eye ointment. Hopefully we can get that eye to heal up and stay lubricated. I bring her back in a week for a follow up.

Since being home she is eating some pellets (amazing what subcutaneous fluids can do for a pig) and seems perkier in general. She also took ger antibiotic like a champ! The doctor gave me a good syringe to give her water and keep her hydrated. So yeah this turned out to be a weird situation...we'll see how it goes I guess. Thank you to everyone for the advice and well wishes. I'll keep you posted.
Please make sure that you keep weighing her daily at the same time, and that you can top her up with syringe feed/water her if necessary. It is important that she has got the body strength to fight the infection. You can also up the amount of vitamin by giving her 1/8 of a human vitamin C tablet daily to boost her immune system.
See your vet promptly if there is any sign of a deterioration; the quicker, the better.

All the best!
 

HayHay

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Please make sure that you keep weighing her daily at the same time, and that you can top her up with syringe feed/water her if necessary. It is important that she has got the body strength to fight the infection. You can also up the amount of vitamin by giving her 1/8 of a human vitamin C tablet daily to boost her immune system.
See your vet promptly if there is any sign of a deterioration; the quicker, the better.

All the best!
Yup vet told me all that too! No worries! Thanks!
 

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A few months ago my pig Cookie ( who has sadly passed away) got a red eye and when I brought her to the vet I was told it was probably a hay poke as others have said. The vet put orange eye drops in so that she could see what damage was done and then she gave my eye drops and painkillers. Then she was fine. I think she was partly blind in that eye after that though. But pigs can cope fine with blindness. Also can I just point out that she didn't pass away because of her eye problem, it was something else. Hope this helps or at least puts your mind at rest.
 

HayHay

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A few months ago my pig Cookie ( who has sadly passed away) got a red eye and when I brought her to the vet I was told it was probably a hay poke as others have said. The vet put orange eye drops in so that she could see what damage was done and then she gave my eye drops and painkillers. Then she was fine. I think she was partly blind in that eye after that though. But pigs can cope fine with blindness. Also can I just point out that she didn't pass away because of her eye problem, it was something else. Hope this helps or at least puts your mind at rest.
Thank you! And I'm sorry about your pig!
 

HayHay

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Hi I know it's been a few weeks, but I thought I'd update for anyone needing help with this in the future, or who was curious about how this turned out.

Eloise is a little old pig who just keeps on trucking. Her messed up eyeball, surprisingly, has healed tremendously where it looks almost normal colored again. The swelling went down and the infection seems to be gone, as she can close her eyelid and blink now. There is still some ulceration, but considering it was so bad I didn't think it would heal, it looks great. I took her in for her recheck yesterday, vet said the eye looks much better, but to continue to lubricate it with the saline ointment several times to see if we can get the ulcer to heal completely.

In addition to the recheck, I had the vet check her out for some urinary problems that popped up; her urine got really dark sometime after we first went to the vet. At first I though it could be a UTI, but if that was the case it would go away because she was already on antibiotics. Then I figured it could be normal oxidation, or her decreased water intake from being sick (I was giving her water with a syringe though, which she accepted happily most of the time) or just that she's old and her kidneys were failing or she had a stone or something and I'd mention it when we went in for her check up. Then the other day I noticed what seemed to actually be definitive blood in her urine, and some straining/squeaking while pooping so I took her in.

The vet was unable to get a urine sample because there was no pee in her bladder and she wouldn't produce any when given fluids either. But they did an ultrasound and didn't find any stones (hooray!) But did notice the lining of her bladder and urinary tract was inflamed and thick. Eloise is now on .5 mg of SMZ (which is probably better known as Bactrim to everyone on this website) twice a day for a urinary infection. But I'm not really worried considering she weighs more than she did when I took her to the vet a few weeks ago, and is eating and drinking and a little more active too. She's being given a balanced diet and I've been sprinkling acidophilus on her wet veggies a few hours after giving her her antibiotics. Any suggestions on other methods of probiotic delivery? I've mixed it in with cranberry and given it to her via syringe before. A lot of sites aren't very explicit when describing probiotic supplementation..so I'm open to any other advice. Eloise seems happy. And her little shaved tummy from her ultrasound is pretty funny. Also my vet cut me a break (I'm in college) and did the recheck and ultrasound for free, so I only paid for her medicine! Bonus!
 

Guinea-pigGaga

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Please continue to monitor Eloise's eye, and be prepared should her eye worsen.

Unfortunately, one of my guinea pigs was humanely euthanised in December, after her eye worsened for a second time. However, my guinea pig was treated at the beginning of October, after her eye became cloudy/red/inflamed/swollen - The eye responded well to treatment, and returned to almost normal. . . Several weeks later, the eye once again became red/inflamed/swollen - I opted for euthanasia, as the eye could not be saved, and I did not have a competent veterinarian to perform an enucleation etc.

Here's hoping that this is not the case for Eloise. . . But please be prepared, just in case.
 

HayHay

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Please continue to monitor Eloise's eye, and be prepared should her eye worsen.

Unfortunately, one of my guinea pigs was humanely euthanised in December, after her eye worsened for a second time. However, my guinea pig was treated at the beginning of October, after her eye became cloudy/red/inflamed/swollen - The eye responded well to treatment, and returned to almost normal. . . Several weeks later, the eye once again became red/inflamed/swollen - I opted for euthanasia, as the eye could not be saved, and I did not have a competent veterinarian to perform an enucleation etc.

Here's hoping that this is not the case for Eloise. . . But please be prepared, just in case.
First, sorry about your critter :( Second, I'm continuing to use the saline ointment as instructed by our vet who had me promise to call him in 5-7 days to let him know how it's going. I know we aren't out of the woods yet, but seeing as she now has both the functionality of her eyelid and the strength to fight me when I put apply the ointment, I remain hopeful that our prospects are good :D ! Thanks for the heads up!
 
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