Ear infections are rare in guinea pigs. However, when they do occur, it is usually the result of bacterial infections such as pneumonia or other respiratory diseases. If the ear infections spread from the middle ear to the inner ear, it can become quite serious, even affecting parts of the nervous system. Therefore, if you suspect an ear infection in your guinea pig, seek veterinary care immediately.
- Pus or discharge from the ears
- Ear pain
- Loss of hearing
Also, if the infection spreads from the guinea pig's middle ear to its inner ear, your pet may display problems with its nervous system, such as walking in circles, rolling on the ground, head tilting, and a lack of balance.
- Bacterial infections
- Respiratory diseases (e.g., pneumonia)
Observing the clinical symptoms exhibited by the guinea pig helps confirm an ear infection diagnosis, and is useful in determining whether the infection has spread to the middle ear. Your veterinarian may also examine the guinea pig's blood or pus discharge to identify the infectious agent responsible for the ear infection.
Your veterinarian will first treat the guinea pig to relieve its symptoms, as treating the ear infection itself is not usually successful. Medications such as ointments, local anesthetic agents and antibiotic ear drops are used to control the ear discharge and provides temporary pain relief, while antiseptic or antibiotic washes of the ear are used to remove discharge or buildup.
Living and Management
While recovering from the ear infection, your guinea pig should be placed in a clean and stress-free environment. In addition to the guinea pig's regular follow-up appointments, you should follow the veterinarian's advice and administer any prescribed ear drops or ointments to the animal.
Maintaining a clean and sanitized living environment for your guinea pig will help reduce the levels of infectious organisms in your home, and thus help prevent ear infections from occurring.