Sometimes referred to as “pink eye” or “red eye,” conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eye's outermost layer. Frequently due to bacterial infections, there are two kinds of bacteria that are most commonly involved in conjunctivitis: Bordetella and Streptococcus. Although conjunctivitis is not a very serious condition in guinea pigs, its underlying cause needs to be identified and treated promptly to prevent any further complications.
Guinea pigs are very sensitive animals and are likely to develop allergic reactions to some antibiotic medications. Therefore, it is best to consult a veterinarian before attempting to administer any eye drops or ointments at home.
- Dripping, watery fluid from the eye
- Pus-filled discharge from the eye
- Swelling and inflammation of the eye
- Redness around the edge of the eyelids
- Sticky eyelids (from the dried up discharge)
Bacterial infections, such as Bordetella and Streptococcus, are a frequent cause for conjunctivitis in guinea pigs; upper respiratory tract infections can also lead to this condition.
Other than observing the clinical symptoms displayed by the guinea pig, your veterinarian will confirm a diagnosis of conjunctivitis by examining its blood or pus discharge. This will also help identify the infectious agent responsible for the condition.
Treatment may include antibiotic eye drops and oral antibiotics, so as to control the primary infection. An easy way to administer eye drops is to securely wrap the guinea pig in a towel first. Before administering the eye drop, your veterinarian will clean the affected eye and remove any discharge by giving it a mild antiseptic eyewash, such as boric salt dissolved in water.
Living and Management
While recovering from the conjunctivitis infection, the guinea pig should be placed in a clean and stress-free environment. Follow your veterinarian’s advice and regularly clean the affected eye and administer any eye drops or ointments. As always with guinea pigs, watch your pet's reactions to the medication carefully. Finally, bring your guinea pig into the veterinarian's office for its regular follow-up appointments.
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 conjunctivitis from occurring.