Understanding Conjunctivitis In Guinea Pigs


Conjunctivitis is a bacterial infection of the conjunctiva, which is the transparent layer that covers and protects the eye. It's typically caused by streptococcus or Bordetella bacteria and is highly contagious. Conjunctivitis responds well to treatment, but if left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the eye and affect your guinea pig's sight. It's not always possible to determine how a guinea pig has contracted conjunctivitis, but potential causes include contact with other infected guinea pigs and an unclean living environment. Here's an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for conjunctivitis in guinea pigs:


Conjunctivitis can cause a watery or pus-filled discharge from the eye, which can lead to your guinea pig's eyelids becoming crusty and sticky. The edges of their eye may also appear red or swollen, which is indicative of inflammation, and your guinea pig may become withdrawn or flinch when you touch their face. Guinea pigs are sensitive animals and very responsive to even minor changes in their health or living environment, so when a guinea pig is experiencing pain or discomfort, it is common to see them displaying signs of stress, such as pacing in circles or biting their fur.

Diagnosis And Treatment Approach

Your vet will diagnose your guinea pig by taking details of their symptoms and conducting an eye exam. Their eye will be swabbed and the discharge will be analysed to confirm the strain of bacteria present, which will ensure your guinea pig receives the right treatment. If your vet has any concerns that there may be an underlying condition that has caused the infection, they may take blood samples to check your guinea pig's organ function and immune system function.

Conjunctivitis is treated with either oral or topical antibiotics. You will also need to clean the affected eye regularly with an antiseptic wash to encourage healing, and your vet will show you how to wrap your guinea pig in a towel and hold them to keep them calm while cleaning their eye. You should also thoroughly clean their living environment to minimise the risk of a recurrent infection. A follow-up appointment will be arranged after the treatment period to ensure the infection has been eradicated.

If your guinea pig has symptoms associated with conjunctivitis, or if you have any concerns about their eye health, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to prevent them experiencing unnecessary stress and discomfort. 


24 February 2020

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