View Full Version : Crusty Eyes 3 Pigs are unwell, please help!

02-25-10, 10:30 am
Hi, I'm new here (but not new to gpigs!) and I hope someone can help.
I have 4 pigs, one is only 8 weeks old and I introduced him 2 weeks ago. The other 3 are between 1 and 2 years old.

Basically 2 days ago one pig started getting watery eyes, a little crusty and the fur around the eye is all wet. I thought is might be a poke injury as he had that last summer and it cleared up with medicine. But yesterday and today, 2 of the other pigs developed the same watery eyes and crustiness. So the only pig that doesn't have it is the new one. They are all acting fine though, eating drinking etc.

I've had a think about anything different I've been using with them -
I started using fleece instead of woodshavings about a month ago. I use towels and puppy training pads underneath (the pads have a 'puppy attract' scent to them). I also started using absorbent wood pellets in their litter boxes.

Any ideas about what could be causing the eye problems?
Could the fleece give them a cold? (as it is a bit damper than woodshavings?)

Thanks in advance!

02-25-10, 11:22 am
It sounds like they have upper respiratory infections. All of the pigs need to see a vet immediately to get on GP safe antibiotics. You need to act quickly as they can go downhill fast and they will not get better on their own.

Most likely the newest GP was already infected and gave the URI to the other pigs. Was the newest pig quarantined before introductions or did you put them all together almost immediately?

02-25-10, 11:24 am
Info on URIs and the dangerous medicine list


Dangerous med list = http://www.guinealynx.info/dangerous_medications.html

02-25-10, 11:31 am
Thanks Voodoojoint. The new pig was quarantined but showed no signs of illness so he went in with the others after quarantine. I have read up about URI, and listened to the pigs breathing, which seemed fine.
Would URI spread between the pigs in just 2 days? And if they only have one symptom of it, would it really be a URI?
I will take them to the vet, but unfortunatly where I live (UK) there aren't many gpig specialists - when I have taken them to vets before they don't seem to know much and still charge £££!

02-25-10, 01:23 pm
One of my guinea pigs has had some of those symptoms the last 5 weeks too. It seems to happen the day I clean the wood pellets out of their litter boxes. I use fleece too in the rest of the cage. I am wondering (at least in MY case) if it is just dust irritation. I am going to try a paper pellet next time to see if the eye watering and slight crustiness is better or worse.

I would definately take your guinea pigs to the vet anyways to check just to rule out the more deadly illnesses. I have experienced URI and other illnesses in my guinea pigs so I know what to look for an when to go. But it is always better to be on the safe side. Good luck to you and let us know how things are going.

02-25-10, 02:13 pm
URIs are highly contagious. It may be the new pig brought something in.

02-25-10, 03:25 pm
Couldn't it be pink-eye (conjunctivitis)?

02-25-10, 04:22 pm
Quarantine should be three full weeks behind closed doors, not two.

It is very likely that they had the illness for a little while before showing symptoms--two days between different pigs showing symptoms is very reasonable.

If you have to take them to a vet that doesn't know much about guinea pigs, be sure to take the list of safe antibiotics that was already posted with you to the vet. If it is a URI, they will likely die without treatment, so try to get them in ASAP.

02-25-10, 06:30 pm
Good Luck and keep us posted!

02-25-10, 07:43 pm
I did not see any mention in the OPs description of the pigs that they had a respiratory infection.

There is a very mild form of Chlamydia that is very common in pigs, Chlamydophila caviae.

It is a mild infection, described by vets as ‘self limiting’ in that it usually goes away without treatment (in fact any antibiotic treatment can be more harmful to the pigs than the illness).

It is NOT sexually transmitted like Chlamydia trachomatis (human Chlamydia). It is NOT Chlamydophila psittaci (parrot disease).

It causes conjunctivitis in the newborn and also in older pigs that have not been previously exposed to it. So yes, your other pigs probably caught it from the new one.

Very, very occasionally there have been outbreaks of a Chlamydophila caviae type infection where pigs HAVE gone on to develop a respiratory illness. This is very unusual; it happened a couple of years ago in UK and took cavy keepers and vets completely by surprise. Several vets believed the infection to be C. psittaci as the laboratory tests could not distinguish between C. psittaci and C. caviae (be warned of that fact if your vet suggests testing for it). It was not psittacosis but ordinary cavy Chlamydia.

IF what your pigs are suffering from is C. caviae, they will continue to eat and look well with watery eyes being the only sign. The infection will resolve itself in 8-10 days. IF they show any sign of respiratory distress it is a more serious infection and they will need veterinary treatment ASAP.

02-26-10, 05:35 am
Thanks so much for all your replies - this forum is fantastic!

I am really not sure if it is URI because the only symptom is watering eyes (they just look like they've been crying! poor piggies) and the new pig doesn't show ANY symptoms. I'm going to keep a really close eye on them and if it doesn't improve or they get the slightest other symptom they will go to the vet.
I would take them to the vet now but I'm pretty sure they will just prescribe antibiotics even if they are not sure what the problem is. They're just like doctors - dishing out the meds! I think giving them antibiotics without being sure is very harmful.
Anyway, thanks for the help and I'll keep you posted!

02-27-10, 01:22 pm
I've seen a great many cases of URI's on the forum in pigs who only have watery eyes as the only symptom. Guinea pigs hide illnesses very well.

It could very well be a URI, it could be something else, but it's better to err on the side of caution and take them to the vet instead of waiting for them to get sicker and possibly die if it is a URI.

03-01-10, 05:56 am
Hi everyone.
Update - they didn't develop anymore symptoms but I got so worried and paranoid about them (everytime they stopped moving I thought they had died!) that I phoned the emergency vet on Sunday and took them in.
The vet said they would probably get better on their own, and that none of them had died so it wasn't bad. I told him I didn't want to wait until one of them had died! In fact I'd do anything to prevent that - so he gave them some Baytril antibiotics, Biolapis to dissolve in their water and eye drops to make their eyes more comfortable.
They look better already, making lots of mess which I think is a good thing!