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Thread: On and off eye irritation in guinea pig.

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    On and off eye irritation in guinea pig.

    Hello!
    My guinea pig Conrad has been having issues with his eyes. His eye has been irritated on and off for the past 3 weeks. The start of the day he will have his eye slightly closed and by the end it is back to normal for the next 2-3 days. This has happened to both his eyes. Once to his left eye and twice to his right eye. The first image is from before irritation occurred, second image is from yesterday with irritation and the third image was taken just now.

    His eye was normal today but I still took him to the vet who found nothing wrong with his eye, no scratch or any hay in it. I showed him the first image and he said there was very obvious irritation and redness going on. He suggested to remove hay for a week to see if that is what could be causing the on and off irritation. (Conrad does like to shove his face into the hay.) I thought hay was a big part of their diet, wouldn't removing it for a week cause issue? I brought this up to the vet and he said I can just feed him leafy green vegetables such as bok choy in replace of hay for the week. I don't feel comfortable removing hay from his diet for a week and am worried he would begin to prefer the veggies to hay if I do so. Will he be fine without hay for a week? Is there anything else that could be causing this on and off irritation? I give Conrad timothy hay and just ordered some orchard hay to see if that would help. I also recently got a hay rack to prevent him from shoving his face into it again but the eye irritation still occurred.

    Some other medical information just in case. He has ringworm and fungus infection on his ears. He has been taking 0.5mL Itrafungol every other week for 5 weeks now.
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    Re: On and off eye irritation in guinea pig.

    You need a new vet. You should never remove hay from a guinea pig, although in a pinch you might substitute compressed hay balls rather than loose hay. Just don't get the kind that are held together by molasses.

    Anti-fungal medicines are very harsh on the patient, whether pig or person. I'd stop the oral med and use an ointment. See http://www.guinealynx.info/fungus.html for recommendations.

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    Re: On and off eye irritation in guinea pig.

    I might also add that in a pinch, you might feed him fresh grass that is free of pesticides, etc. Just start with a small amount as too much fresh grass is likely to cause loose stool.

    I once had an issue with hay and fed the compressed hay balls for nearly a month, but would now do that as a last resort. Another way to get good fiber into his diet is to feed him corn husks. If it is fresh corn, then strip the outer husks where pesticides may linger and feed only the inner lighter green ones. Tear them into small strips.....he will probably love them as well as the silks.

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    Re: On and off eye irritation in guinea pig.

    Hello! I wanted to post an update on Conrad for those who had replied. I took him to a different vet for a second opinion. He said there was nothing wrong with his eye from what he could see outside and in. There are two possible causes for the eye irritation. First one is a tooth root growing into the eye socket. He looked inside Conrad's mouth and saw nothing too concerning but was not able to see all his molars. (Conrad also had food in his mouth.) The vet said if this is the case an x-ray with anesthesia would need to be done to see if the tooth root is causing problems. He doesn't like this option because anesthesia is risky to use for guinea pigs. The second possibility is a blocked passage? I cannot remember the exact terminology he used but that there was a blockage connecting to the nasal passage that could be causing inflammation and discharge back up in the eye.

    We are treating for the second possibility currently. He gave me eye drops, Ofloxacin Ophthalmic Drops, and a pain killer, Metacam. If his condition doesn't improve then we will start to treat for the tooth root problem. He also told me to stop the antifungal medication for ringworm as Conrad doesn't seem to actually have it and just as you said bpatters it is very harsh on the patient. He most likely had mites since the previous vet gave him revolution just in case and the itching had stopped. I will be looking into an ointment since Conrad still has white crusty patches on his ears. (New vet said sometimes guinea pigs just have this but I could try an ointment.) I will look into the compressed hay and corn husks just in case I ever need an alternative. Thank you for the advice I appreciate it a lot!

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    Re: On and off eye irritation in guinea pig.

    Cold pressed virgin coconut oil may help his ears -- you can apply it every day, even twice a day if you need it. It's safe, and a lot cheaper than anti-fungal ointment. You can always progress to the ointment if the oil doesn't work.

    The "blocked passage" he's talking about is a blocked tear duct. I think that's unlikely because he's having trouble with both eyes, and there's really no reason for both ducts to be blocked unless he's had a blunt injury in the face. But you can often "cure" blocked tear ducts yourself by wiping the eye with a clean damp cloth, then very very very gently massaging just under and in the corner of his eye, stroking toward his nose. Do this a couple of times a day. If it clears up, you've solved the problem.

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