Guinea pig cloudy eyes can mean many things. From an eye infection, injury to even breed-specific diseases such as cataracts.
Each of these diseases, although will result in cloudy eyes, is usually accompanied by other symptoms.
Hence, for you to know what disease is causing the cloudy eyes in your pet, you have to understand what other signs to look for.
For a first-time owner who isn’t experienced in guinea pigs, this will sound cumbersome for you.
But needless to worry because this article is designed to give you all information on why your guinea pig is having cloudy eyes and what you should do as a guinea pig owner.
Let’s get started!
- What Does A Healthy Guinea Pig Eyes Look Like?
- Top 3 Causes Of Guinea Pigs’ Cloudy Eyes
- Can You Treat Cloudy Eyes in Guinea Pigs?
- What Do I Do If My Guinea Pig Has Cataract?
- Advice For Owners
- Wrapping Up
What Does A Healthy Guinea Pig Eyes Look Like?
To know if your pet is in good condition, a healthy guinea pig’s eyes have the following qualities:
- Clear and bright.
- Alert. That is, able to see without difficulties or strain.
- Protrude slightly.
- Are of the same size.
- Always open.
Therefore, any bulging, cloudiness, dull or watery eyes is a clear indication that your pet is sick of a disease that needs urgent medical attention.
Top 3 Causes Of Guinea Pigs’ Cloudy Eyes
As stated earlier, a cloudy appearance in one or both sides of the eyes, discharge from the eyes, dull and/or watering eyes are all signs of either an eye infection or any other infectious disease.
Note that these signs aren’t the issue, rather, they are indications of underlying health issues. Also, these poor health symptoms if left untreated can lead to a depressed immune system, blindness, loss of appetite, and even death.
So, let’s discuss in detail the causes of guinea pig cloudy eyes and how to prevent or treat them.
Like humans, guinea pigs have a transparent layer that covers the front portion of their eyes.
That is, it covers the pupil, iris, and the fluid-filled inside of the eye. The purpose of this layer is to help them refract to light or even color.
This cornea layer can be damaged when the guinea pig scratches its eyes, through trauma, irritation by something in its cage such as bedding, or even after a struggle with another house pet.
When this happens, an injury can be sustained. This injury is what is called ‘corneal ulcer’. Symptoms of a corneal ulcer include a cloudy appearance in the affected eye(s), followed by discharge and a solidly closed painful eye.
Fortunately, corneal ulcers can be treated using antibiotics and eye ointments such as ‘chloramphenicol palmitate (30-50 mg/kg PO q12h × 7-21 days), trimethoprim-sulfa (30-50 mg/kg PO q12h × 7 days), and enrofloxacin (5-10 mg/kg q12h × 7-21 days’. (Source)
However, if symptoms persist after a week or two of treatments, visit your vet for an elaborate examination which may include blood centrifuge and grid keratotomy.
Sign of Injury
Injury to the cornea or tumors can cause cloudy eyes in guinea pigs. As discussed earlier, when the cornea is scratched or injured through any means, this will result in cloudy eyes.
Tumors such as mammary tumors, skin tumors (leukemia), and uterine tumors are abnormal multiplication of blood cells in the body.
It can also mean abnormal growth of blood cells. That is, when a body cell grows where it is supposed not to. This too can cause a cloudy appearance in the eyes as one of its symptoms.
Tumors are of types and degree of effect – so treatment will vary. Benign tumors are mild infant-stage of abnormal cell growth and treatment will include giving some antibiotics.
On the flip side, the advanced and most dangerous stage of tumor also called malignant tumors are abnormal cell growths that have stayed in the body for longer periods.
This kind of tumor can best be diagnosed via blood test and x-ray scan. If your veterinarian diagnosed your guinea pig of a malignant tumor, a surgical removal of the tumor will be recommended.
Bacterial and viral infections are also the culprits that can cause cloudy eyes in guinea pigs. It is often the result of poor hygiene.
Symptoms that your guinea pig has eye infection include discharge from the eyes, swelling of one or both eyes, cloudiness, reddened eyes (conjunctivitis), and sometimes may experience hair loss around the infected eye, or even have the affected eye closed.
That said, once your pet is diagnosed with an infection, ensure you fully clean and sanitize its cage and all cage accessories.
This will avoid recontamination of the infections and also help to prevent the further spread of the disease in the house.
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While cataracts are more common in older guinea pigs, the younger ones can also have cataracts, but this will be a sign of diabetes.
When a guinea pig has a cataract, it affects the cornea, making light impossible to pass through. This condition not only causes the eye to appear cloudy and milky, but it can also cause vision loss or even permanent blindness.
It is easier to prevent cataracts in younger guinea pigs by feeding them the appropriate diet, cataracts in older cavies are inevitable. It tends to occur naturally as they age.
Overgrown Teeth (Dental Problems)
Take for instance in humans, when one of your teeth aches, your eyes pay for it by shedding tears. Similarly, an injury to your pet’s teeth or even an overgrown tooth can cause severe pains to include cloudy eyes.
This is due to the fact that the roots of their molars and premolars are close to the tear ducts. Thus, when these teeth are infected, it affects the eyes.
Symptoms of dental problems often include cloudy or watery eyes, a cloudy discharge from the eyes, weight loss, loss of appetite, and frequent salivation.
Note: It’s important to note that not all eye discharges are dangerous or signs of ill health.
For example, when you see a white, milky fluid around your guinea pig’s eyes, you shouldn’t worry because this is completely normal. The whitish milky fluid is an essential part of their grooming process.
Can You Treat Cloudy Eyes in Guinea Pigs?
Cloudy eyes in guinea pigs are not something you can treat on your own.
First, when you notice an inconsistency or abnormality in your pet’s eyes, you should consult your vet who will examine your pet to know what is the cause of the problem, before treatment is started.
Except you’re experienced in treating guinea pigs with eye issues, you may even end up complicating the situation. Upon diagnosis, your veterinarian can administer antibiotics in the form of eye drops for your pet.
What Do I Do If My Guinea Pig Has Cataract?
Cataract is likely to happen in old age and it doesn’t have a treatment. However, surgery can be performed to correct it but this is not totally reliable.
Nonetheless, most guinea pigs will adjust and depend on other senses even without their eyes. If this happens to your pet, it is important you keep its environment the same to help it adapt fast.
Advice For Owners
The best way to treat cloudy eyes in your pet guinea pig is to prevent it from happening. To prevent this means maintaining a clean cage that keeps bacteria off.
Also, Keep in mind that early detection of diseases or illnesses in pets plays a huge role in their speedy recovery. Therefore, as a pet owner, you should have your pets checked up regularly for symptoms of illness.
Usually, while this will involve taking your pet to the veterinarian, physically examining your pet yourself will suffice. When examining, check for the following:
- Weight – is the animal weighing normal?
- Check for clear, bright eyes or a whitish milky discharge- any strange or abnormal coloration should give you cause of concern.
- Check that your piggie is walking and eating normal.
- Also he is active and not acting in isolation.
- Guinea pigs are chattery animals, hence, you’ll hear them make different sounds at different occasions to communicate either with you or other piggies.
That said, when you hear a strange sound such as hooting, teeth chattering etc, it can mean that the animal is stressed, depressed, annoyed by another pet, or is in pain.
How Do You Treat Cloudy Eyes In Guinea Pigs?
Depending on what is the cause, your veterinarian will prescribe some antibiotic eye drops for it. However, if the cloudy eyes were caused by a corneal ulcer (maybe hay or bedding scratch its cornea), you’ll need to gently pull the hay out of its eyes.
What Are The Signs Of A Guinea Pig Dying?
Guinea Pigs tend to hide sickness so if you don’t regularly examine your pet and keep the records, you may not notice on time when it is sick. So you need to pay attention to any unusual signs. Signs of a dying guinea pig include:
Lack of appetite.
Poor coat condition.
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While it’s healthy for guinea pigs to give out white milky discharge from their eyes; cloudy, sore, bulging, or reddened eyes are all signs of eye infections or even a more serious health issue.
Keep in mind that most of these problems are husbandry-related issues that proper hygiene and a good diet can fix. Prevention as always is better and cheaper than treatment.