Your guinea pig’s eyes serve as his way to look out upon the world, but they also have an equally important function:
When looking at your guinea pig eyes you can get a very good idea whether he is maintaining good health.
It’s important to know all about your guinea pig’s eyes if you want to take proper care of your pet.
Your guinea pig’s eyes are small and round, slightly raised within the frame of his face. Even when he is asleep, his eyes will be open. You will notice that a milky fluid is produced from his eyes. When he is grooming himself, he rubs that fluid into his fur. Your guinea pig can see in colour, although not as well as humans.
His field of vision extends almost all the way around him—he can see in a 340-degree circle.
Guinea pigs’ eyes range in colour from pink to ruby red or even a dark shade. Eyes, when dark, can appear to be brown, blue, or black. Even if your pet has dark eyes, the eyes will carry a reddish cast to them, especially if a light is shining into them as when photographing them.
Signs of Trouble.
If your guinea pig is unwell, it will definitely show through his eyes. If they appear to be excessively watery, crusty, or cloudy, you should be on the alert. If his eyes protrude a little more than they normally do or if they appear to be receding, his health could be off. Ulcerated eyes most definitely are a warning sign.
If just one of his eyes is watery or cloudy, you can expect this is from an injury rather than an illness.
An injury will affect only the eye that’s injured, whereas an illness will spread from one eye to the other.
One of the most frequent illnesses detectable from the eyes is a respiratory infection. His eyes will be crusty, his nose will be runny, and your pet will be very sluggish with no energy to spare.
It’s very important to take him to a vet knowledgeable about guinea pigs in that case.
If you happen to end up with a vet that does not normally treat guinea pigs, be careful about any antibiotics he may want to administer.
Guinea pigs cannot tolerate any form of penicillin, including amoxicillin, and other common antibiotics such as erythromycin, cephalexin, and chlortetracycline are also on the taboo list. Most antibiotics ending with those suffixes—exin, mycin, cycline, cillin—will be bad for your pet, so do ask questions if your vet wants to administer them.
Something in the Eye.
If the eye is injured or has a foreign object stuck in it, it may develop an opaque bluish covering as a natural protective reaction. Again, you should take your guinea pig to the vet for treatment or removal of the object. You may even be able to see a piece of hay sticking out from his eye, but it’s very tricky to remove the hay and you could harm your pet and even cause him blindness.
Some guinea pigs may develop conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the white of the eye. Often this is a response to bacteria but it can also be an allergic reaction to something in his bedding.
That’s way it’s always important to keep bedding dust-free and avoid sawdust in any quantity.
However, allergies in guinea pigs do not occur very often. If you have a saline solution and a tiny dropper, you can try to rinse the eye, but be very careful, again, not to blind him.
Sometimes it’s just worth it to take your pet to the vet. It’s also not uncommon for guinea pigs to develop a blockage of the tear duct.
Cataracts and More.
When guinea pigs get older, they can develop cataracts, just like people. If they develop cataracts when they are younger, the vet will test them for diabetes.
It’s also a good idea to watch for any eye protrusion, because it can signify something stuck beneath the eye or even a tumour developing. In either case, again, you want to take your guinea pig to the vet, because his eyesight is at risk.
All in All… Remember that your guinea pig’s eyes should look bright and clear if he’s healthy. He should view the world around him with energy and interest.
If he’s starting to ail from something, it may show in the eyes before it shows anywhere else.