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Sick eye
Sick eye  
Hello Pat.

One of five recently born Guinea pigs have its left eye closed. He's only four days old and he wasn't born this way. He's lively, eager to try vegetables and runs after his mom a lot. I only discovered his eye tonight, I searched through forums and took him from the cage and washed the eye gently with lukewarm water with sage. There's no puss or crust yet, but when I tried to gently open the eyelids, they were stuck together and a black eye underneath was a bit milky. Have a look at the picture attached. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Answer
Congratulations on your litter Peter. Your baby is actually okay. This is a common thing in newborns and is usually because of some debris or dirt that he's gotten in the eye.  Use a soft cotton ball and just warm water, no sage. Hold the wet cotton on his eye for a minute or two. The goal is to soften the crust enough that you can gently pull those eyelids apart.

Yes the eyeball is milky, but it will return to normal. He may have stuck himself with some bedding or ? but it doesn't mean he has an infection. Small children often get this and we used to call it 'sleepy eye.'  It's just the crusties that build up during the night.

You won't hurt him by opening the eye. It will not bleed, it's just stuck with that crust. Once the eye is open I would gently wash it daily and within a few days it will return to normal. Don't touch the eyeball with the cotton, just run it over the lid to pick up any debris.

I've had babies that looked like they'd never see again, but lo and behold they heal remarkably well.

One of the old breeder tricks we use is to go to the pharmacy and buy some Vit A capsules. It must be the gel capsules. What you will do is poke a pin the one end of the capsule, or just clip it with scissors. Drop a couple of drops into the eye. The oil in the capsule is soothing to the eye and also helps keep the crust from forming again. You only have to do that for a couple of days. As I said, these little guys have a remarkable healing capacity.

Good luck and please let me know how he does.

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Pat VanAllen

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As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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