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Guinea Pigs/Glaucoma in Guinea Pig


So we have treated my female guinea pig for glaucoma/bulging eye with antibiotics and atropine which is some sort of anti-inflammatory agent. The eye only reduced minimally with the swelling and the vet said upon recheck that they iris has separated from the eye and only option is surgery. I find this hard to believe and it sounds like a bad thing to put a guinea pig through. However he has me worried the eye will burst if it does not get removed. I am going to seek second opinion at another vet but I am wondering what you think? Thanks for your help!

eye infection before treatment
eye infection before t  

eyeball after 10 days treatment
eyeball after 10 days  
I don't know that glaucoma causes a bulging eye, but an eye infection certainly does. Here is a picture of a pig that I treated for a fellow breeder that was one of the worst eye infections I've ever seen. Believe it or not this pig recovered and did not lose his sight.

Glaucoma is a part of a disease process that causes damage to the optic nerve but typically doesn't cause an infection that would cause the eyeball to bulge nor would it cause the globe to burst.

I used a combination of eye drops and ointment on this boar. One was a steroid to take down the swelling. The other was an ointment that simply soothed the eyeball itself. Within a week his eye was markedly improved. Ask your vet about using a cortisone based eyedrop as an anti inflammatory.  

As for surgery that's serious, complicated and expensive option that I am not sure I would choose for one of my own pigs. The anesthesia alone is risky at best. This pig may be blind in the affected eye, but I'm not convinced that optical surgery is going to achieve the desired result. That's a choice you'll have to make, but it would not be mine.

I've had pigs that developed serious infections in the eyeball usually caused by either a piece of hay injuring the eye or a scratch. They seemed to resolved remarkably fast with just the use of Teramycin ointment, which I'm sure did not have any medicinal effect but simply provided lubrication and reduced the friction and pain in the eye allowing it to heal more or less on its own.

As breeders we've also used vitamin A capsules for the same purpose. Cut the tip of the capsule and drop the oil into the eye. It simply acts to soothe the eyeball thus reducing the pain and friction. This is probably not something your vet would be familiar with, not would he recommend it. But it has been used by breeders for years with excellent results.

There isn't a lot of research done on guinea pigs and not many vets have experience with treating them. There simply isn't a lot of money available for research on animals that are not a huge part of any veterinary practice. Therefore breeders have had to learn by experience as to what works and what does not.

And of course the other issue is one of finance. Not many pet owners will spend a great deal of money on a pet that cost very little to begin with. And that's another reason that so many vets seldom see these little guys in their offices. Certainly not their fault.

I hope this has helped you somewhat. I'd be interested in the progress your little sow makes. Please keep me posted.  

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Pat VanAllen


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.


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.

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.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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