Disorders And Diseases Of Guinea Pigs
, BVSc, DVP, DACLAM, DABVP, The Kenneth S Warren Institute
Health problems among guinea pigs that live alone are usually related to aging, dental disease, reproductive disorders, injury, or improper care. Infectious diseases caused by certain viruses and bacteria usually occur only in guinea pigs that live with other guinea pigs. Intestinal parasites are not common. Tumors are rare in young guinea pigs but are more common in guinea pigs that are more than 5 years old. Treatment of infectious diseases can be complicated by the fact that guinea pigs are more sensitive to antibiotics than other types of pets.
Prevention of health problems in guinea pigs is key. A proper diet that does not change from day to day, clean water, bedding materials that are gentle on your pets skin, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of the cage, a low-stress environment, and sufficient exercise all help prevent illness.
Rats Mice And Hamsters
The retina of rats, mice, and hamsters is holangiotic, with arteries and venules radiating from the optic nerve like spokes on a wheel. Rats have three lacrimal glands: intraorbital, extraorbital, and harderian.
Inbred strains of rats and mice are commonly used in commercial laboratories to study naturally occurring ophthalmologic diseases. Diseases involving all parts of the eye have been described. Common abnormalities include retinal degeneration, as in the RCS rat, microphthalmos, and cataract. In addition to specific genetically determined ocular abnormalities in inbred strains, other spontaneous abnormalities occur. Ophthalmic examination of 6000 Sprague-Dawley rats revealed a focal linear retinopathy in 3% and a fundic coloboma in 0.5% of animals examined. Spontaneous corneal degeneration has been described in Sprague-Dawley and Wistar rats, and corneal dystrophy has been described in Fischer 344 rats. Experimental infections also lead to ophthalmic abnormalities. Blepharitis with crust formation in the medial canthus and partial periocular alopecia were observed in mice experimentally infected with Trypanosoma brucei.
Of clinical significance is the effect of xylazine on the lens in rats and mice. A reversible cataract has been observed after systemic use of xylazine. Transcorneal water loss and altered aqueous humor composition caused by corneal exposure have been suggested as a pathogenesis of cataract formation.
How Do You Treat An Eye Infection In A Guinea Pig
Unfortunately, eye infections in guinea pigs are pretty common and not always that easy to detect. More worrying is they can often be a sign of a more serious health issue. If your cavy has sore eyes, its best to get it to the vet as soon as possible.
For mild infections, antibiotic eye drops, ointments or tablets will be prescribed. In the case of a more serious issue, your vet will carry out the necessary tests and discuss possible treatment options with you.
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Metabolic And Nutritional Disorders
Guinea pigs of all ages require a dietary source of vitamin C. The stability of vitamin C in diets varies with composition of the diet, storage temperature, and humidity. The feed content of vitamin C is reduced by dampness, heat, and light. In fortified diets, approximately half of the initial vitamin C may be oxidized and lost 90 days after the diet has been mixed and stored at temperatures > 22°C . Water in an open container may lose up to 50% of its vitamin C content in 24 hours. Aqueous solutions of vitamin C will more rapidly deteriorate in metal, hard water, or heat and are more stable in neutral to alkaline solutions.
Clinical signs of hypovitaminosis C include diarrhea, alopecia, and pain animals are thin and unkempt. Petechiae on mucous membranes are not always seen, although hematuria may be present. Guinea pigs will show signs of vitamin C deficiency within 2 weeks if it is not provided. Serum hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia is seen in vitamin Cdeficient guinea pigs after an overnight fast. Guinea pigs need ~10 mg vitamin C/kg body weight daily for maintenance and 30 mg vitamin C/kg body weight daily for pregnancy. Vegetables high in vitamin C include red or green capsicums, tomatoes, spinach, and asparagus.
How To Spot Eye Infection
Unlike other diseases or problems, guinea pig eye infection is easy to spot as their symptoms are easily visible. However, not all infections are obvious to spot, and sometimes they may seem normal while possessing a greater threat to your guinea pig.
Your cute, little pet, no matter what happens, will never be able to come to you and say out whats wrong with them, right? While this seems impossible, what is possible is, we can just get to know them better and try to be aware of symptoms. So that next time they are in trouble we will know.
The guinea pig eye infection can be detected in one of two ways. The first one is by closely examining and observing the eye. Tracking different symptoms can help you in such a case.
The other way is by noticing the behavior of your guinea pig. They begin to get uncomfortable during any such infection. Their actions can help you detect infections. Therefore, lets get familiar with the symptoms of guinea pig eye infection.
- Holding eye closed
- Scratching eye constantly
All the above symptoms will indicate guinea pig eye infection but to further diagnose the infection, consult a veterinary doctor unless you yourself are one. There are different symptoms for different kinds of eye infections.
Thus it becomes very important to detect, diagnose and treat such infections in time. Now let us see what kind of guinea pig eye infection can be seen.
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Symptoms Of Conjunctivitis In Guinea Pigs
Having identified the cause of conjunctivitis in your piggy, its about time you knew some possible signs of infection to watch out for.
To identify your pets suffering from red eye disease, constant and close monitoring of these pets is necessary.
While at it, the popular symptoms to watch out for in guinea pigs suspected of having red-eye disease include
Ocular discharge, Epiphora or watery eye
This is a common symptom of red-eye sickness in guinea pigs.
The moment you notice your pig starts to have watery eyes, its advised to take precautionary measures as this animal may be suffering from conjunctivitis.
Chemosis or Swelling of the Conjunctiva
Another symptom you should watch out for is the swelling of the guinea pigs edema or the conjunctiva.
The moment you start to feel irritation growing in the eyes of your pet, it might be a sign of eye inflammation.
Therefore, immediate attention should be given to the pet.
Conjunctival Hyperemia or Redness of the Sclera
This symptom of conjunctivitis may result in blurry vision, the wetness of the eye, among other side effects in the infected animal.
Blepharitis or swelling of the eyelid is characterized by inflammation of the eyelid of the infected animals.
This may also include irritation or redness in the eyelid, which are not always pleasant for the eyes.
The moment your guinea pig starts to have difficulty looking at the light or going out during the daytime, it calls for serious attention.
Various Conditions In Guinea Pig Eye Infection
There are many kinds or conditions of any guinea pig eye infection. It is important that you know what should be done with any kind of eye infection. Every condition requires a different kind of treatment and if it is not provided, it could turn into something ugly and not just in appearance. I will be discussing the various types of guinea pig eye infections below.
Before we get to that though, let us discuss more the process involved in providing the treatment to your guinea pigs. The guinea pig eye infection might seem like a small or minute issue at the start but as it gets worse, you will realize that not doing anything about it was a huge mistake.
Because the guinea pig eye infection seems like a minor issue, some people try diagnosing this issue themselves. Self-diagnosing is a very tempting idea whether the issue is related to us or our pets medical health. So if you have not studied at a veterinary school and have not got any type of training in this field, you should refrain from trying to solve these issues yourself.
That is because you might not know the cause of the infection and if you do not know that, how are you going to diagnose the pet? Hence, you should know that you have no qualification to do that.
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How Soon Will The Guinea Pig Eye Infection Heal
Normally, the guinea pig eye infection should go away or be healed within a week of you starting the medication given by your vet but if the infection has not healed even after a week or the time your vet told you it will take, then you will need to make another appointment at your vet for a check-up.
If the problem is more serious than just a guinea pig eye infection, like an ulcer or something, the vet might even ask you to come again after some time to see if it is healing properly and to not leave any doubt in their minds because every pet is precious after all.
There might be the issue of getting frustrated because of having to go to your vet again and again especially if the fee they charge is a bit high but you should remember that, the health of the guinea pig is above all those things and the guinea pig eye infection must be dealt with as soon as possible.
If you keep putting off going to the vet, the condition of the guinea pig infection might just worsen and it might make you spend even more money than before. So it is best if you take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
What Should I Do If I Notice My Guinea Pig Has A Sore Eye
Eyes are very delicate structures, and the problems affecting them can present with incredibly similar symptoms. It can be difficult to tell a simple infection from a more serious issue such as a corneal ulcer or dry eye. If you notice that your guinea pig has a sore eye it is best to book a check-up with your vet as soon as possible.
Problems with the eye can progress quickly, and it is important that timely treatment is sought. Treatment for the sore eye will very much depend on the cause of the problem. Your veterinary surgeon will discuss the treatment plan with you according to your guinea pigs particular problem.
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How To Avoid Eye Infection In Guinea Pig
After that, you can do some actions in order toprevent your guinea from eye infections. Here are some of the ways ofpreventing eye infection in guinea pigs:
- Do regular cleaning of the bed. Any dust or dirt from the bed might further irritate the infected eye. Look at these great ideas for your guinea piggy bedding too! So, do regular cleaning to remove any thing that stimulates worse condition of the eye infection. Regarding to bedding, use dust-free bedding, such as newspaper or shredded paper. Never use sawdust or wood shavings as they are very dusty and the wood specks might get stuck in your guinea pigs eyes.
- Do not let your guinea pig stressed. Stress can weaken your guinea pigs immune system and as a result it can increase its risk of getting sick. Never make any sudden changes in its routine, such as diet and playtime. By having sudden changes, your guinea pigs might feel stressed and as a result, the recovery time from eye infection might take longer time too. Find the idea to make your guinea pig happy at home in DIY tunnels for guinea pig and exercise ball for guinea pig. Both of them will surely be fun for your guinea pig! No more stress!
- Quarantine the infected guinea pig. Do not let your guinea pig get in contact with other guinea pigs or even dogs and cats.
How To Treat Eye Infections In Guinea Pigs
The best way to treat eye infection in guineapig is by bringing it to the vet as vet knows what is best for your guinea pig.Do not ever try to cure the eye infections by yourself as it might even lead toworse conditions.
Your vet will conduct some examinations foryour guinea pigs and find the root problems of the infection in order to findthe appropriate treatment.
After that, he might prescribe some antibioticeye drops and some oral antibiotic as well.
As you bring your guinea pig home, administer the medications. When you want to administer the eye drops make sure you wrap your guinea pig so it wont squirm away.
Clean the area of the eye, remove any discharge on it by using a soaked cotton ball. You can soak the cotton ball with warm water, saline or boric salt that is dissolved in water.
Then, apply the ointment or drops as yourveterinarian prescribed. If your guinea pig squirms away, then this might need2 persons to do it.
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Treatment For Guinea Pig Conjunctivitis
Now that youre able to identify your guinea pigs that are suffering from conjunctivitis, lets take you through how you can tackle this sickness and set your pig free.
Although conjunctivitis is not a deadly disease for guinea pigs, its still important to treat your pet as soon as you notice some of the aforementioned symptoms.
Moreover, the underlying illnesses caused by the bacteria responsible for pink eyes are enough to get you on your feet.
Another reason for immediate treatment of pink eyes in your guinea pig is because some of the bacteria responsible for this sickness are zoonotic.
Some are, however, highly contagious and can easily spread disease across your guinea pig farm.
With these in mind, raises the question how do I treat red eyes or conjunctivitis in my guinea pig?
Generally, conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotics and antibiotic eye drop.
However, to perfectly understand what antibiotic should you use in treating each type of conjunctivitis in your guinea pig, its important to simplify it according to the causative bacteria of conjunctivitis.
Lets take it one after the other, starting the Bordetella-caused red eye infections.
Treatment of Bordetella bronchiseptica
Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the popular bacteria that cause bacterial conjunctivitis in guinea pigs.
This URI-causing bacterium can however be treated with antibiotics and supportive care.
Treatment of Chlamydophila caviae
Treatment of Staphylococcus aureus
Eye And Ear Problems In Guinea Pigs
Eye and Ear Disorders
Signs of conjunctivitis include fluid oozing or dripping from the eye, inflammation of the lining of the eye, and redness around the edge of the eyelids. These infections are usually caused by bacteria, such as Bordetella or Streptococcus species, that cause general upper respiratory system disease . Treatment may include antibiotic eye drops and antibiotics that affect your pet’s whole body. An easy way to administer eye drops is to wrap the guinea pig securely in a towel first. As always with guinea pigs, watch your pet’s reactions to the medication carefully.
Ear infections are rare in guinea pigs. When they do occur, they are usually the result of bacterial infection. They may occur at the same time as pneumonia or other respiratory disease. Signs of infection may include pus or discharge from the ears however, sometimes there are no signs of infection. In severe cases, the animal may become deaf. If the infection spreads from the middle ear to the inner ear, your pet may show signs of problems with its nervous system, such as imbalance, tilting head, walking in circles, or rolling on the ground. The usual treatment is to help alleviate signs. Treatment for the ear infection itself does not usually work.
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Prevention Of Conjunctivitis In Guinea Pigs
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, its better to prevent the infection of conjunctivitis in your guinea pigs rather than having to spend on the treatment.
They say, better to be careful than to be sorry.
This is why prevention protocol or tips should be observed in the management of your guinea pig cage or farm.
Worrying about how to prevent conjunctivitis in your guinea pigs?
Dont worry, weve compiled a series of prevention tips to help keep your guinea pig safe from this eye disease.
Keeping a healthy and hygienic environment is one of the best precautionary methods against conjunctivitis.
A clean and sanitized living environment will reduce the number of microbial lives and other infectious organisms in your guinea pigs cage or farm.
Also, ensure to keep your guinea pigs cage free from shafts, dust, or other irritants that could lead to eye redness disease.
How can you keep a hygienic environment for your guinea pig?
To keep a hygienic and clean environment for your pig, consider the following
Set dust-free bedding for your guinea pig
Guinea pigs are sensitive to specks of dust and may react to any little dust in their eyes, therefore, you must set dust-free bedding for your pet.
Typical examples of dust-free beddings are newspapers or shredded papers.
Its rather important to note that the newspaper or shredded papers are not absorbent.
This implies that these dust-free bedding cant absorb urine or odor.
Parasitic Infections In Guinea Pigs
Mange, caused by the sarcoptid mite Trixacarus caviae, is common in guinea pigs. The clinical signs are dramatic: intense pruritus, widespread alopecia, and hyperkeratosis. T caviae is transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact from sow to weanlings during feeding, and through contact with infested cage material such as bedding. The mites may be capable of existing subclinically, becoming active with stressors , immunosuppression, or other underlying diseases. In affected animals that exhibit hematologic changes such as heterophilia, monocytosis, eosinophilia, and basophilia, vigorous scratching may trigger convulsive seizures. The seizures are controlled by diazepam . The clinical presumptive diagnosis should be confirmed with several skin scrapings, usually revealing a massive T caviae infestation. Treatment involves ivermectin , or spot-on dermal treatment with either selamectin . The guinea pig should also have a whole body washing with fipronil repeated twice at intervals of 710 days. Fipronil should not be used when open skin wounds are present.
Other ectoparasitic diseases are infrequent in guinea pigs. Infestation with the fur mite Chirodiscoides caviae may result in pruritus and alopecia along the posterior trunk of the body, while underlying skin is relatively unaffected. Subclinical cases may be asymptomatic. Treatment is with selamectin administered twice at 2-week intervals.
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