Guinea pigs can suffer from a wide variety of eye problems, including corneal ulcers. Here are four things you need to know about corneal ulcers in guinea pigs.

What are the signs of corneal ulcers?

Changes in your pig's behavior will be the first clue that they're not feeling well. Sick pigs tend to lose interest in their food, so if your pig isn't eating, you should be concerned. They may also become shy and withdrawn instead of getting excited when you come into the room. If you notice changes like these, you should take a closer look at your pet because something is wrong.

If your pig has a corneal ulcer, you may notice that one of their eyes is squinted or swollen. You may also see crust or pus around the eye. The eye may also look white or blue instead of a more normal red or black. Eye problems always need to be looked at by a vet, so if you notice any of these signs, get help right away.

What causes corneal ulcers?

Corneal ulcers occur when your pig injures their eye and then bacteria gets into the wound, leading to infection. The infection leads to the formation of an ulcer, an open sore. Guinea pigs can injure their eyes in many ways.

You've probably noticed that your guinea pig almost always has their eyes open; they keep their eyes open as much as possible to look for predators. This habit helps to keep them safe in the wild, but it also makes it easy for them to injure their eyes. For example, when they stick their head into their hay rack, they don't close their eyes, and can easily get a piece of hay stuck in their eye. They can also injure their eyes while fighting their cage mate for a tasty pepper or carrot.

Can corneal ulcers cause blindness?

Corneal ulcers can lead to corneal scarring. The cornea focuses the light that enters the eye, so for it to work properly, it needs to be clear and unscarred. Once the cornea gets scarred, light can't pass through as well, and your guinea pig will lose some or all of their vision. Fortunately, guinea pigs don't have good vision to start with, so they can handle blindness better than people can.

Can vets treat this injury?

Your vet can give you antibiotic eye drops to give your pig. The antibiotics will kill the bacteria in the eye and get rid of the infection. Giving eye drops to a guinea pig can be very challenging, so you may want to get a second person to help you. Wrapping your pig in a blanket can help keep them from squirming while they're getting their eye drops.

If you think your pig has a corneal ulcer, take them to a vet immediately.

For professional veterinary care, contact an office such as East Valley Animal Clinic.