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There are two common ailments that guinea pigs ears are prone to. One is ear mites and the other is excessive waxing. The symptoms are head shaking and increased scratching of the ear. The treatment for both conditions is with Tea Tree eardrops or conventional eardrops formulated to treat canker in dogs and cats.
Towel wrap the guinea pig (see towel wrapping) lay it on its side and put a few drops in the ear then massage at the base of the ear lobes. In a few hours the mites will be killed and the wax softened. Clean out with a cotton bud but do not insert any further than you can see into the ear.
The other problem is with the ear lobes, which can be infected by fungal spores. The symptoms are increased scratching of the ear and, upon examination, flakes of dead skin or white tidemarks can be seen. I use Aloe Vera gel to treat this condition, massaging it in twice daily for a few days.
Poke injuries and foreign bodies in the eye are the most common problems. With poke injuries, usually caused by the guinea pig rooting about in the hay, the eye will be closed and when it is examined there will usually be a sign of scratching on the surface of the eye. The use of BROLENE eye drops or ointment, twice daily, is recommended. These are very effective in preventing the eye from becoming infected.
The symptoms for foreign bodies in the eye are identical and when examined, the husk is usually in the corner of the eye and is easily extracted with a pair of tweezers. Be warned that if there is real resistance to the husk being removed, it should be left to a vet to remove as forceful tugging could damage the eye.
The symptoms of the eye being infected are the eyeball being blood shot around the edges and when the skin around the eye is palpated the animal will wince with pain. In these cases, a prescription only medicine must be used so a visit to the vets will be necessary.
I use the word ‘milk’ to describe the lubrication that can often appear in a guinea pig’s eye because that is what the many owners who ask me about it say that it looks like. It occurs when the eye is irritated in some way. The first time most people notice it is when they put their guinea pigs out on a breezy day after they have been indoors for a long time. I believe the breeze, though mild to us, is harsher on a guinea pig’s eye and the milky fluid that immediately appears from under the eyelids is a lubricant to ease the irritation. The fluid can also appear when the eye when the eye has had a poke injury or has a foreign body in it. Some guinea pigs seem to produce this fluid more than others but in all it is a perfectly natural phenomenon.