Problems after eye removal

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Post   » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:47 am

Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum - I've exhausted my local ressources (I'm from Denmark), thought I'd see if you guys might have some suggestions what I can do!

The summary of the long story below:

My guinea pig had his eye removed at the end of February, white goo is coming out of the slid where the eye used to be. Doesn't smell infected, doesn't smell neutral, either.

Long story:

Back in February, I woke up to my guinea pig having a very ugly-looking and acute infection in his eye. No clue how this happened, when I said good night to the piggies before going to bed, they were all fine, when I got up, Mr. Waffles, my two-and-half year old piggy, had a bad eye. There was a reddish thing covering the lower half of his eyeball and it was swollen and ugly.

I rushed him to the vet, who looked at it and said it looked like a scratch from hay or something. I got eye drops and was told that he'd get better within a week, but it would be some days before I'd see improvement. That was a Saturday. I didn't really see any improvements the next days, but neither was it getting worse. But thursday when I got home from work, the eye looked really weird, like he had scratched it or something. I took him to a different vet (the original one was closed) and they were very worried that he had damaged the eye by scratching it. I got some other eye drops pain killers, because he was a bit drowsy and we suspected he was in pain. I agreed to return the day after when they had an eye specialist there, but was told to prepare myself that I might have to either put him to rest or have his eye removed. I kept a close eye on him, and he was not better at all, the morning after the eye was swollen and started to look like it might pop out. We decided to have the eye removed, because it was obviously painful and the eye specialist didn't think the treatment would help in time to save the eye.

The operation was successful and I got him home the same day. Kept him on clean blankets that I replaced daily and he was in high spirits - eating normal just a few days after the operation, struggling against me when I tried to give him medicine (which was a good sign, because he didn't have energy for that when I gave him pain medicine prior to the operation).

Then after 9 days of it healing fine, I checked on him in the morning after sleeping and overnight, it had gotten very badly infected. I could smell it as soon as I entered the living room that something was wrong. I called the vet and she rushed in to meet me at the clinic (this was a sunday when they're usually closed, but thankfully they have emergency care). She took out the stitches and cleaned it, and we started him on antibiotics again (he had finished them a few days before that, was being treated with it since the first time I saw this vet). We agreed to continue that treatment (antibiotics + cleaning 3 times a day) for a few days and see if it helped.

A couple of days later, it was still very bad and still smelled a lot. He was behaving completely fine, though - eating well, begging for food, calling out for his buddy (they were kept apart while he was sick). So we returned to the vet, and I was pretty sure we had to put him to rest, because it looked really, really bad and it smelled horrific. But she offered to give him some medicine to make him relax enough that she could properly clean the eye (he was very much against being touched there, it obviously hurt even while on pain medication). After the cleaning, he was much improved, and we took him home and continued cleaning and giving antibiotic.

After a few weeks, it was pretty much healed and he no longer minded being touched near the eye hole and was completely off pain medication.

But white goo was still coming out of the eye through a tiny slit where the eye had been stitched together. I told the vet about it, and she said to keep cleaning. I have, and it did improve for a while, and for a week or to at a time, it's completely fine and dry, and then for a week or two, it'll leak white goo again and I have to clean it daily. It doesn't smell infected, but it's not a neutral smell. It kinda smells... Fishy. Not rotten fish, just fish >.<

I've been in close communication with the vet and he's been checked a few times, but she has no clue what's going on. I haven't found a local vet with experience in this field. They are very competent, but it's very rare also that people here will pay the price it costs for this kind of procedure. To be honest, I have spent around half a month's salary on this already, but my piggies are my babies, and I'm ok with it.

The past couple of days, the goo started to get worse again, in that there's a lot. I can sort of squeeze it out by pressing on the eye socket. He doesn't seem to mind this and he doesn't react as if he is in pain at all. He eats normally and behaves normally. But of course I'm worried, because this isn't normal, and it's been going on for a long time.

Has any of you heard of anything like this and have any suggestions what might be causing this? I think if I could point my vet in the right direction, she'd be able to help, but neither of us or any of her colleagues have seen this case before and we're at a loss.

Sorry for long post >.<

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:21 am

Sorry your pig is having such difficulty.

I believe there's infection still in the eye socket, but that the antibiotic being used isn't effective against the organism causing it. A culture and sensitivity test, if available, would both diagnose the organism and identify an antibiotic that would be effective. This would probably take a few days, as they'd have to grow the organism on plates of biological media, and then test them with the different possible meds.

Any good medical lab should be able to do this, human or veterinary. Maybe your vet could arrange for something like this?


Post   » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:43 am

Thank you!

That's a good suggestion. I'm seeing the vet again monday (since this has been going on for a while and he is not in immediate pain or seems affected, I've chosen to wait for normal opening hours rather than the fee for emergency vet). I will ask her if this is an option.

Open for more suggestions, I really want him to get better asap! :)

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:53 pm

Another consideration is how they're getting the antibiotic into the eye socket. An oral or injected AB may not be reaching all the infection. I don't know if there's a way to insert the med into the eye socket, but you might also ask about that.

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2019

Post   » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:50 pm

This reminds me of guinea pigs Chainsaw and Pistachio who both continued to have seepage after eye removal. Chainsaw tried a gel of antibiotic Chloramphenicol inserted into the socket. The owner didn’t report back if this worked. Pistachio’s owner eventually gave up on trying to fix the eye goo and Pistachio lived happily the rest of his life with it. He even had a cagemate for a while who would clean Pistachio’s eye daily for him. Here is the link to Chainsaw’s thread which contains a link to Pistachio’s as well. Good luck!


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Post   » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:28 pm

Oh, I'm glad you remembered those guinea pigs, Catie Cavy!

By the way, when you mention a fishy odor, it makes me think of a yeast/fungal infection. Bring this up with the vet too and see if it can be tested for a fungal infection. I believe there are some oral medications that could help if this is part of the problem.


Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:04 am

Thanks for those links! I wonder how Chainsaw is doing. But Pistachio's case sounds similar to mine, and hearing that he lived to a pretty age of 6 gives me hope!
When my Waffles has his heavier goo-periods, I usually clean it twice a day, but since I spent the night out of town, the piggies were alone from afternoon friday until saturday noon'ish and so it went uncleaned for almost a whole day. This is how it looks like (sorry if it looks gross to some):
Image (the red stuff near his mouth-fur is just because he loves beet roots and just ate some).

I'm gonna ask my vet to take a sample of the goo and test to see what it is. A fungal infection kinda seems likely. He did have a ringworm as well while he was getting treated with all kinds of stuff when the infection happened during healing, so his immune system was low at the time. Perhaps he also contracted a fungal infection inside the eye socket. I do feel it gets worse especially when I've had them out on grass and these days when it's a lot warmer than usual and at days, very humid.

It's so frustrating to not know what's wrong. I comfort myself with the fact that at least he doesn't seem at all in pain. I really hope the vet will fit me in first thing tomorrow!

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Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:32 am

I hope the vet can test the exudate and tell you what it is and if there is any treatment that could help.

Let me know if you'd like your pic added permanently to your thread for future readers.


Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:51 pm

I have had two piggies that had eyes removed. One of them continued to get infections, and eventually passed away. We think his passing may have been related to ongoing infections. The second one lived for 3 years after the eye removal, but he did have "seepage" from time to time in the socket (tear ducts) from which the eye was removed.

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Post   » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:41 am

Ah, I never thought of "cleaning fluid" from the tear ducts. Thanks for mentioning this.

Sounds like the thicker, excessive exudate is something else (which I am sure you will agree).


Post   » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:25 pm

This is also what my vet originally thought it is. But the fact that there's so much and that it doesn't smell neutral makes me think it might be something else. The vet didn't have time today, and since he actually seems to have improved during sunday so much that there's nothing coming out at the moment, we agreed that I'll come by tomorrow morning instead. I'm almost hoping it'll start exuding stuff again so we can get a sample.


Post   » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:06 am

Ok, so I took in my piggy this morning, thought I'd share an update, also in case someone has similar problems and come here for answers :)

Vet said that in eye removals, there's a big gap left in the eye socket that needs to heal over. During that process, it's normal for the wound to secreet pus, but it's important that there's a hole left open so it can leave the cavity and not stay in there. If it does, it'll start smelling and eventually get infected if it's allowed to stay in there and go bad. (that was the fishy smell - though I never left it long enough to go bad and cause infections)

Normally, this would go away after a month. Some vets add some gauze in the eye socket while it's healing soaked in some stuff to help keep it clean and fight bacteria, but they had thought a guinea pig is so small that it isn't necessary (my piggy was the first guinea eye removal they'd done, but they have done a lot of cats and dogs).

So the verdict is that I need to keep cleaning it daily and help the pus out by applying light pressure on it (I've done this sometimes before, my piggy doesn't mind, so I don't think it hurts). If it doesn't stop in a few months, they might open it up and drain it proper and do the gauze thing, but since my piggy is otherwise at good health and fresh and eating normal, they fear that this might cause more complications rather than do improvements.

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Post   » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:15 pm

Thanks for this explanation. Please do keep us updated on how he is doing. I hope it heals completely!


Post   » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:22 pm

I stumbled upon this thread when searching about eye removal complications. I did not want to start a new thread about Gamba's eye removal debacle.

Skymone: did the daily cleaning and applying light pressure work? Gamba has had multiple complications and now we have the white pus (no smell though) and the vet has said to do warm compress, 3x/day for 3-5 minutes to try to bring down the swelling and get the pus out. He is on Baytril and an oral anti-fungal after having a culture.

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Post   » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:40 pm

I encourage you to email her using the mailer (hopefully it will get through) and ask that she check your post.
This is the link you can send her:


Post   » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:49 pm

Thank you, Lynx! Will do!

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