This was familiar territory for me, since his brother Midnight had an eye ulcer back in 2019:
My regular vet could not see Moon until May. So I took him to an emergency vet this morning. They told me they didn't know much about guinea pigs, but said they could look at his eyes, and assured me they'd check with me before performing any procedures or administering any medications. They did an eye staining exam, and said his eye had significant abrasions and an ulcer. Surprisingly, they said his other eye had some abrasions as well.
They gave me Ofloxin 0.3% eye drops, with instructions to apply them every 12 hours, 2 in the worse eye and 1 in the better one. I'm not sure how many days, but I should be hearing back on that. They suggested applying some kind of injection for pain, which I declined. They also put on a little head cone, which I removed. And they suggested I bring him to a guinea pig specialist within a few days.
So, a few questions about this situation:
1. Is Ofloxin 0.3% eye drops OK for eye ulcers? I knew to watch out for penicillin based antibiotics, and confirmed that these are not. But I also can't find see much about their use in guinea pigs, other than people mentioning that that their guinea pigs were prescribed it. Midnight was prescribed gentamicin eye drops for his ulcer in 2019. I still have some left, but I'm concerned it may not be safe to use after 2 years.
2. I don't think the head cone is necessary and removed it. I can't find any recommendations online to use a cone in this situation and Moon doesn't seem to be touching his eye more than normal. Am I making the right decision here?
3. The vet seemed to be concerned about the severity of the problem and suggested I should schedule a follow-up with a guinea pig specialist within a few days. How important is this? Would it be sufficient to wait a week or so to see if the cloudiness improves with the eye drops? I ask because it seems especially difficult to get guinea pig specialist appointments these days, and I may need to take a half day off from work and travel an hour each way to do so.
4. I was surprised to hear about the abrasions in the other eye. How normal is it for guinea pigs to get hay pokes in both eyes? I'm not sure what else would have caused this. He and Midnight never get into violent fights.
5. I'm concerned I may be doing something wrong to cause this. Specifically, when I add new hay to the hay rack, Moon and Midnight often get excited and run to the hay while I'm still adding it. This results in them being covered in hay. They don't seem to mind, and I figured they can just shake it off. But I'm now wondering if this could be causing hay to get stuck in their eyes. Should I be more careful when adding hay?
6. Is there anything else I should have done differently, or should do differently moving forward?
Eyes are very resilient. You gave prompt treatment. You might try giving them a handful of hay on the floor instead of allowing them to jump into the hay rack.Ofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone (flor-o-KWIN-o-lone) antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body.
Ofloxacin ophthalmic (for use in the eyes) is used to treat bacterial infections of the eyes.
Ofloxacin ophthalmic is also used to treat an ulcer in the cornea of the eye.
Ofloxacin will not treat a viral or fungal infection of the eye.
Ofloxacin ophthalmic may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
I looked over your other eye topic. If you don't see improvement, perhaps the vet could prescribe that opthalmic ointment.
I've removed the hay rack and moved their hay to the floor. I'll try this for a while. So far, Moon seems to be happy that he can reach more of it.
Moon is behaving normally and showing none of the signs of pain here:
Is it likely he's in pain but hiding it? Is it still worth asking for an oral pain reliever?
If the cloudiness subsides with the Ofloxacin, is a follow-up appointment still important?
If he is maintaining weight fine and showing no signs of pain, he is likely not in pain. Pain treatment is most important when a guinea pig hurts so much they do not eat or start losing weight. Any time a guinea pig is ill, it's a good idea to start a routine of once or twice daily weighings.
Thanks for sharing more helpful advice!
I've been putting him on a scale each day, and his weight has been stable. Less than 10 grams in changes compared to a month ago.
His behavior also seems happy and normal. He is even putting up with the 3x daily eye drops with minimal complaint.
His eyes seem to be improving as well. Very little cloudiness at this point.
Moving forward, I'll put an effort into giving Moon and Midnight weight and eye checkups more frequently.
But, I am now slightly concerned about another issue. About 20 minutes ago I saw Moon sleeping with his eyes open, as he often does. But this time, part of the white in his eye was exposed, and his eye was twitching. (This was his other eye, not the one with the obvious hay poke.) I was worried he was having a seizure or something. I removed his hideout, and observed no change in his behavior. Then I tapped his behind a few times. After a few taps, he woke up and ran away. Though his response time was notably slower than normal. Normally, I'd expect him to become alert immediately upon removing his hideout, and to jump or run as soon as I touch his behind.
Moon's behavior looked very much like the guinea pig in this video:
The explanation there is that the guinea pig is in REM sleep with their eyes open. That seems like a plausible explanation for what I observed, including Moon's slow response time (consistent with deep sleep) and his behavior reverting to normal after being awoken. Is that what's going on, or should I be concerned?