3 Eye Diseases That Can Affect Guinea Pigs

Many people think of guinea pigs as easy starter pets, but unfortunately, that's not the case. Guinea pigs are susceptible to a wide range of health problems, including problems with their eyes. Here are three eye diseases that your new guinea pig may develop.


Cataracts are an eye condition characterized by the clouding of the cornea, the lens that covers your pig's iris and pupil. Healthy corneas are clear, but when cataracts are present, they look milky and opaque. This prevents light from passing through your pig's cornea, which can then lead to vision loss or even complete blindness.

This condition can have a lot of different causes. It can be a normal consequence of the aging process, and cataracts usually affect senior guinea pigs. It can also be caused by diabetes; if your pig has diabetes, it's important to control their blood sugar levels by feeding them a healthy diet and letting them get lots of exercise. Sometimes, cataracts can also be genetic and will develop in young guinea pigs.

If your guinea pig develops cataracts, there is nothing that your vet can do for him or her. People with cataracts can get corneal transplants, but for guinea pigs, this isn't an option. This is because they're too tiny for this surgery to be practical. You can make your blind guinea pig's life easier by not rearranging their cage layout; if their food, water, and hiding places are always in the same spots, they won't get lost and confused.

Fatty Eye

Fatty eye, also called pea eye, is a condition that affects the conjunctiva, the white portion of your guinea pig's eye. Pigs with this condition have swollen tissue on their conjunctiva. This swollen tissue is not attractive but it's not usually a serious problem for your pig. It's thought that this condition is inherited.

Fatty eye can become a problem if the tissue grows large enough to block your pig's vision, but this is rare. It can also be a problem if the swollen tissue rubs against your pig's cornea and causes irritation. This is also rare. 

If your pig is bothered by their condition, it can be treated. Veterinarians can cut away the swollen tissue with a laser. This is a fairly simple procedure, so don't worry if your pig needs to get it done.


Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a condition that can affect guinea pigs. The conjunctiva can become inflamed in response to bacterial infections; the bacteria responsible are often Bordetella or Streptococcus.

Conjunctivitis causes obvious changes to your pig's eyes. You'll notice that your pig's eyes are swollen or squinted, and the area around their eyes will be red. You will also see a clear fluid or pus dripping from your pig's eyes. Crust can also form in the corners of your pig's eyes.

Fortunately, conjunctivitis is a fairly minor eye problem for guinea pigs. Your vet will give you antibiotic eye drops to kill the bacteria responsible for the infection. It can be hard to give eye drops to a squirming guinea pig, so you may want to wrap your pig in a blanket to keep them still. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling guinea pigs with conjunctivitis since some of the bacteria responsible can be spread to humans, and you don't want your own case of pink eye!

There are lots of eye problems that can affect guinea pigs, like cataracts, fatty eye, and conjunctivitis. If you notice any changes in your pig's eyes, take them to a vet right away to find out what's wrong and get them treated. If you are looking for an animal hospital near you, then click to find out more.