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Guinea Pig Ear Infection: Causes, Treatment & Prevention Tips

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Tim Rhodes

All living beings, including guinea pigs, are susceptible to infections, and guinea pig ear infection is one of them.

Guinea pigs are adorable, cute, and fuzzy little animals.

Guinea pigs are easy to care of and kids do love them, but being a pet owner is a huge responsibility, like parenting.

You need to take good care of them, feed them every day, play with them, and make sure they feel safe at all times.

Sometimes, you can encounter problems with your pet, their health is one of the important things you should observe.

There’s nothing lonelier than seeing your adorable pet in a bad state.

In this article, we’re going to talk about guinea pig ear infections; what causes them, the treatment, and some prevention tips.

What are ear infections?

Ear infections are infections that occur in the ear, primarily in the middle ear.

Humans and animals can experience this.

If worsened, it can affect a guinea pig’s nervous system.

This occurs when bacteria enter the ear or is caused by a respiratory infection such as Pneumonia.

There are three different types of ear infections – Otitis externa, media, and the internet.

There is a lot to learn in terms of this kind of infection that may infect those little guinea pig pets you have.

The Three Different Types of Ear Infections

Otitis Externa

Otitis externa is a type of ear infection that causes swelling of the outer ear canal.

Looking at the word Externa, meaning outer or external.

Maybe, your cute little friend just went for a swim in his drinking water place as this is sometimes called the “swimmer’s ear”.

In humans, this is when the ear is exposed to too much water, specifically when swimming, thus, bacteria build up in the ear occurs.

Otitis Media

Otitis Media is another type of ear infection that occurs in the middle ear.

There are two kinds of this infection, first is the Acute Otitis Media or AOM, an infection that causes ear pain.

The second type is the Otitis Media with Effusion or OME.

This type of infection can cause fluid discharge inside the ear.

As the name says, “Media”, meaning middle.

Otitis Interna

Otitis Interna is the third type of ear infection, it causes swelling of the inner ear.

Interna, meaning internal, inner, or inside, is the extension of Otitis media.

This doesn’t happen often but we can always be one step ahead when it comes to our pet’s health.

It’s also called Labyrinthitis.

Now that you know what ear infections are, let’s proceed to what causes them, the signs and symptoms, and the treatment of this infection.

Causes of Ear Infections in Guinea Pigs

Ear infections on guinea pigs are rare but it doesn’t mean that it won’t occur on those critters.

They occur when bacteria infiltrate their ears and are also caused by respiratory infections like pneumonia and the bacteria travels to the ear.

Other causes of ear infections to your pet guinea pig are ear mites and other parasitic organisms like lice, fleas, and ticks.

Parasites can also infect your pet’s ear as they can irritate and make your pet itchy and uncomfortable.

Ear infections are also caused by wax build-up.

Guinea pigs have the ability to produce ear wax just like we humans naturally do.

Wax build-up in the ear may cause bacterial build-up and may cause infections if not cleaned immediately.

So be sure to clean your pet’s ears.

Signs and Symptoms

It is not easy to determine the signs of ear infections because guinea pigs tend to conceal any signs of being sick or being weak.

As a pet owner, you must have a good eye on them and observe their behavior, their eating pattern, or even notice the tiniest of changes that occurs in them.

Head Tilting

I just want to look cute in front of you”, says the talking guinea pig.

If your guinea pig has problems keeping his head straight, the least of your worries is that your pet is playing you a joke or that your pet has a wry neck.

When your guinea pig does this, it means your pet is pointing in a particular direction.

Worst-case scenario, when your guinea pig is tilting its head sideways, it could be an ear infection.

Loss of balance is visible in your pet.

It can also indicate that your pet is irritated due to the pain in its ear.

So watch out for it.

Rubbing or Scratching of Ears

Sometimes, this is a false alarm, but don’t be so sure about that.

Maybe your pet decided to rub or scratch their ears because they felt itchy.

Maybe something is bugging them, making them irritated.

Ear infections may sometimes occur because of parasites.

This can lead to itchiness, making the little critter uncomfortable and scratch its ears.

Too much scratching or rubbing may result in small wounds on the ear, making the ears vulnerable to infection.

So be sure to be very observant when it comes to your pet.

Smelly Ears

What would you do if you held your pet guinea pig and decided to rub your face on it, then smelled something nasty?

In this case, pus may form in the ears and it has a putrid smell.

Ears can produce pus when infected, making the ears of your cute little pet smelly and a few other people may think that “Oh, he’s not so cute anymore”.

Needless to say, the pus inside the ears of your pet indicates that it has an infection.

Don’t let the smell distract you from continuously loving them.

Red or Swollen Inner Ear

Red or swollen inner ears may indicate that your pet is having an infection and it could be painful making them irritable.

When you touch their ears, it would feel warm because of the inflammation.

If your pet’s ears are looking a bit puffy, it may have an infection.

This is caused by mites or an effect of Pneumonia.

A respiratory infection like Pneumonia can also cause ear infections that can lead to a reddish or swollen inner ear.

Hearing Loss

You decided to go and play with your pet, of course, you’re going to talk to them.

But you observed that your pet is not noticing or responding to your voice.

In severe situations, loss of hearing is one of the signs that your pet is severely infected.

If your pet doesn’t respond to your voice, it could be infected.

Bacteria will not just infect the middle ear, but the inner ear as well – the inner ear is very sensitive.

Ear Pain

If guinea pigs could talk, they could express the pain they feel.

Ear pain is a sign that your pet has an ear infection.

Whether it’s from ticks, mites, and lice or a respiratory infection, ear pain is associated with an ear infection.

Because of the swelling and inflammation of the middle or inner ear, guinea pigs will feel pain.

If only they can share their pain with their pet owners, maybe they will feel a little bit of comfort.

Walking in Circles

Awwww! My guinea pig looks like he’s drunk”.

Hold your horses’ guinea pig owners.

First of all, alcohol is a no-no when it comes to guinea pigs – it’s very bad for them.

Second, when a guinea pig is walking in circles, it is a sign that there is an ear infection.

Look for other signs and symptoms, observe your pet if there are other changes.

Sometimes, when a guinea pig runs or walks in a circle, it signifies that it’s time to mate.

They show dominance over the other male guinea pigs.

But if you only have one guinea pig and if you are not sure, visit your veterinarian and have your pet examined.

Appetite Loss

I’m on a special diet. I’m not hungry!”, says the talking guinea pig.

If your pet guinea pig suddenly lost its appetite, there’s something wrong with your pet.

They’re certainly not on a special diet.

It’s very worrying when your pets refuse to eat, clearly, they don’t feel well.

Force-feeding may help your guinea pig to have its daily nutritional needs but you should consult your vet about it first.

Always ask for advice from your vet.

If your guinea pig refuses to eat and it continues that way in the next several days or weeks, your pet’s condition will worsen.

Now that you know the signs and symptoms of ear infection, it’s time to see how to treat this kind of infection.

You’re almost there, remember, knowledge is the key.

Treatment of guinea pig ear infection

The best way to treat your pet is to visit your veterinarian to have a look at your pet’s ear infection.

He’ll know what to do.

Normally, your vet will clinically examine your pet.

Vets will run some tests to diagnose the situation and to identify ways on how to ease the pain, irritation, and other symptoms of the ear infection that your pet is currently dealing with.

The treatment depends on how serious the infection is.

The basic treatment for ear infections is to reduce the symptoms.

Anesthetics can be used to reduce pain and discomfort.

Antibiotics can be used to treat the infection and will help fight against bacteria that caused the infection.

Antiseptic washes are also used to clean the infected ear of your pet.

After your vet applied the treatment to your guinea pig, the vet might sometimes prescribe some medicine for your pet.

Treatment will vary if the infection is located in the outer, middle, or inner ear.

When the vet says that you can take your pet home, make sure that you place your guinea pig in a clean environment.

Make sure to do what the vet said and always keep an eye on your pet.

Make sure that your pet is comfortable and make it a stress-free environment.

Don’t forget to apply medications but be careful not to put too much to avoid complications and to avoid an overdose.

How can my pet guinea pig avoid having an ear infection?

Having a safe and clean environment for your pet is necessary to prevent having an ear infection.

It will reduce the possibility of your pet getting infected.

Everything should be clean and organized for your pet.

Regularly clean your home as it helps to reduce bacterial levels in your surroundings.

Make sure that your pet is clean.

Cleaning their ears regularly can prevent infection.

Make sure to do them lightly because the ears are very sensitive.

If left untreated, what will happen to my guinea pig?

You need to take this seriously.

Prevention is always better than the cure.

If an ear infection worsens, it can be fatal to guinea pigs because it can damage the nervous system.

Ear infections are deadly for guinea pigs or can permanently damage them.

Guinea pigs can lose their hearing.

Remember that pneumonia is the number one cause of death for guinea pigs.

Since pneumonia can cause ear infections, make sure to always look out for those little critters.

Normally, it’s advisable to do a once-a-year check-up with your vet but in this case, schedule a weekly check-up for your little friend to make sure that the health of your pet is at 100%.

What drugs are used by the vet to treat ear infections on guinea pigs?

Some several drugs or medicines are used and that is prescribed for treating a guinea pig.

The most commonly used drugs are antibiotics.

With the use of a dropper, you can put antibiotics in the ear, to fight against bacteria.

Be careful though on using antibiotics on guinea pigs.

Unlike other pets, guinea pigs are very sensitive when it comes to antibiotics.

It can cause complications in their digestive system, so it’s important to regulate small amounts of antibiotics for guinea pigs.

Another effective drug that is used is the anesthetic.

This will help reduce the pain and inflammation in the ear.

It will give a little bit of comfort to your adorable friend.

Antiseptic washes are also used to clean the guinea pig’s ear to reduce bacterial build-up.

What vitamins should my guinea pig take?

This may come as a surprise to you, but guinea pigs actually don’t naturally produce vitamin C.

So in their diet, you must include at least 10mg of vitamin C every day and 50mg at most, depending on the age and health of your guinea pig.

Visit your local vet and try to ask how many milligrams of vitamin C a guinea pig should take every day.

What should I do if I noticed my pet guinea pig is acting or moving strangely?

Kudos for being observant.

If you don’t know what to do, visit your local veterinarian.

You should take your pet to the vet immediately.

Have the vet examine your pet and ask for advice and tips.

If you feel that there’s something strange or awkward happening with your pet, the best thing to do is bring him to your vet.

A pet’s health is the number one priority of a pet owner.

They can be the best company you’ll ever have and all they want is for you to give them the love they deserve and always take care of them.

Guinea pigs are amazing as pets to have.

As a pet owner, the number one priority should be the health of your pets.

It will always be a big responsibility – embrace it.

You will have trials to face once you’ve become a pet owner.

Cherish the moments you have with them, these little critters won’t live forever and neither do you.

You have them in your life and you gave them purpose in their lives.

So make every moment count.

What is an ideal diet for guinea pigs to make them stay healthy?

A guinea pig’s diet consists of leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and parsley.

Other foods such as tomatoes, blueberries, watermelon, strawberries, and bananas.

You can also supplement them with pellets.

Timothy hay is also good for guinea pigs.

Make sure that they drink adequate amounts of water to make sure they are hydrated.

Fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C are a must.

Remember, guinea pigs don’t produce vitamin C.

What foods should I avoid to feed my guinea pig?

Some foods are very toxic to guinea pigs.

Yes, they are herbivores but not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for their digestive system.

Some of the foods you must avoid to feed them include, garlic, onion, avocados, grapes, chives, raisins, and coconut.

Please do avoid feeding your guinea pigs salty junk foods or any junk food at all.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pig ear infection is no laughing matter.

It’s a very dangerous infection and you must take it seriously.

If left untreated, ear infections might cause your pet’s ear to be permanently damaged, or worse, your pet may pass away.

Now that you have read all about ear infections on guinea pigs, you have enough knowledge and awareness to keep your pet guinea pigs safe and healthy.

Remember, prevention is and will always be better than cure.

Always have a safe and clean environment for your adorable pets.

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