Why Does Your Guinea Pig Have Sunken Eyes?

Guinea pigs are a popular pocket-sized rodent that can be kept as a pet whether you are a beginner or experienced pet owner.

Although they are quite healthy creatures if kept correctly, they can be affected by several illnesses. Many issues can affect your guinea pig’s eyes, but some are more common than others.

One of the health issues that can affect your guinea pig is sunken eyes. Your guinea pig can have sunken eyes if the tissues around their eyes are swollen and it covers their eye, it is dehydrated or has kidney problems.

In this article, we will help you familiarize yourself with why your guinea pig can have swollen eyes and how you can treat and prevent this from happening to your cavy.

Why Does Your Guinea Pig Have Sunken Eyes?

Guinea pigs can have sunken eyes if they are dehydrated or have possible kidney problems. You can treat sunken eyes in guinea pigs by giving your pet a dioralyte or other diarrhea treatment drink to help rehydrate your pet.

Another thing is to provide fresh and wet vegetables to provide extra water. However, guinea pigs can also have sunken eyes if they have abscesses and the tissues around their eyes are swollen.

You may need to consult your vet for diagnosis and treatment if the symptom persists.

A Sign of Dehydration and Possible Kidney Problems

Guinea pigs need to drink water to stay healthy and happy. Your guinea pig can develop a wide range of health conditions when dehydrated and can even die.

Furthermore, guinea pigs will find it hard to defecate or urinate when dehydrated, which can cause intestinal blockages.

You can use the eyes of your guinea pig to determine whether it is hydrated or not. A dehydrated guinea pig usually has sunken and dry eyes and will look dull.

Apart from dehydration, sunken eyes can be an indication of kidney problems in guinea pigs. However, this is more common if your guinea pig is old.

Once you notice this in your aged guinea pigs, it is best to consult with the vet for diagnosis and ways to support your guinea pig.

How To Tell If A Guinea Pig Is Dehydrated

Apart from sunken eyes, there are other ways that you can use to determine when a guinea pig is dehydrated. Some of them are:

  • The color of a dehydrated guinea pig’s urine is usually dark and smells
  • Your guinea pig has a severe weight loss
  • The skin of your guinea pig does not return to its previous state quickly when you squeeze their skin.

How Long Can A Guinea Pig Go When Dehydrated?

Your guinea pig’s health can deteriorate quickly if they don’t access fresh drinking water in 12-24 hours. In some cases, guinea pigs can even have severe dehydration and organ failure if they don’t drink water for an extended period.

Furthermore, dehydration in guinea pigs can be life-threatening for them if they don’t drink for more than 24 hours.

A Sign of Abscesses/Trauma

Sunken eyes can also signify abscess or trauma in guinea pigs. An abscess is usually caused by open wounds and injuries on your guinea pig’s skin. Due to the injury, the tissue from your guinea pig’s eye will then swell and cover their eyes.

Your guinea pig can develop an abscess if a fight between two guinea pigs causes an open wound. Splinters, nails, or broken items in your guinea pig’s cage can also cause abscess if your guinea pigs get wounded by it.

Guinea pigs can also develop tooth root abscesses which can also lead to the swelling of their jaw or face.

How To Check Abscesses/Trauma

An abscess usually looks like a rounded, pus-filled cyst. The best way to check for an abscess is by consulting with your vet for diagnosis. You can show your vets the symptoms you notice and where there is swelling or redness on your guinea pigs.

Can A Guinea Pig Live With An Abscess?

Guinea pigs usually try to hide signs that they are ill or in pain. However, once you notice that your guinea pig has an abscess, you should consult with your vet immediately. This is because an abscess is always infected by bacteria, leading to other problems.

Sign Of Guinea Pig Dying

Guinea pigs can die within 24-72 hours when suffering from a serious health condition. This means you should be vigilant when keeping a guinea pig as a pet to ensure you discover if it is sick at an early stage.

The signs of a guinea pig dying or being sick are usually the same regardless of the type of health issue your guinea pig is suffering from. Some of the signs that your guinea pig can give when dying are:

  • Your guinea pigs stopped eating
  • Your guinea pig stops grooming itself
  • It is lethargic
  • Your guinea pigs have a respiratory issue
  • The eyes of your guinea pig appear cloudy and dull and can even look sunken.
  • The behavior of your guinea pig changes
  • Your guinea pig has difficulty pooping, or there is blood in their stool or urine.
  • Your guinea pig’s coat looks dull, rough, or shows thinning.

Note: Once you notice any of these signs, you should try to take your guinea pig to the vet immediately.

How To Treat Guinea Pig Sunken Eyes

Before you can treat a guinea pig’s sunken eye, you will need first to understand the cause of the issue. As stated before, sunken eyes in guinea pigs can occur because of dehydration, kidney problem, or abscess.

The best way to treat a guinea pig’s sunken eyes problem is by consulting with the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Rehydrate For Guinea Pig

The main cause of sunken eyes in guinea pigs is dehydration. This means you can easily treat it by rehydrating your guinea pig. You can use rehydration solutions like dioralyte or other diarrhea treatment drinks to help rehydrate your pet.

Another way is by providing fresh and wet veggies for your guinea pig to serve as an additional water source.

How Do You Treat A Guinea Pig Abscess?

The best way to treat a guinea pig’s abscess is to remove the abscess surgically, and this process requires a general anesthetic.

However, when it cannot be surgically removed, the vets usually open the abscess under a general anesthetic and then stitch the wound open.

You will then need to flush the wound once or twice a day for some weeks at home. Your vet can also prescribe some antibiotics that you can use for your pet to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.

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When Do You Need To See A Vet?

Generally, eyes are delicate structures in the body. The main issue with eye problems is that it is hard to differentiate a simple infection from a serious one.

Another thing is that eye problems usually progress very quickly, and it is crucial to detect them very early.

This is why you will need to consult with your vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment once you notice any signs.

Symptoms Of Eye Problems In Guinea Pigs

  • There is a yellow or green discharge from your guinea pig’s eye.
  • The eye has a cloudy appearance.
  • Your guinea pig is keeping its eye closed
  • There is crusting around the eye.
  • Watering of the eye
  • There is sore skin around the eye.
  • Your guinea pig is scratching or pawing its eye frequently.
  • Sunken eyes


Why are my guinea pig’s eyes drooping?

Drooping eye is also known as pea eye and fatty eye, and it usually occurs when there is a permanent protrusion of the conjunctival sac, which can be inherited or from the diet.

Guinea pigs suffering from this condition usually seem comfortable, and there is no need for treatment.

However, you can treat it by removing it with a laser when it is interfering with your guinea pig’s vision.

What does it look like when a guinea pig goes blind?

A blind guinea pig doesn’t normally react when approaching its cage. Instead of hiding or being excited when you are moving to their cage, a blind pig will not react at all because they cannot see you.

Blind guinea pigs can also walk into obstacles in the cage or have trouble moving around their cage.


The major reason why a guinea pig can have sunken eyes is that they are dehydrated, suffering from kidney problems or abscesses. The best way to treat sunken eyes is to quickly take an infected pig to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

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