How to identify and treat hay poke in guinea pigs
What is a hay poke?
Hay poke is an injury to the eye which could be an abrasion, cut, ulcer or puncture.
How does it occur?
Hay either comes into direct contact with the eye or becomes lodged. Lodged hay may work its way into the eye lids or behind the eye causing further damage.
How can you identify it?
Hay pokes generally cause a cloudy, blind-looking eye. In more severe cases you may notice an ulcer or protruding red flesh from the corner of the eye. Your guinea pig may also struggle to open their eye or hold it closed entirely. Its important you gently pull back the eyelids to check for a piece of hay in the eyelids. This piece could be less than a mm thick so it's important to check closely.
How do you treat it?
Once any remaining hay is removed, the hay poke can be treated with Optrex infected eye eye drops or by using Colloidal Silver liquid as eye drops 2-3 times a day. We have found Optrex eye drops to work best. If the eye doesn't appear to begin healing after a few days, it's time to get a prescription eye drop or cream from the vet.
When should you see a vet?
Immediately if there is any blood or protruding flesh in the original hay poke, or if your guinea pig isn't responding to at home drops after three days.