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What is hay poke?

We have had quite an expensive week at the vet for little Toffee. Owning guinea pigs, it was only a matter of time before we had to deal with hay poke which is a common medical condition.
Hay poke is an eye injury caused by a graze from the hay that the guinea pigs eat and burrow in. The most obvious symptom is a cloudy eye which may be weeping.
The first thing to do is check if you can see any hay in the eye and try to remove it if you feel confident. Otherwise get to the vet as soon as possible to get it removed and get treatment. If left untreated it can lead to blindness and possibly the removal of the eye.

The vet used a special dye to check for damage and confirm the diagnosis. We were able to see the areas that had been injured and were prescribed antibiotic drops and painkillers for 7 days.
Thankfully Toffee’s eye looked normal again within 48 hours of treatment but we took her back for a follow up appointment at the vet. The dye was used again and the injury was healed.
We completed the course of treatment and are hugely relieved that Toffee is happy and healthy again. Our bank balance is less happy and healthy but such is the duty of a pet owner and it is a privilege to have our boys and girls in our lives!

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