Chinchilla - Bulging/Protruding eye?

rodneyc8063

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Dec 5, 2012
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Our chinchilla recently went through a medical issue back in Jan-Feb 2020 (I noted the thread here for the history: Chinchilla bald patch above eye?). The vet basically found an abcess above her right eye, and we had to drain it and treat it with a topical antibiotic for a while.

Since then till now she seems to be rebounding back ever so slowly. Shes drinking water, eating hay, eating her pellets and taking the occasional treat. I have been spoiling her by giving her more frequent baths, nearly every other day or daily recently.

But recently while handling her, we noticed that with her "bad eye", she opened it super duper wide. So wide to the point that we could see the white rim around her eye and it almost looked like her eye was slowly popping out!

We put her back thinking maybe she was just freaked out and checked on her again later that day. She did it a total of two times that day, and since then we have been trying to just let her "rest" and come out for play time on her own (open her cage door).

I dont have any pictures of the particular incident, but when I was going through my photos I found even way back in Feb when she was being treated her eye seemed to bulge out a bit?

In the photo below its the eye on the left - These photos were taken back in early Feb.

thumbnail_Resized_20200210_202201.jpgthumbnail_Resized_20200210_202204.jpgthumbnail_Resized_20200210_202246.jpg

You will notice that she has a small cut above her eye, as we were dealing with the abcess and had to drain it a few times to get it to fully heal.

Today, her fur has completely grown back as far as we can tell. There are no lumps/bumps around her eye. We quite thoroughly felt all around - No other lumps or bumps that we can find. She didnt whince in pain, or yelp or anything. Outside of this her behaviour seems normal. In fact shes even been slowly putting back weight up to 560 grams now. So we took all this as positive indicators.

Though we did notice that her "bad eye" did seem to bulge out more from her "good eye" in the sense that when we were handling her, and moving around her eye and her eye was closed we were able to feel that one eye seemed to be more further out?

From searching around, I have read of the possiblities of a tumor, cyst or even malocclusion may cause a chinchilla eye to protrude/bulge but I couldnt find any photos.

Our vet is currently closed due to the covid-19 pandemic but we do have a telephone consultation set up for this coming Monday and we could possibly bring our chin in for a check up.

But I was wondering, given the fact that her eye has been protruding/bulging from all the way back in Jan/Feb 2020 - Could this be something serious like a tumor/cyst or malocclusion ?

The only source of comfort I have right now is the fact that since her eye has been protruding/bulging since back in Jan till now - I am assuming if it WAS something serious she would be going downhill or have gone downhill already?

Im hoping someone can tell me that her eye looks some what normal for a chin. Shes our first chin and we cant really compare to anyone else

Before her whole eye thing we honestly never truely scrutnized her eye so thoroughly - So we arent sure if this was something that was always pre existing the bulging or protruding.
 
Last edited:

Pepperpot

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North West England.
Your chinchilla needs to see a vet immediately. There is something serious ongoing to make the eye protrude like this and it needs to be investigated and treated. It is impossible to give an answer as to what is causing this condition precisely and for this reason, your chin needs to see a vet.
 

rodneyc8063

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Messages
26
Your chinchilla needs to see a vet immediately. There is something serious ongoing to make the eye protrude like this and it needs to be investigated and treated. It is impossible to give an answer as to what is causing this condition precisely and for this reason, your chin needs to see a vet.
Hi Pepperpot - Many thanks for the reply

Not sure why I wasnt notified of your reply - I was just logging back in to give an update and seek more advice.

We brought our chin to the vet on April 21 (few days after I posted). Unfortunately due to covid-19, we were not allowed in the exam room and just dropped off and picked up our chin afterwards and had a phone conversation.

The vet said, that given her most recent history where she had what appeared to be an abscess directly above the same eye (more details in the other thread in my OP), her train of thought was that its quite likely the same issue, though its not visible externally and is happening behind the eye.

The vet had examined the eye and didn't see any issues with the eye itself. The whites of the eye were white (originally it was pink veiny when she had the abcess on top of her eye), and the eye itself wasnt swollen or anything.

She also said she felt thoroughly around the eye to see if there was any other lumps or bumps and was not able to find anything.

The vet did of course agree that something is going on, but externally there was no other bumps or trauma to the eye itself. We did note though that there was some white discharge at times.

The vet also noted that her teeth appeared to be fine, theres no drooling or issues with eating so the vet doesnt suspect malo at this point.

When this all started with the abcess directly above the eye, we were prescribed metacam and baytril (enrolfloxacin) after they had drained it. While taking these meds she was not eating at all, and we were force feeding her for a week but she was still losing weight. We had a follow up with the vet a few days later and since our chin was losing so much weight, we were given a topical antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) and recommended to try draining her eye every day and stop the metacam and baytril. Our chins appetite picked back up, and after draining her abcess twice a day it healed up after about a month - But now we have this bulging eye. We didnt notice the eye bulge since the abcess above the eye covered up the bulge :(

So this time the vet sent us home with the baytril and metacam to give it a try again. This time though, we have been able to successfully give her the baytril for 2 weeks now and shes actually gaining weight going from 560 to 580 grams. I didnt think our chin seemed to be in any obvious sign of pain, so I thought to maybe only give the baytril.

So after 2 weeks now, we feel like we see a very slight marginal improvement - Given shes gained some weight, seems more active, her eye "seems" less bulgy (hard to measure honestly) and we also havent seen anymore white discharge from her eye.

We will be calling the vet in another week to follow up but I had a few questions that Im hoping folks can share their experience please

-For baytril/enrolfloxacin - Is it safe to take for 3 weeks or maybe even longer? Given the fact that it took nearly a month of physically draining the original abcess above her eye until it healed - If the same thing is happening behind her eye Im guessing it may take more then a month since theres no way to drain it.

-Is metacam a pain killer only? We have not given her both the baytril AND metacam yet, as she stopped eating when taking both last time. Since she didnt appear to be in any pain, we didnt want to over medicate her. We are thinking any swelling, if any that has happened should go away on its own if the baytril fixes the root cause. So a bit on the fence as to whether to give her both, not sure if the metacam would be that much more beneficial?

-Should we try taking an xray? We had suggested it, but the vet said lets give the baytril a chance first then can explore xray later. The vet said the xray may or may not show something, so isnt first choice at the moment.

-If this is some sort of abcess - What other medications can we try? Not sure if this could be a fungal infection (which baytril wouldnt treat i am guessing)

Lastly - The vet said that worse worse case scenario, is that there are rare occasions where a mass may be growing directly behind the eye. So if we need to do any kind of surgery, that they would likely need to remove the eye in order to remove the mass behind it. But of course this is absolute worse case and if all else fails.

Surgery is our absolute last choice of course, but if we need to we will. I appreciate our vet trying the "least invasive" approach first. When we brought our chin to another vet to get a second opinon, that vet pretty much jumped straight to surgery which we didnt appreciate.

Given our chin seems healthy and in good spirits otherwise, Im quite confused - Especially since this seems to have been happening for about 5 months now.

We arent sure how much longer until we can see a noticeable improvement with the current meds. Or could this be her new normal?

Sigh sorry for the long post.......Obviously we are quite worried and anxious to find the root cause :(

Just wanted to hear some other chin experts advice/insight or experience.
 

tunes

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-For baytril/enrolfloxacin - Is it safe to take for 3 weeks or maybe even longer? Given the fact that it took nearly a month of physically draining the original abcess above her eye until it healed - If the same thing is happening behind her eye Im guessing it may take more then a month since theres no way to drain it.

Baytril is a harsh antibiotic. Given the fact that she has already lost weight and is having health issues, Baytril (for me) would be the last resort and 3 weeks seems excessive. Whenever I've used it I've never gone beyond 10 days and with Trimethoprim sulfa never beyond 14 days without a break before starting in again (it was a herd illness). It is easier on the chin's system if you can give Baytril as an injection rather than orally. Is that an option?

-Is metacam a pain killer only? We have not given her both the baytril AND metacam yet, as she stopped eating when taking both last time. Since she didnt appear to be in any pain, we didnt want to over medicate her. We are thinking any swelling, if any that has happened should go away on its own if the baytril fixes the root cause. So a bit on the fence as to whether to give her both, not sure if the metacam would be that much more beneficial?

Metacam is for pain. Baytril is an antibiotic. Two totally different drugs. With the way that eye looks, I would absolutely be using Metacam but I would use it sparingly. As with any drug (like Baytril), there can be side effects.

-Should we try taking an xray? We had suggested it, but the vet said lets give the baytril a chance first then can explore xray later. The vet said the xray may or may not show something, so isnt first choice at the moment.

I would have insisted on an x-ray first thing. I would want to know what is going on behind that eye. If the roots of her teeth are growing upward into the eye socket, it would be nearly impossible for the vet could palpate it to tell with certainty.

-If this is some sort of abcess - What other medications can we try? Not sure if this could be a fungal infection (which baytril wouldnt treat i am guessing)

A good broad-spectrum antibiotic would be called for. Trimethoprim sulfa is my go-to antibiotic for most things. I use Baytril as a last resort drug. I have never had an issue with TMS and have even given it to 2-day old kits.

Lastly - The vet said that worse worse case scenario, is that there are rare occasions where a mass may be growing directly behind the eye. So if we need to do any kind of surgery, that they would likely need to remove the eye in order to remove the mass behind it. But of course this is absolute worse case and if all else fails.

I've had to have an eye removed in one of my favorite chins before, due to an injury that caused it to abscess. She did fine. It was hard for me to look at, but it didn't seem to bother her all that much once she got used to it.
 

rodneyc8063

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Dec 5, 2012
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Hi Tunes!

Baytril is a harsh antibiotic. Given the fact that she has already lost weight and is having health issues, Baytril (for me) would be the last resort and 3 weeks seems excessive. Whenever I've used it I've never gone beyond 10 days and with Trimethoprim sulfa never beyond 14 days without a break before starting in again (it was a herd illness). It is easier on the chin's system if you can give Baytril as an injection rather than orally. Is that an option?

Our vet is currently closed due to the covid pandemic, so they cant show us how to do an injection. The vet didnt sound too keen on it generally though when discussing self injection (they have no problem doing injection for us of course). To be honest we arent very confident in doing it either even if we were shown, but if push came to shove we would do it.

We started our chin on oral baytril on April 21, and have been giving 0.05ml twice a day since then to today - So its been about 3 weeks oral route.

We are actually quite surprised that our chin on April 21 weighed in at about 560g and now shes weighing in at about 595g.

Overall I would say her behaviour seems a wee bit more energetic, and shes eating and drinking like no tomorrow and putting on weight. Her eye does look marginally less "bulgy", but its not a huge difference. We will be contacting the vet early next week to discuss further next steps.

Im quite stumped what to do, since this eye thing doesnt "seem" to be bothering her, she seems to be in better spirits and it doesnt look any worse (from what we can tell) Im hesitant to do anything more invasive.

Metacam is for pain. Baytril is an antibiotic. Two totally different drugs. With the way that eye looks, I would absolutely be using Metacam but I would use it sparingly. As with any drug (like Baytril), there can be side effects.

I may try to give her a dose of metacam this coming weekend and see how she fares. Thankfully she "seems" to be in better spirits, and I dont think shes in pain so I didnt see the need to give the metacam to her initially. But will give it a go

I would have insisted on an x-ray first thing. I would want to know what is going on behind that eye. If the roots of her teeth are growing upward into the eye socket, it would be nearly impossible for the vet could palpate it to tell with certainty.

An xray is probably what I am going to push for next.

Would any other abnormal growths (abscess, tumor etc) show up on an xray?

If there is overgrown teeth, could it be happening on only one side? Weird thing is that this seems to be affecting only her one eye and not the other.

A good broad-spectrum antibiotic would be called for. Trimethoprim sulfa is my go-to antibiotic for most things. I use Baytril as a last resort drug. I have never had an issue with TMS and have even given it to 2-day old kits.

I appreciate the suggestion - Given we have already been giving oral baytril for the past 3 weeks - Should we give Trimethoprim sulfa a try? Im not sure since both are antibiotics would there be any benefit trying another antibiotic at this point in time.

I've had to have an eye removed in one of my favorite chins before, due to an injury that caused it to abscess. She did fine. It was hard for me to look at, but it didn't seem to bother her all that much once she got used to it.

If its ok, can I PM you to ask you more about what happened with your chins eye?

Sorry if these questions seem naive, just not sure how to deal with this :(

Again, Im stumped whats going on given my chin actually seems to be doing better?

Im really hoping the baytril that we have been giving her has helped to kill off whatever is happening, and she just needs time for the pus or whatever to slowly work its way out of her system. The vet did note that the eye itself looks good. So Im really hoping this doesnt need to resort to my chin losing her eye....

I can understand if my chin was getting worse, and it came down to having to remove the eye. But this is just weird where it doesnt "seem" to be getting worse, and she seems to be in better spirits -_-

If only she could talk!!
 
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