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White Thing In Chinchilla’s Eye

What causes whiteness in a chinchilla's eye and how is this treated?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: December 27, 2011, 4 a.m. EST

Q: My chinchilla's eye had something white inside. What is it, and what can I do for this? I’m from Cyprus, and I don't know if I can find any doctor for a chinchilla.
 
A: It is difficult to answer your question without seeing the chinchilla's eye itself. The “white” area could be on the clear covering of the eye, the cornea. Or it could be something white that is floating in the fluid in the front of the eye. This area is called the anterior chamber. Or the white area could be in the lens. The lens directs light to the back of the eye allowing transmittal of information to the brain.

White on the cornea of a chinchilla's eye can represent an old injury that has caused a scar to form on the cornea. If the cornea is actively diseased, fluid sometimes builds up in the cornea and gives it a whitish appearance. Active disease in the cornea can be treated with medications such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

White in the anterior chamber of a chinchilla's eye usually represents infection. This can be some floating white blood cells or even an organized abscess. This condition can be painful, and you may see your chinchilla scratching at its eye and keeping the eyelids closed. Treating this condition also involves antibiotics and pain relief.

Finally, a white area on the lens of a chinchilla's eye is known as a cataract. Cataracts are typically painless but can get white enough (opaque) and large enough to impede vision, because they prevent light from reaching the back of the eye.

Finding doctors who know chinchilla medicine can be difficult. But chinchilla eyes are much like the eyes of dogs and cats. If you can find a veterinarian with a special interest in eye diseases, it is likely that he or she can help you determine what is wrong with your chinchilla and begin treatment of the condition.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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