Posted: April 2, 2008, 2 a.m. EDT
Q: My 8-month-old chinchilla seems to have an eye infection (runny eye). I do not have much time to take him to the vet. Can you give me some advice/medicine to solve this problem?
A: Chinchillas are great small mammal pets. They live a relatively long life and, in general, are less prone to some of the diseases we see in rabbits and guinea pigs. Eye infections are uncommon in chinchillas. Since they are uncommon, it is impossible to tell you what is likely to be causing this and how best to treat it.
Unfortunately, a runny eye can be caused by many things, most of them not infectious. These include a foreign object (such as a piece of hay) in the eye, a hair in the eye, a scratch on the cornea, a blocked nasolacrimal duct, and infection. And the infection can be in the soft tissues around the eye, on the cornea, or in the eye. Another very serious condition could be glaucoma.
As you can see there is no way to know what is causing the runny eye without visiting your veterinarian. And since some of the conditions I listed can lead to blindness if not treated, I would try to make time to get your doctor as soon as you can.