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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28931
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Yesterday guinea was fine. Today he is slightly tilting

Customer Question

Yesterday guinea was fine. Today he is slightly tilting head. But is walking around and eating fine.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Otitis media (middle ear infection) should be considered in any guinea pig exhibiting head tilt. This can progress to otitis interna (inner ear infection) which is the actual cause of the tilt. It's unclear whether oral bacterial flora can become opportunistic with dental disease and ascend via the eustachian tube in guinea pigs but otitis media and dental disease are often found together and cultures often isolate oral bacteria. We also consider aural polyps which may occur within the tympanic bullae (the middle ear compartment) with secondary infection causing clinical signs which may include head tilt, ataxia ("drunken sailor"), circling, torticollis ("twisted neck"), and facial nerve paralysis with secondary ulcerative keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) due to exposure. X-rays are necessary to evaluate the bulla and dentition but pragmatically speaking, treatment consists of the appropriate antibiotics, antiinflammatories, analgesics and dental treatments. Unfortunately, these measure are often not curative.

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