ISSN 2398-2985      

Ocular gland prolapse

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Lacrimal gland prolapse, Glans nictitans prolapse

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Introduction

  • Cause:
    • Foreign bodies, eg grass seeds and fragments of hay are a common finding in guinea pigs. This can cause a glans nictitans prolapse or further harm an already prolapsed gland.
    • Trauma.
    • Obesity may predispose certain guinea pigs to ‘flesh eye’ or ‘pea eye’  Subconjunctival protrusions and swellings.
    • Guinea pigs possess a rudimentary nictitating membrane the gland of which is not visible unless prolapsed in the condition ‘flesh eye’.
    • Neoplasia Neoplasia overview.
  • Signs: acute onset swelling in the vicinity of the eye noted by the owner.
  • Diagnosis: clinical examination.
  • Treatment:
    • Surgical replacement of prolapsed gland.
    • Amputation of prolapsed tissue is an option in cases of severe neoplasia. This may serve as a debulking procedure only.
    • Medical treatment.
    • If no ocular discomfort and compromise present, simple monitoring may be sufficient.
  • Prognosis: good if no neoplastic process present.

Anatomy

  • Guinea pigs possess several ocular glands.
  • Meibomian glands located in the upper and lower eyelids: involved in lipid production.
  • Two sebaceous glands located in the subconjunctival tissue of both eyelids: these glands open onto the temporal lid margin and are involved in lipid production.
  • Rudimentary nictitating membrane with the glans nictitans located in the temporoventral area of the orbit.
  • Large Harderian gland located posterior to the orbit: involved in lipid production.
  • Zygomatic gland with a poorly understood location and function that may contribute to the tear film production.
  • The tear film of the guinea pig is very stable, likely due to increased lipid content reducing evaporation of the aqueous layer. Tear film break up time is particularly long in the species. Periods of 20 minutes between blinking have been recorded without detrimental effect on corneal moistness.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Trauma most common.
  • Show animals are often overweight – the excessive fat may deposit in the glans nictitans leading to prolapse.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Obesity may play a factor in some cases.

Specific

Timecourse

  • Trauma: acute.
  • Obesity: gradual development dependent on degree of lipid deposit in and around the lacrimal gland.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Gasser K, Fuchs-Baumgartinger A, Tichy A et al (2011) Investigations on the conjunctival goblet cells and on the characteristics of glands associated with the eye in the guinea pig. Vet Ophthal 14 (1), 26-40 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Williams D L (2012) The Guinea Pig Eye. In: Ophthalmology of Exotic Pets. Wiley-Blackwell, USA. pp 56-72.

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