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Scurvy in Guinea Pigs – Vitamin C Deficiency

Let’s face it. Guinea pigs make excellent pets. Nonetheless, these cute pets yet noisy pets are highly vulnerable to scurvy more than other pets. Scurvy is an unfortunate outcome of vitamin C deficiency. Not just for humans. But Guinea pigs too.

But scurvy can be more serious in Guinea pigs than in humans. Scurvy suppresses the collagen responsible for bone and tissue formation in Guinea pigs.

This results in joint and skin problems. Kindly read more on how to treat scurvy in Guinea pigs. Plus, you will understand where to get the best vitamin sources for your Guinea pigs.

How To Treat Scurvy In Guinea Pigs?

Yes, scurvy is a serious and possibly life-threatening condition for Guinea pigs. Fortunately, it is treatable. It is paramount to know the symptoms of scurvy in Guinea pigs before embarking on treatment.

Your pig could be having scurvy if it is hopping instead of walking. Guinea pigs suffering from scurvy also have stiff limb joints.

They also show signs of weakness, lethargy, and unwillingness to move.  Guinea pigs with scurvy also lose their appetite and lose their weight rapidly.

Guinea pigs with chronic and acute scurvy have a rough coat, eye, and nasal discharge and they are sensitive to touch. Check these insights into how to treat scurvy in Guinea pigs if you have noted any of these symptoms.

Make Use of Vitamin C Supplements

Vitamin C deficiency is ultimately the main cause of scurvy among Guinea pigs. Vitamin C supplements can make up for the requisite vitamin C that your Guinea pig needs. A professional vet will prescribe the best vitamin C supplements to your Guinea pig.

Ideally, you can orally administer the supplements for 1 to 2 weeks. The supplements usually come in the form of capsules. Just place the capsule in the pig’s mouth and make the pig swallow the tablet.

Your Guinea pig needs to consume at least 20 to 30 mg of vitamin C supplements daily. Therefore, calculate the number of supplements to feed your pig. If your Guinea pig weighs 1.3 for instance, it should consume about 26 to 40 mg of vitamin C.

Monitor Your Guinea Pig

When the vet administers oral vitamin C, it means treatment has begun in earnest. So you should look for signs of whether your pig is feeling, acting, or looking better. Signs of improvement should be noticeable within days after treatment.

Watch the pig closely after treatment. Check for sores or scabs on its skin. If treatment was effective, the sores and scabs should be minimal. Moreover, your pig should start moving with less lethargy. More importantly, it shouldn’t show any signs of pain.

Feed It With Food Rich In Vitamin C

Feeding your Guinea pig with foods rich in vitamin C is a crucial part of its treatment. Supplement its usual diet with fresh vegetables and fruits. The two have plenty of vitamin C content. Ensure your pig’s snacks contain foods with high vitamin C content.

Some of the foods to include in its snacks include kale, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables. Fresh tomatoes, broccoli, peas, and asparagus also contain plenty of vitamin C content. Continue feeding your Guinea pig with vitamin C-rich foods after it has recovered.

Focus On Treating The Symptoms Of Scurvy

At times, scurry can be a real problem for Guinea pigs. Your pig’s skin might start to bleed or scab in extreme cases. Light wash its wounds. This helps counter blood loss, which ultimately leads to its death.

Talk to your vet if you aren’t sure of how effectively to treat such flesh wounds. Remember, such wounds are difficult to treat on your own. Seek your vet’s help if the scabs haven’t begun healing on their own, but you have been consistently feeding your pig with vitamin C supplements.

Can Guinea Pigs Die from Scurvy?

Scurvy on its own might not directly lead to your pig’s death. However, its long-term effects can spell death to your pig. Scurvy can make your pig lose energy, limp a lot, develop a rough coat and lose weight.

Such symptoms can lead to its death if not effectively dealt with. Therefore, scurvy can eventually lead to the death of your Guinea pig.

How Much Vitamin C Does a Guinea Pig Need?

Guinea pigs need about 80 mg of vitamin C daily. Guinea pigs’ bodies can’t naturally synthesize vitamin C, unlike humans’ bodies. Hence, the only source of this vital vitamin for Guinea pigs is through diet.

A dose of 80 mg helps them retain healthy bones, healthy connective tissues, and blood vessels. Vitamin C further improves Guinea pigs’ collagen production process and biological systems.

Best Foods that Contain Vitamin C

Now you know how important Vitamin C is important to your Guinea pig. Consequently, you need to supplement its diet with vitamin C-rich foods.

Fortunately, there are dozens of foods you can include in its diet. Here are some best Vitamin C-rich foods to include in its diet to keep it away from developing scurvy.

  • Chili Peppers – these peppers contain approximately 100 mg of organic vitamin C. This vitamin C content is enough to protect your Guinea pig from scurvy due to vitamin C deficiency.
  • Thyme – Thyme boasts thrice the amount of vitamin C in citrus fruits such as oranges. Sprinkling a few tablespoons of this culinary herb on your pig’s meal will give it approximately 7 mg of pure vitamin C.
  • Kale – the cruciferous vegetable is also a rich source of vitamin C. Your pig will get approximately 90 mg of pure vitamin C if you feed it with kale.
  • Kiwis – Kiwis will not just prevent vitamin C deficiency in your pig. It will also provide it with plenty of nutrients to protect it against oxidative stress.
  • Broccoli – one cup of this cruciferous vegetable will give your pig approximately 50 mg of vitamin C. Broccoli will also improve its immunity and lower its possibility of getting oxidative stress.

Take Away

Millions of Guinea Pigs get scurvy each year due to vitamin C deficiency. Scurvy in Guinea pigs is potentially fatal. Fortunately, you can protect your Guinea pig from this condition by feeding it with foods that have plenty of vitamin C content.

Don’t allow scurvy to pose a threat to your pig’s life. Seek medical assistance from your vet if it already has scurvy. Alternatively, continue enriching its diet with vitamin C if it hasn’t yet developed scurvy.

Guinea Pigs - Updated: April 7, 2021
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.

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