Almost everyone knows that guinea pigs need vitamin C, but no one knows why … Everyone knows that oranges contain vitamin C, but almost no one squeezes your guinea pig orange juice every morning … So why and how to supplement a guinea pig with vitamin C? Some information about this important practice for your Nac health.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid plays an essential role in organisms; it is especially involved in protecting against infections and vascular strength. Unlike other mammals, our piglets do not synthesize it. For them, vitamin C should only be obtained with food. Oh yeah kiwi fruit and parsley will be your ally to avoid flaws and ensure the longevity of your pet.
Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs
Like humans, guinea pigs do not synthesize either vitamin C or ascorbic acid. However, this molecule is essential for many vital functions.
In fact, vitamin C is involved in the formation of collagen, a type of fiber that supports the soft tissues of the body. It interferes with defense against infections and the uptake of iron. It helps fight stress and has antioxidant and detoxifying powers.
For people, a severe deficiency of vitamin C causes the famous scurvy, which is plagued by sailors going to sea for many months. In the 18th century, a link was found between the consumption of citrus fruits and resistance to the disease. Scurvy causes bleeding gums and tooth loss, bleeding, fatigue and, in severe cases, coma.
In guinea pigs, the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency are similar to those of scurvy:
- Loss of appetite
- Severe walking, pain, paralysis
- Bleeding gums
- Fallen teeth
- Hematomas (bruises), often barely visible on the hair
- Pododermatitis (inflamed fingers)
To avoid this, the guinea pig will need to be given the right dose of vitamin C as soon as it arrives at home.
Proper intake of vitamin C in guinea pigs
Most complete foods are supplemented with vitamin C. Unfortunately, this will not be enough for your guinea pig to get enough vitamin C because this vitamin is fragile! It is destroyed by contact with water as well as air and light. A bag croquettes open, so there is a high risk that the level of ascorbic acid in it will fall sharply.
Vitamin C is available on many deliveries to veterinarians or pet stores. Tablets, drops … There is something for everyone. Preparations that need to be put in a bottle are not recommended because ascorbic acid decomposes rapidly in water and light.
The daily dose for an adult pig is 20 mg. It can increase threefold in case of pregnancy, breastfeeding or illness. The dose (number of tablets or milliliters used) is indicated on the medicine.
What about babies? If your pig is growing, give it 60 mg per kilogram of body weight. For example, if your pet weighs 200 g (0.2 kg), it will receive 60×0.2 = 12 mg of vitamin C.
If vitamin C supplementation is necessary, care should be taken not to exceed the recommended doses. In fact, an excess of vitamin C can cause guinea pigs to form calcium oxalate urinary stones, a painful condition that requires surgery.
But food must not be forgotten either. Some fresh fruits and vegetables favored by guinea pigs are rich in vitamin C.
The following is a list of foods high in vitamin C for pigs:
- Yellow pepper
- Orange or clementine slices
- Cabbage (small quantities)
How to make our little friends happy! If your guinea pig is not accustomed to this diet, eat food gradually and in small amounts to avoid diarrhea. Also remember that hay remains its main food.
Therefore, you can easily combine the daily dose as a tablet or liquid and rich food! Guinea pigs fruits and vegetables are good for your health!
Dr. Isabelle Vixege