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Vitamin C Deficiency in Guinea Pigs

Since guinea pigs cannot manufacture vitamin C inside their own bodies—much like us!—they need to get the nutrient from an outside source. If they don’t get the fruits and veggies they need, serious healthy symptoms can result. Learn more below from a Livonia veterinarian.

Causes

A vitamin C deficiency is almost always caused by a lack of proper fruits and vegetables in the diet. As soon as the body exhausts its built-up supply of the nutrient, a deficiency develops. Of course, other causes can sometimes be to blame: certain illnesses or disorders can prevent your pig’s body from properly absorbing vitamin C, even if he does get plenty of it in his diet. Your veterinarian can tell you more about the possible causes for malabsorption issues.

Symptoms

Difficulty moving, weakness and lethargy, weight loss, and a refusal to eat are some common symptoms of vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs. They may also display a rough coat of fur or experience diarrhea. In severe cases, internal bleeding can result, or an exterior wound won’t heal correctly and may bleed visibly. Without treatment, a guinea pig’s body won’t be able to maintain itself and the animal may die, so get your pig prompt veterinary care as soon as you see any of these symptoms.

Treatment

Your vet will examine your guinea pig, take a medical history, and determine the cause of your pig’s vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C supplements will then be given, either in pill or injection form, that your pig will need to take regularly to restore his nutrient levels to normal. Be sure you’re aware of the proper supplement schedule and dosage requirements.

Prevention

It’s easy to prevent a vitamin C deficiency in your pig by making sure he’s getting the right vegetables and fruits in his diet. Try feeding your pig dark, leafy greens, bell peppers, cauliflower, or zucchini. For fruits, offer strawberries, orange peel, and the occasional kiwi.

Your Livonia veterinarian can give you more help regarding your guinea pig’s diet, and advise you further on what you can and can’t feed your pet. Call the clinic today!

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