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Probiotics, Recovery Foods And Vitamin C: Overview With Product Links

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Wiebke

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These chapters have been copied from the complete hand feeding guide with the kind permission of @helen105281 to help members to source the products more quickly either in a medical emergency or for their first aid kit. All products mentioned are available internationally; they are shown in their current packaging, so members from abroad will hopefully find them more easily when googling suppliers for their own country.

Overview of recovery formula foods
(for syringe feeding and top support)


The following products can be used for hand feeding and can be obtained from your vets or online, mix according to the instructions on the packet:

- Emeraid herbivore (UK product, online from vet suppliers)
Generally very well tolerated by ill piggies off any food.

- Oxbow Critical Care for Herbivores (internationally available online or in shops)

- Oxbow Critical Care Fine Grind (easier to feed; internationally available)

- Supreme Science Recovery for Herbivores (UK brand, online)


Emergency alternative:
· Any pelleted brand of dry food, soak in warm water, leave to cool and then mash into a paste.

You will need to cut off the tip of a 1 ml syringe with scissors just before the syringe widens in order to allow the rougher fibre to pass but to hold the syringe plunger still in. Adjust the consistency of the paste so it passes through but it not too watery. Mushed up pellets mixes may need to be a little bit more watery in order to pass through the syringe because the fibre in them is rougher than in the proper recovery care products listed above.

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Wiebke

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Probiotics and vitamin C

During syringe feeding it is also a good idea to give both probiotics and vitamin C. The following products are suitable.

Overview of probiotic products

Standard probiotic powders
- Pro C
(UK brand; easily available from pets at home and other pet shops)

- Bio Lapis (available from the vets or online UK. Good general purpose brand)

- Avipro Plus
(available online in the UK. Does not contain any added calcium, a consideration for bladder stone piggies)

- Bene Bac (US brand. Available internationally online or in some pet shops)


Stronger probiotic support for guinea pigs with total loss of appetite or persistent gut issues
- Fibreplex
(UK product available online or from some vets)

- Bene Bac Plus for Rabbits (USA and internationally online or in some pet shops)


Emergency or additional treatment
- 'Poo soup' (i.e. live healthy guinea pig gut microbiome transfer)

Alternatively or additionally to any of the other probiotic prodcuts, you can give 'poo soup' - the water in which very freshly dropped poos from a healthy piggy (i.e. on ethat not on any antibiotics or lots of other meds and who has healthy poos themselves) have been soaked.
If you can keep the period between the poo being dropped by a healthy companion and you syringing the water in which the fresh poos have been soaked to 10-15 minutes then a good deal of the gut microbiome will arrive still live in the ill piggy's gut and can get to work there.
The best way of getting hold of really freshly dropped poos is to sit a healthy piggy on a towel/in a cosy or on your lap blanket in a carrier or on your lap and feed them a bit of fresh grass or veg. Eating usually triggers poo dropping, so you should see some perfect poos for soaking within a few minutes. ;)

Live healthy gut microbiome transfer mimics natural behaviour in which recovering piggies pick poos straight from the anal opening of their healthy comrades. Redigested poos would be ideal but are hard to come by; but even normal waste poos will do the trick.

If the poos are really fresh from the source, poo soup can be very effective; more so than probiotic powder! Piggies tend to make poos reflexively when eating, so giving a healthy companion their veg dinner outside the cage on a towel will provide you with a convenient supply!


Vitamin C supplements

- Daily C tablets from Oxbow are excellent (internationally available online)
http://www.hyperdrug.co.uk/Oxbow-Daily-C-tablets-pack-of-90/productinfo/DAILYC/

Emergency alternative
- Human vitamin C tablets or drops

In an emergency it is possible to give a vitamin C tablet from the supermarket at a dose of 1/4 to 1/8 of the tablet. It is however not recommended for the longer term unless there are really no other pet specific alternatives available where you live.

Please do NOT add any vitamin C supplements or medication to the water, even when recommended by a vet not familiar with guinea pigs. Piggies will drink noticeably less and the water will go green with algae very quickly.
It is always much better to syringe any tablets or drops dissolved in a little water so the piggies get all you want them to have while still fresh.

Please be aware that guinea pigs can get used to constant high levels of vitamin C and can react with acute scurvy symptoms if those high levels drop for some reason even though the vitamin C level is still above normal. It is therefore much more effective to conduct 2-3 weeks vitamin C boosters if your guinea pig is very ill or recovering from a serious illness when a booster is really helpful.

I would like to note that guinea pigs on a good general grass hay based diet with a modicum of added green veg and herbs and a slice of pepper as well as a tablespoon of vitamin C enriched pellets and access to dog-pee free fresh growing green grass (very high when in season and the reason why guinea pigs never had the need to make their own vitamin C) won't develop symptoms of scurvy because they are getting vitamin C in pretty much all their different food sources. Please also keep in mind that many probiotics and all recovery foods are actually reinforced with vitamin C; so even a piggy off their food or off any fresh food won't go without.

15 years of running this forum with literally tens of thousands of piggies passing through here in that time have shown that scurvy is not an issue for well-kept guinea pigs. In this whole time, we have been contacted very rarely over genuine scurvy issues. Most of these cases were actually caused by over-supplementation rather than the opposite. Scurvy issues have however often been (mis-)diagnosed by vets not familiar with guinea pigs as a kind of default diagnosis.
Scurvy is generally a problem for guinea pigs on an unsuitable diet (bird, hamster food or rabbit pellets that are not reinforced with vitamin C) or a veg diet consisting just of carrot and lettuce etc. If you take in guinea pigs from a bad background or from free-ads, please make sure that you check what diet they have been on, if at all possible.

Instead of spending a lot of money on food supplements, please rather review your diet and ensure that your piggies get as balanced and healthy a normal diet as possible. The closer you can keep it to the grass/hay based diet with a little added wild forage that guinea pigs have evolved on, the better. This is much more crucial for long term health and a longer life expectancy.
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
 
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