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Vit C question

Blooberry

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The guidance here suggests supplementing with vit c (human) an 1/8 of a tablet. I have 1000mg tablets at home so what strength tablet does this refer to please? I am waiting for supplies to arrive. Large doses of vit c can cause Diarrhea in people? Does the same apply to guinea pigs? Can they have too much?
 

PigglePuggle

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Yes me too! No need for vit C supplements in a healthy piggy eating a good diet, and actually vit C supplementation with no medical need can impair vit C absorbtion long term I believe. If your piggy is unwell and unable to eat veggies for a while, you might consider short term vit C supplementation on the advice of a vet, in which case I would probably give a couple of mls of pro-C (probiotic with vit C) in a syringe. But usually there is no need to give vitamin C supplements at all, a healthy balanced diet with a slice of bell pepper and a few stems of coriander is sufficient!
 

Wiebke

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Hi!

Fresh grass is high in vitamin C and hay still contains an amount of it. They have just been treated like they were not having any nutritional value because they are not part of a human diet even though they are the reason why guinea pigs never had the need to make their own vitamin C in the first place. Our diet guidance has changed on this aspect. Which guide have you found this recommendation in?
The closer you keep to a natural hay and fresh grass based diet (the grass carefully introduced and dog pee free) the better because there is no need for extra vitamin C unless your piggy is ill. In this case a 2-3 weeks booster case may help to strengthen the immune system. We haven't seen a connection between vitamin C and diarrhea in guinea pigs.

Please be aware that the body adapts to constant high levels of vitamin C and can actually react with symptoms of scurvy when this level drops for some reason even if it is still above what other healthy piggies get.

Can I just say that none of our long term members has ever had a piggy with vitamin C deficiency despite not feeding any additional vitamin C - and that goes back to a fair number of piggies for over a decade or even much longer!
Keep in mind that your piggies also get vitamin C in their fresh food, in their enriched pellets, in their probiotics and in their recovery food.
 

Blooberry

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Thanks Wiebke and everyone for your input on this. We do have a poorly piggy with a respiratory problem taking antibiotics so I have bought some Pro C. Working on the basis that where there is infection a strong immune system backed up by vit c is sensible plus probiotic for the gut. Cinnamon isn’t eating his pellets (very few) and although his weight has remained stable until recently, it dropped yesterday so we are monitoring and have given some CC but he is eating his veggies ok. I will find the references I referred to in original post and add them here. I’m concerned that he is not eating as much although he has plenty of hay (which he is eating) and eating veggies but was concerned about the weight loss and absence of nutrients from the pellets especially when losing weight and taking antibiotics. I might just be panicking a bit based on my previous experience of losing a poorly piggy! We’ve had a radiograph done to rule out serious causes. The vet said there is no sign of pulmonary Edema or a heart problem. I’ve been keeping an eye on his respiration ( vets recommendation) but feel I’ve been given contradictory information. The vet said his respiration was 100 when she saw him on Monday, out of hours. She had grave concerns. She said respiration should be circa 40 per minute. Compare to your other pigs she said. The following day she said normal respiration can range between 40-105. So I’m very confused. His respiration is still 70+ but he seems a bit perkier after a week of baytril. The vet is going to ring me on Monday to review. I’m a bit stumped as we have spent a lot of money and no nearer knowing what is going on with him. Appreciate its not always easy. Cinnamon will be 4 next month.
 

Wiebke

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

At the bottom of this page and in response to some posts.
If you have pro-C, then by all means give that. It is a vitamin C enriched probiotic.

The 1/8 of a tablet is in response to somebody who cannot get hold of any piggy specific products and needs to know how much of a human tablet will do in a pinch. It is a less than ideal solution but keep in mind that we have enquiries from all corners of the world and need to find some kind of solution for members that can't just go to the next pet shop or order from amazon or ebay.
You will find advice like this in several guides as we need to give those members options that work anywhere in the world even if they are not strictly the best. It is not relevent for you as you have access to UK brands.

If your piggy is not eating as much and is on medication anyway, please switch from weighing once weekly to weighing daily at the same time in the feeding cycle like always first thing in the morning or after dinner as the difference between a full and empty bladder and belly can make up to 40g. If your piggy is losing weight, then please step in with support feeding that is appropriate to the severity of the problem (i.e. offering some extra mushed pellets for a minor issue, adding some extra syringe feed 2-3 times a day for a guinea pig that slowly losing weight or stepping in fully with round the clock syringe feeding support if they aren't eating at all or only nibbling very little. Always keep in mind that you cannot control the hay intake by eye - and that is 80% of what a piggy eats in a day. Veg and pellets account for just about a fifth of the daily food intake - basically your daily snacks.

In guinea pigs with respiratory illness, you have to be aware that the need to breathe comes before the need to drink and thirdly the need to eat. This means that if breathing is difficult, your piggy will lose their appetite. Add to that that antibiotics don'y just work on the bacteria in the respiratory tract that are causing the illness but often also impacts on the gut biome that is responsible for the digestive process and the nutrient absorption, then they are facing a bit of a double whammy until after the end of the course of antibiotics.

Please take the time to read these guides here:
Weight - Monitoring and Management
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

I hope that this helps you?
 

Blooberry

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Thanks Weibke. I understand the international context and differing access to resources. More broadly I was interested in the need to supplement when piggies are ill and how much. Like you say. It depends on the severity of the illness and extent of / loss of appetite. I will use the Pro C an hour before or after the baytril. Would that be enough? Understand that breathing would be a priority above eating and drinking. In fact we are having to syringe feed water as he is now disinclined to drink from the water bottle. If we are dealing with a respiratory infection it could take a few weeks to resolve? Do you have any thoughts on the respiration rate I mentioned in my post? Thank you for your help and advice.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks Weibke. I understand the international context and differing access to resources. More broadly I was interested in the need to supplement when piggies are ill and how much. Like you say. It depends on the severity of the illness and extent of / loss of appetite. I will use the Pro C an hour before or after the baytril. Would that be enough? Understand that breathing would be a priority above eating and drinking. In fact we are having to syringe feed water as he is now disinclined to drink from the water bottle. If we are dealing with a respiratory infection it could take a few weeks to resolve? Do you have any thoughts on the respiration rate I mentioned in my post? Thank you for your help and advise.
Sorry, you are the first to measure the respiration rate outside a vet clinic.

With respiratory infections you have to see whether the baytril can get on of it or not. If not, then a lab test from a nasal swab to see which other antibiotic (there are several) your piggy actually reacts to would be the best next step. it is not cheap, but then neither is trying all the possible antibiotics on spec. In very recent years we have seen a rise in cases of respiratory infection that do no longer respond to baytril the way they used to.

Please monitor the weight and top up your boy accordingly with recovery formula like emeraid or Critical Care. Only give him as much water as he is willing to take; over-hydrating is as bad as drinking too little. If you are feeding more watery veg or recovery mixes, then keep in mind that they may contain more water than in his normal diet.
 

Blooberry

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Thank you. Interesting what you say about respiratory infections no longer responding well to baytri. If he doesn’t want water we leave him - he’s good at saying no.
 
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