Guinea Pig Vitamin C Deficiency

Guinea Pig Vitamin C Deficiency

Guinea Pig Vitamin C Deficiency is caused when your guinea pig is lacking adequate amounts of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) in there diet. Since guinea pigs are similar to humans where they can not produce there own Vitamin C. Certain biologic oxidation and reduction systems depend on it for proper functioning. In its Absence, bone and blood vessel abnormalities develop, and enlarged adrenal glands, bleeding in the limb joints, rib muscles and intestines result. Young animals are more likely to exhibit bone deformities than older ones.

How much Vitamin C does my Guinea Pig Need?

The average Guinea Pig needs between 10 and 30 mg/kg for good health.

Actual requirements can vary from one Guinea Pig to another. Young, Pregnant and Ill Guinea Pigs need more Vitamin C than the average pig. Some sources suggest a minimum of 5 to 10 mg/kg of Ascorbic Acid to maintain good health. Other sources put it at 10-30 mg/kg daily for Maintenance and up to 50 mg/kg for treatment of deficiency.

A pregnant Guinea Pig or one suffering from deficiency requires a minimum of 30 mg/kg . It is recommended that 30-50 mg/kg given to an Adult Guinea Pig Daily depending on Size, Diet, Conditions and Stress. Extremely High Doses of Ascorbic Acid can cause poor growth and can cause a susceptibility to Scurvy if the amount is dramatically reduced even to the dose considered adequate for a normal cavy.

  • Age, Sex, amount of stored vitamin, diet, pregnancy, lactation, concomitant disease and environmental conditions all affect the duration of onset and the magnitude of signs of Ascorbic Acid deficiency.

What are the signs of Deficiency?

  • Lethargy, Weakness, Unwillingness to move
  • Hopping instead of walking, Enlarged or Stiff Limbs.
  • Not Eating, Loss of Weight
  • Regular Teeth Breaking (Normally Affecting the Front Incisors)
  • Crumbling Claws (You will find when clipping the claws they will crumble)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Eye and Nose Discharge
  • Scurvy
  • Rough Coat
  • Tenderness to touch (may cry out in pain if restrained), Poor Flesh Condition.
  • Internal Skeletal-muscular hemorrhage
  • Vitamin C Deficiency can also be a secondary condition issue to other medical conditions Ie. If Your Guinea Pig has Malocclusion and is not eating properly thus loosing weight may not be getting adequate quantities of Ascorbic Acid.

Is it wise to increase my Guinea Pig’s Ascorbic Acid intake to an ill Guinea Pig?

Keep in mind that not all of these signs such as Eye & Nose discharge represents Ascorbic Acid Deficiency . It could be the case where your cavy is suffering from a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection). If your Guinea Pig is suffering from any of the above detailed signs a Vet should be seen as a matter of urgency.

If my Guinea Pig is suffering from Scurvy, How long will it take to get better?

Recovery from deficiency usually takes about a week of treatment.

  • Give 50 mg/kg once a day or
  • Give 25 mg/kg twice a day

How can I make sure that my Guinea Pig is getting enough Vitamin C?

Fresh pellets formulated for Guinea Pigs and fresh fruits, vegetables and grasses will be the best source of Vitamin C. Because the content of Vitamin C content degrades over time Err on the side of caution and supply generous amounts of vegetables and grasses rich in Ascorbic Acid.

Can giving Too Much Vitamin C cause any problems/complications?

Ascorbic Acid will go through the normal body processes and any Excess will be waste through normal waste mainly Urine, although this in its self will not cause any major problems if your Guinea Pig suffers from Calcium Oxalate Stones this may increase the risk of stone formation due to the body processes changing from Ascorbic Acid in to Oxalates. See here for more information.

How to store pellets: Pick a Cool, Dark, and Dry place. Some Pellets contain a stabilised Vitamin C content and will remain viable for much longer periods if stored properly. Always check the Freshness Date on the packaging.

Can I give my Guinea Pig a Vitamin C Supplement?

If you want to make sure your Guinea Pig is getting adequate Vitamin C, you can give a Vitamin C supplement.

Vitamin Supplements : Chewable Flavored Vitamin C can be found in 50mg tablets which when halved will add 25mg to a Guinea Pig ‘s intake. They are palatable for your Guinea Pig to eat however if your Guinea Pig will not take it you can crush the Tablet in to powder and mix the powder with a little water and syringe it.

This must be made immediately and administered straight away to insure the dose does not degrade

Who are the makers of this Vitamin C Tablet?

The Oxbow Company are the makers of this tablet. There web address is and the product is Called “Daily C”.

guinea pig vitamin c deficiency