Vitamin C Deficiency in Guinea Pigs

Vitamin C deficiency is rather common in guinea pigs because they cannot manufacture vitamin C themselves. They need an outside source of the vitamin, obtained through fruits and vegetables in their diet. Here, a Lexington veterinarian discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this disorder in guineas.


A lack of vitamin C in the diet is the most common cause of vitamin C deficiency. If your pig isn’t getting enough fruits and vegetables that contain the vitamin, there’s no other way for him to get it, and he’ll develop a deficiency as soon as his body’s supply exhausts itself. In some cases, secondary illnesses or disorders can prevent your pig’s system from absorbing the vitamin, even if he is receiving enough through his diet.


A pig suffering from vitamin C deficiency may appear weak and lethargic, have difficulty moving, lose weight and stop eating, display a rough coat, or have diarrhea. Some pigs might have internal bleeding. You may also notice a small exterior wound bleeding excessively or not healing correctly. If you spot any of these symptoms in your pet, call your veterinary professional immediately. The condition can lead to death if not treated quickly!


Your Lexington veterinarian will examine your pig and treat any serious symptoms as they present themselves. The treatment for vitamin C deficiency will involve your pig receiving vitamin C supplements, either in pill form or sometimes via injection at the vet’s office. You’ll be made aware of the treatment schedule and timeline for administering the supplements. Be sure to monitor your pet closely throughout the recovery stage.

Prevent vitamin C deficiency by making sure your pig is getting enough in his diet. A good rule of thumb is at least 10 milligrams of vitamin C per day—consult your veterinarian about the amounts and types of fruits and veggies that will be sufficient.


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