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Other Pet Health FAQ

Question: I have heard that guinea pigs can get scurvy. Is this true and how do you prevent it?
Answer: Yes, guinea pigs do get scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the diet. Guinea Pigs are unable to manufacture their own ascorbic acid, which is needed for collagen synthesis. Therefore, a lack of dietary vitamin C results in defective collagen formation, which is necessary to maintain the structural walls of blood vessels. Other clinical signs of a vitamin C deficiency include rough hair coat, anorexia, diarrhea, teeth grinding, delayed wound healing, lameness and increased susceptibility to bacterial infections. Young growing animals are most susceptible to scurvy and clinical disease can develop in as little as two weeks.

Guinea pigs require 15 to 25mg/kg of vitamin C added to their diet and pregnant animals require 30 to 50mg/kg. In addition to adding supplements, fresh, high-quality guinea pig (not rabbit) feed provides adequate vitamin C if used within 90 days of the milling date. Fresh cabbage, kale and oranges also provide a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C can also be added to the drinking water at a concentration of 200-400mg/L water.

Question: What is the best diet to feed my rabbit?
Answer: The best diet for an adult rabbit, over seven months of age, is 80% fresh hay, 15% veggies, and 5% pellets. Timothy or Oat hay is necessary to provide the fiber that rabbits need to stay healthy. I recommend offering hay four times a day. They will usually pick through it so fresh hay should be added every six hours. Not all vegetables are good for your rabbit. They need about one cup per rabbit two to three times a day usually consisting of three different types of veggies. Great veggies include romaine lettuce, cilantro, Italian parsley, curly parsley, dandelion greens, kale and collard greens (minus the stems), carrot top and endive. Fresh herbs like dill, rosemary, and basil and/or a small piece of carrot can be offered as treats. Basic bunny pellets are made for adult rabbits but remember that rabbits will not have a healthy diet on pellets alone.

Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.