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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Pet
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Experience:  2003 Graduate
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I have two female Guinea pigs, age 2 and 3. The 3year old

Customer Question

I have two female Guinea pigs, age 2 and 3. The 3year old suddenly died, noted to be lethargic one night, and died by morning. That was 3 weeks ago. Yesterday the other gp was noted to have been eating and drinking less, less active, intermittently lethargic. Crusting around both eyes.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 2 months ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. I am a Veterinary Nurse with over 15 years experience and I have assisted in the care of many pets with this particular medical concern. It would be my pleasure to assist you today. Is it possible for me to obtain some additional information from you about your companion?

1) Please tell me about the habitat including setup and info on bedding.
2) Please include information about diet including all fruits and veggies given, any commercial food, any hay or grasses given and oral supplements.
3) Was your 3 year old vet checked before she passed?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
In a large/XL pet cage, fluffy cotton like paper bedding, sunburst GP food, kaytree hay.. No changes in any of that. We have been away for 8 weeks, person taking care of them did forget to add Vit C drops to water, and they had no daily veggies (used to get red peppers 3 d/ week)
This am she is more lethargic, stool is not the same.. No longer consistent plump pellets, but is long and thin, string like. I added vitc supplements for GPs to her food and fresh red and orange peppers.. But she isn't very interested in food. Could this be vit C deficiency? No skin or hair changes noted.. No sneezing or coughing.
If it is Vit c deficiency, what can I do if she isn't eating/ drinking much? I am planning to bring her to the vet tomorrow, as no one is available today.. Is there a vitc injectable?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ps. The liquid Vit c supplement isn't available where I am now, would have to order online.. Won't get until Thursday ..
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 2 months ago.

I am very concerned that this could be a vitamin C deficiency. Unfortunately, the drops that go in the water aren't much help when it comes to preventing this either. There is a great deal of misinformation out there that they work and there's an overwhelming amount of evidence that they simply don't.

Guinea pigs need and absolutely must have fresh vegetables and fruits that are high in vitamin C present in their diet. Along with this, they need an oral vitamin C supplement that they eat directly. For those, GP's that are already potentially feeling the effects of a vitamin C deficiency, it's recommended that they have up to 50mg of vitamin C each day. There's more information available here:

You will want to start dosing this as quickly as you can. Personally, I would take the death of the original guinea pig to be foretelling and I would get Fergie to a facility that sees guinea pigs as quickly as possible. They will likely want to start an oral supplement just the same but can offer better stability in a hospital setting if she's going to go downhill like the original GP.

If you need help finding a facility that is close to you and sees exotics, please let me know. Reply back with your city, state and zip code.

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