Friday, December 14, 2012

Vitamin C for guinea pig: How much is enough?

This post might get handy when you are lost when shopping for your piggies' veggies...

I had been doing research from some website about Vitamin C requirement in guinea pig and how to make sure that we give and meet enough daily requirement of Vitamin C in our piggies. I read from a veterinary website  that adult guinea pig needs 20-25 mg of vitamin C per day and up to 30-40 mg for pregnant guinea pig while other recommends 10-15 mg per day under normal condition guinea pig which suggest the guinea pig is healthy and not pregnant or weaning pups; 15-25 mg for pregnant, lactating and growing piggies.

Now, I know that different website would suggest different number of vitamin C requirement but it would not deviate further from 10-40mg per day and you should also choose reliable website for vitamin c content in vegetables and fruits. My rule of thumb for vitamin C is to prepare their fresh vegetables and fruits to meet 30mg vitamin C per day for normal guinea pig and pregnant, lactating or growing guinea pig is 40 mg/day. 

Pic 1: Vegetables and fruits

I made WHFoods as my reference to calculate approximate amount of vegetables to give my piggies to meet their daily vitamin C requirement. The website state one cup of raw bell peppers contains 117.48 mg of  vitamin C. One cup measurement is approximately 240g (or ml). I tried the 1 cup measurement, it is approximately half of big capsicum. One cup of capsicum can meet about 4 guinea pigs daily vitamin C requirement. So, you might want to make capsicum as your compulsory vegetable. Of course, 1/4 cup of capsicum would not make a piggy full so, add other vegetable that can add vitamin C such as carrot, cabbage, cucumber, and many more you can choose from the table. The table will help you to determine the vegetable proportion to feed your piggies. I suggest that you feed your piggies with 3 different types of veggies/fruits so they will not get bored with their food.

Let me share with you how my shopping for piggies' veggies gets easier... I made a table that consist of the vegetables most available in my store and group the vegetables in 'compulsory', 'supporting', 'additional' group. The compulsory group will contribute about 80% of the vitamin C; the supporting group contribute about 15 % of the vitamin C and additional group contribute about 5% of the vitamin C. Regardless the small amount of vitamin C in the additional group, the group is actually important to satisfy the hunger of the piggies and balance the meal.

Pic 2: Example of vitamin C vegetable

The compulsory group will provide most of the vitamin C requirement in a piggies meal. 

Take an example a kiwifruit, tomatoes and carrot measurement for 4 piggies.

1 1/2 kiwifruit     = 108g
1 cup tomatoes   = 32.4g
1 cup carrot        = 7.20g 

total vitamin C     = 147.6g
vitamin C/cavy    = 36.9g

The calculation above shows that if you distribute the veggies to four piggies, each piggy will receive approximately 36.9g vitamin C from fresh veggies or fruits. So, from this method you can can get a rough idea how much vitamin C do you provide your piggies and does it meet with the standard. Don't worry if you can't get it right for the first time, you will get better at it when you do it often and you might not needing calculator and the tables anymore to do the veggies propotion.

Good luck and please feel free to drop a comment :)

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