Accidentally fed guinea pigs beetroot leaves!

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Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:57 am

Hi. I'm new to this site.

I fed my guinea pigs a beetroot leaf each before I thought of looking it up, and finding out they are toxic! They were young leaves from a lettuce mix about 9cm by 4cm or 3.5inch by 1.6inch big.

How bad is this and what should I do? :(



Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:01 am

I should add my pigs are smaller sized young adults.


Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:25 am

In my rush to post my question, I did not first search the forums. It seems that beetroot leaves can be an occasional treat? However, I first searched google and found many references to beets being okay, but beetroot leaves being toxic and causing heart problems. Is that only if I feed them too much or regularly? I also found a case in a vet journal where a guinea pig develops renal failure after eating an oxalate containing plant (a peace lily leaf), which scared me quite a bit. I'm all confused now.

My GPs ate half an hour ago. They're relaxing and seem fine.


Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:26 am

Where did you find info that says that beet greens are toxic? I feed beet greens to my guinea pigs and eat them myself?

Beet greens have oxalic acid in them, but so does parsley and endive and lettuce. (Parsley has more and lettuce has less.) Oxalic acid can contribute to the formation of bladder stones, so you don't want to rely on beet greens as a daily ration, but you can definitely feed guinea pigs beet greens.

edit -- please read the Guinea Lynx care guide. There's a wealth of information there: Diet and Oxalic acid amounts


Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:41 am

Hi Suisan. If you type "guinea pig beetroot leaf" (with no quotes) into, there are quite a few references to beetroot leaf being toxic. Yahoo answers says so and links to a webpage. Also this page . Oh, I just noticed Guinea Lynx's List of Vegetables comes up, and it says beetroot leaves are okay to feed. links to a case about a guinea pig getting renal failure from eating peace lily.

I eat beet greens too. I thought they meant it's toxic for guinea pigs, and bad for their hearts. Maybe if enough oxalic acid accumulates? I'll read your links now. Thanks! :)


Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:02 am

"Bad foods
Do not give any of these foods to your guinea pig under any circumstances. There are no exceptions. Giving the following foods will make your guinea pig extremely ill.

Beetroot Leaves
These are poisonous and can cause heart problems because of the high level of folic acid"

Folic acid.

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Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:50 am

I remember years ago eating some beet leaves I grew. They were fabulous! As the plant matures, it likely does develop more oxalic acid. I would not worry about having given your guinea pig a leaf.

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Remembering Nemo

Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:54 am

I feed my piggies the leaves occassionally :) Your piggie should be fine if it's a once in a while treat.


Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:20 pm

Pastabake, there's a LOT more to this website than just the forum. You really should read the Guineaa Lynx careguide which is linked to the forum by the graphic in the upper right hand corner.

If you google just about anything related to guinea pigs you are going to get a lot of conflicting information, and a lot of WRONG information. The care guide pulls together the most accurate information members can find regarding guinea pig health, and I rely on it exclusively. Yahoo answers are simply terrible and google is not great -- you can find decent stuff about guinea pigs on google, but it's easier to start here and also to search the forums than it is to go paddling through the good, the bad, and the ugly that is on google.

That being said, yes, beet greens have oxalic acid, although as Lynx said, the young leaves shouldn't have as much. Do you feed your pigs carrots? Because those are high in oxalic acid too, and I don't see very many google links warning people off of feeding carrots -- in fact, most recommend them.


Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:05 pm

I am relieved to know beet leaves are okay to feed occasionally, and that they're not in danger from just one leaf. I do in fact feed my guinea pigs lots of carrots. They're picky eaters and carrots are one of their favourites. I try to feed them leafy greens but they don't keep very long, but they do get a lot of fresh grass and edible weeds. Thanks for letting me know they are high in oxalic acid.

I often referred to Guinea Lynx in the past (though I am new to the forum) when I tried out different vegetables with them and tried to get them onto a healthy diet, but not lately as we have settled onto a routine. There is some questionable info out there, but the vet journal article about renal failure from high oxalates made me think twice about ignoring the large number of sites that said beet greens are toxic. I don't understand the chemistry between oxalic acid or oxalates. Anyway, it's best to be cautious and I've never given them much spinach or swiss chard. Perhaps it's not the oxalic acid or oxalates alone that matter, but that family of greens. I'm going to look into folic acid and heart problems when I have the time.

Thanks for all your reassurances. :)


Post   » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:38 pm

OK, but you already said that the vet article about renal failure specifically referenced Peace Lily which IS a toxic plant and is well known to be so. This is the same thing as eating rhubarb leaves, which can kill humans, let alone guinea pigs. (Rhubarb stalks are fine.) Of course the guinea pig is going to get sick eating peace lily, but that doesn't mean that parsley is going to kill a pig just because it has oxalic acid in it.

You're mixing apples and oranges here.

Have you read the Care and Medical Guide up there in the right hand corner? You can learn a lot about heart issues there if you do.

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Post   » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:38 am

I'm going to recommend folks do not feed rhubarb. I just read this link today and now know why I have a certain memory that won't go away. Years ago I had a piggy die at the Boston Pignic, seemingly unexplicably. It was devastating, of course, since everyone attends that event to have a fun day. I definitely remember someone adding a pink-stemmed veggie into the girls' pen, and I saw Kiwi eating it. I figured Swiss Chard, which I believe is OK for them, but I remember thinking, "please don't feed other people's pets." It's my fault for not being knowledgeable about rhubarb, not stopping Kiwi from eating the donation, and certainly for not noticing something was wrong with her until seconds before her last breath. But now I do believe that may be what killed her, somewhat quickly. She was OK for most of the Pignic, which brings me some comfort. But it's a horrible memory that I failed as her guardian. Please do not feed rhubarb to piggies! And RIP, sweet Kiwi... I'm so sorry.

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