Ensure for guinea pigs?


Post   » Mon Apr 26, 2004 10:06 am

I am fairly familiar with both brands (Naked Juice & Ensure). I don't know where I stand on using them in conjunction with Critical Care, but if it was a person I was dealing with I'd choose the Naked Juice brand hands down over Ensure. For whatever its worth in this conversation.

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Red Blur
Chocolate Giver

Post   » Mon Apr 26, 2004 12:16 pm

I'm not sure why you're looking at these alternatives when Critical Care would do a good job.

I think Chary is talking about pigs who are so ill that they are still losing weight even though they are being handfed Critical Care.

the Critical Care wasn't doing the trick.
some people I think might be willing to try the unorthodox when they have a dying pig on their hands.


Post   » Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:27 pm

Lynx, please go back to my original post:

They told me that their regular hand feeding regimen included adding Ensure to the Critical Care for extra calories if an anorexic pig is unable to put on weight because of recovery from illness.

I checked this idea out with my vet and he liked the idea as well. Wither is actually getting 1/2 pellet mash and 1/2 Critical Care to stave off bloat, flavored with a bit of fruit baby food and some Ensure.

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Me, too!

Post   » Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:54 pm

I wonder if a more elemental (broken down) formula would be a better alternative? Adult nutritionals (human) come in elemental form, but I'd have to look them up to know their names, as it's been 10 years since I did any adult care. Ross's (the makers of Ensure) product used to be called Vital, Mead Johnson's (Boost) had one, too.

I would be worried about iron levels, too. And fat. All those formulas are fairly high in fat and simple carb content. I would be worried about GI problems.

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GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:02 pm

If they made even just a higher-protein form of CC it would be useful, particularly for Einstein. More than half the mass of CC is unaccounted for in the nutrition information.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:33 am

I don't think the soy is a good idea. It's a bad idea for dogs and cats, too.

If you really want to feed that junk food (the Ensure), you would be better off concocting your own from sugar, corn syrup, and various oils. Probably less chance of overdosing on something and you avoid unnecessary additives. I still am not convinced feeding high sugars is good for any animal. Sure, it might put weight on them, but not the healthy way. Oils are a better way, certainly. I don't think there is a consensus on a high calorie herbivore supplement. There isn't one commercially available. Feed more Critical Care. That's what all the exotics people around here feed. The typical herbivore diet is lower in calorie-dense materials.

I wish I had a good answer, but I think adding the Ensure is akin to feeding baby food. It's too full of extra stuff and not made for them to process properly.


Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:48 am

I hear what you're saying. You know I respect your opinion Josephine, and I'm weighing against the advice of 3 well respected exotics veterinarians. Certainly it's not ideal as an additive and no one wants Joe Schmoe adding Ensure because they are too lazy to hand feed appropriately.

"Feed more Critical Care" isn't appropriate advice, however, for someone who has been hand feeding a sick pig every 4 hours for the past 6 weeks. Perhaps sometimes Critical Care isn't enough.

I wonder if someone would care to theorize a homemade recipe for adding calories to a hand-fed diet?

Get on your bike.

Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:55 am

What about organic flax seed oil? Good for the coat, too.


Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:59 am

Hmmm. We use that to mix with Program. I wonder if the high fat content would be detrimental.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:01 am

It would have to have some fat to put weight on and Josephine said oils are a better way to do that than sugar.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:28 pm

That's what I would recommend (the flax oil). If you're worried about fat content, the Ensure is up there, too.

I understand your frustration. Have you tried grains, such as oats also? Oatmeal is a decent additive as well as barley and other higher quality grains. I have on occasion ground up a prepared 5-grain cereal to add to the critical care. I think the one I use has flax seed, oats, wheat (which I would rather omit, though), rye, barley, and triticale. I grind it in the blender to almost powder for adding to critical care. If the pig is eating, it is best to let them eat it whole (the way it comes, rolled is fine, precooked/instant is not). I prefer to feed more of a variety rather than one thing in particular. The likelihood of overdosing would be less that way, but dosing is empiracal in any case. Care must be taken with any high calorie supplement since diarrhea, gastritis, or GI problems can all result. Perhaps someone should bug Oxbow to get something on the market for a high calorie supplement for herbivores?


Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:27 pm

I like that recipe, Josephine. I do use oats sometimes when a pig has diarrhea because it seems to bulk up the stool a bit. Do you think using the combination you mentioned would be ok for a pig who is already having trouble pooping?

Also, there are some baby foods which have oatmeal and no preservatives -- peaches and oatmeal, I think, and bananas and oatmeal. What about those as additives?

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GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:18 pm

What would be your preferred proportion of dried CC to ground up grains? What kinds of oils would be suitable, and how much? I would really like to bulk up Einstein, as he didn't regain any weight in the past month or so because of his mouth ulcer.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:33 pm

I'd say less than 5-10% of the total diet should be additives.

As long as they don't have extra sweeteners and other junk in them, I suppose those baby foods would be fine. There are different kinds of fiber, but in essence most fiber is good fiber. I don't see why grains would be contraindicated if the pig was having trouble defecating. Perhaps adding the extra fruit or canned pumpkin would help move things through? Usually the fiber from grains also helps motility. I'm not sure of the degrees of stool softening, though. Fiber is not only good for cases of diarrhea, but for GI tract slowing. It is dual purpose which sometimes seems contradictory since it does have opposing functions.

Flax oil is being sung as the heal-all right now. It's ratio of Omega 3s and 6s is supposedly the best for overall wellness, skin and coat health, and animals with pain (inhibits prostaglandin release).

...what, what, what?

Post   » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:49 pm

I would like to point out that, anymore, if you buy babyfood that says 'carrots' or 'peaches' or 'apple' that generally, that is all it contains. Sometimes a little added water, and the fruits seem to come with added vit. C (good in our case).

Baby food companies got lambasted a number of years ago for selling things that weren't straight.


Post   » Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:08 am

Normally I use Apples & Blueberries baby food because I assume that at least has some Vitamin C rather than just being 'empty' like carrots.


Post   » Sun May 09, 2004 4:21 am

I wonder if I could get some opinions on the Missing Link vegetarian formula?

Here are the ingredients:


18% protein
28% fat
10% fiber
10% moisture

The vegetarian formula is at the bottom here: http://www.designinghealth.com/products/canine_products_main.html

But I can't find a complete nutritional analysis.

Would this be a good additive for critical care? Or not?


Post   » Sun May 09, 2004 4:26 am

And while we're at it, who has heard of Green Mush?


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Post   » Sun May 09, 2004 9:03 am

I haven't heard of Green Mush, but one of the ingredients is horsetail (shavegrass) which is poisonous to horses.

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Post   » Sun May 09, 2004 11:43 am

I take it you are thinking in terms of a supplement for a severely ill pig, losing weight. Of course it's high in fat which would throw it out as a general recommended food. Probably better than Ensure though I would avoid using it also. Find out how many carbs are provided by the sweetener (simple sugars).

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