Vitamin D question: Pellet-less diet

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Lynx
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Post   » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:04 pm



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skinnypigs1
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Post   » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:06 pm


What are the thoughts on the Sherwood Pet Health guinea pig pellets?
I tried to search if this was already discussed on the forum but nothing showed up. It has been brought to my attention on so many occasions I was curious what people thought about his science behind what causes stones and his pellets that don't contain fillers like wheat, soy and all that. They do however contains both alfalfa and timothy but he has a video talking about how calcium with carbonate is the main issue. I will share the link and on the pellet page is his video about calcium.
https://store.sherwoodpethealth.com/adult-guinea-pig-food/
I have a guinea pig with chronic bloat and sludgy urine at times, so was looking into if these pellets are a healthier option potentially for her GI issues and sludge issues.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:42 pm


If you try the pellets, I would watch pee/sludge closely. I don't think he is correct that calcium carbonate is the main issue - though for guinea pigs prone to stones, it doubtlessly contributes.

lilythepig2017

Post   » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:24 pm


I’m not sure if he is right or not but I’m sure the type of calcium or levels in pellets play a roll.

Just found this randomly but this lady is talking about how they used to think keeping rabbits on low calcium diets was good to prevent sludge/ stones.

But on a low calcium diet they find that rabbits pull calcium from their bones and sludge still occurs. I’m not sure of her source material but to me this sounds applicable to guinea pigs too. I don’t think a low calcium diet is safe in the long run and could lead to bone/ joint and teeth problems down the line. It’s also not good for the ratios of calcium to phosphorous they need.

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Lynx
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Post   » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:46 am


We all wish there were more studies done on guinea pigs concerning diet and stones. Stones and calcium issues seem to be so common.

I think it is possible to cut back on calcium but still maintain the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio. Magnesium also plays a part along with vitamin D (which you are concerned with).

lilythepig2017

Post   » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:16 am


Yes magnesium and potassium are also important

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skinnypigs1
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Post   » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:10 pm


Here is what Dr. Sherwood messaged me back after I asked questions about their pellets vs what I am using and about their urinary support tab.

I earned my PhD in Molecular Biology - ie. the biology of molecules. My specialty was in sub cellular signaling and metabolism. Its a great foundation for studying anything else with biology.
I realize that I need to clarify the message of the video. Great questions. They will help me do that.


Eating carbonate (as an ingredient in the food) has very little to do with carbonate in the urine. Carbonate is actually made by the body and is used as a pH buffer in the blood. An unbalanced diet causes more of the carbonate to 'leak' into the urine where it creates sludge.


A solution (such as urine) that has excess carbonate will have a pH greater than 9 which is typical of most rabbits and guinea pigs. Balancing the diet can make the urine less alkaline (closer to neutral) ... typically between 7.5 and 8.1 depending on the species and the time of day the urine is sampled (using Sherwood foods and not feeding treats). This means that there can be 4x to 10x less carbonate (depending on many factors). Sludge (calcium carbonate) is 60% carbonate by weight (more than 60% by volume).


The urinary support tablets use a slightly different mechanism to further lower the urine pH and make it even closer to neutral which will dissolve carbonate (sludge). Using a full dose we typically see a 0.5 to 1.0 drop in urine pH after the sludge is dissolved (the presence of carbonate will buffer against a pH drop).

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skinnypigs1
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Post   » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:11 pm


Here was his answer to another person on YT where I had left a comment. Say it below my response.

We've been asked for many years to make a timothy only pellet (it would sell well but not be the healthiest choice). Your logic is sound but it isn't a simple 'putting calcium into the body and see it come out the bladder'... Of course you don't want to over feed calcium (or any mineral) but even short-term under-feeding calcium won' t greatly decrease the amount of calcium expelled in the urine because it will leach it from the bones and lead to dental disease. It's a very complex system with many factors.


Ultimately calcium isn't the problem (though it does influence the problem). Carbonate is the problem... and if you read the reply below you'll find out that you can't simply avoid feeding foods containing carbonate. Preventing carbonate from getting into the urine is partly a mineral balance issue, and it's partly a pH balance issue, and its partly a protein nutrition/balance issue... because increasing protein waste will increase sludge despite a low-calcium diet.

The best way to minimize sludge issues is to balance the entire diet so that it contains the right ratios of all the minerals, and the right ratios of the essential amino acids (protein nutrition), and to assist the body in maintaining proper pH (influenced heavily by protein nutrition and a little bit by mineral balance).

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Rome_Italy

Post   » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:21 pm


Here in Italy many vets recommend to use only a very little amount of pellets (some pieces as a treat); my vet's guinea pigs are very old (8 and 9)and were never fed with pellets in a normal amount. My piggies' diet, too, is basically pellets free. In UK a famous vet works with a sanctuary whose piggies are also fed basically pellets free. Hence it is very funny that here this diet sounds so impossible!!
If you go and sum the components reported on the labels of all the pellets, also the "best" one (which is the best one?? Oxbow made of cereals and flours?), you will get a number similar to a 50%. What is the other 50% made of? carbohydrates? sugars? Go and read the label.
My piggies are healthy, never had a medical issue so far and are fed with fresh wild grasses, hay, a little slice of bell pepper and 5-6 pieces of pellets a day (not every day), plus a little supplement of vit C (12mg a day) which maybe helps.
About the vit D, as it maybe toxic and there are researches which demonstrates its toxicity, as it is not clear the safe dose for a piggie, I prefer not to run any risk. And it seems that some vit D is present also in fresh grass.

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sef1268

Post   » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:53 pm


I have tried Sherwood pellets on a few different occasions. It smells great, but my guys won't touch it.

Some of his products are interesting. I'm trying his Joint Support formula right now for one of our older boars with what appears to be osteoarthritis. He has actually offered to pay for follow-up rads in a few months to see if there is any improvement after taking the supplement daily.

He also makes a vitamin C tablet, and a handfeeding formula that I have used before (but, again, my guys weren't too crazy about it).

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skinnypigs1
Supporter in '12

Post   » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:58 pm


I am going to order some of the support tabs to try, I think they sound great. I want to try the Urinary, Joint and Vitamin C. I know they changed the formula to add banana to taste better, I saw that commented.

My one boar has done well on the Oxbow joint support but would love to switch to the more natural ingredient one they offer.
That is really neat about the follow up x-ray! Will be cool to see if there is a difference.

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sef1268

Post   » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:53 pm


I would also mention...not sure if it's still the case, but most of the Oxbow supplements contained calcium carbonate at one point. It wasn't on the labelling, but I verified it with their customer support folks. Not sure why the supplements needed added calcium; they may have removed it after reformulating the adult pellets, but I'm not sure.

I'd say the Sherwood products are worth a try. I have their vitamin C tabs in addition to the joint support. Gabriel thinks the joint support tabs are a treat (and he's a picky eater, so that's saying something about the flavor). Sherwood also makes two very good handfeeding formulas that I feel are as good as Oxbow if not better. I haven't tried the urinary tabs.

Phantomhorse

Post   » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:56 pm


I have nothing but good things to say about Sherwood's support tablets, they have saved us many times, and my pigs are on the Vit C ones long term. However, when it comes to their food, the calcium is very high, almost twice that of KMS and Oxbow last time I checked. Two of my pigs rejected it and kicked it and even peed on it (pigs can't ever trash something enough!), but one of the ones that did eat it started acting a little off about a month later. I spend the day with him and saw grit in his pee. Instantly I went and checked the Sherwood label again and realized how high the calcium was. I was furious with myself for not catching it and instantly switched them back to Oxbow. We are currently transitioning to KMS, and the pigs love it!

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