Guinea pigs and vitamin C

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Post   » Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:22 am

I just found this doing my morning medical reading, and thought it might be of interest.

The researchers were looking at arthritis and diet in humans, and felt that pigs were the best test model since they get arthritis similar to ours and require C in their diet as we do. So if you have an arthritic piggie, you may want to make sure that you don't overdo his/her vitamin C.

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Post   » Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:13 pm

Very interesting. Finding out more about guinea pigs (even if it's only because of interest in human problems) is very good.

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:30 pm

Oops. I also posted this (from a different source) in the Cavy Chat. Let's delete that one.

Here's my thoughts and link: ... arthritis_dc

Anyone hear more about this? What is too high for a guinea pig (they just said "high doses" but didn't say the amt.)?

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Post   » Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:36 pm

Sounds like we need more info. You're right -- "high" could be anything.


Post   » Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:17 pm

I heard about this while listening to Paul Harvey this afternoon. But again, he just said, "high." What does that mean? Currently, my piggies eat their veggies, and I give each of them 25 mg every three days. Is that too much? I saw on another thread someone lost a pig, and the doctor suspected too much vitamin C caused kidney problems, but I can't remember where that was.


Post   » Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:20 pm

I heard this too, on the news this morning. Of course they gave few details.

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Post   » Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:30 pm

This is from the abstract of the article - I'll try to get the whole thing ILL to see if they give the exact dose of what they consider "high"
We investigated the effects of 8 months' exposure to low, medium, and high doses of ascorbic acid on the in vivo development of histologic knee OA in the male Hartley guinea pig. The low dose represented the minimum amount needed to prevent scurvy. The medium dose was the amount present in standard laboratory guinea pig chow and resulted in plasma levels comparable with those achieved in a person consuming 200 mg/day (5 fruits and vegetables daily). The high dose was the amount shown in a previous study of the guinea pig to slow the progression of surgically induced OA.
Edit - I should have specified that by the article I mean the study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, and that's the one I have on ILL order.

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Post   » Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:46 am

I just got the actual article in this morning.
Kraus VB, Huebner JL, Stabler T, Flahiff CM, Setton LA, Fink C, Vilim V, Clark AG.
Ascorbic acid increases the severity of spontaneous knee osteoarthritis in a guinea pig model.
Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Jun;50(6):1822-31
First off, it's a rather small sample, 15 pigs in each group. The low dose pigs got 2.5-3 mgs a day (enough to prevent scurvy). The medium dose pigs recieved 30 mgs a day, and the high dose group was given 150 mgs.

The medium dose resulted in plasma levels equivalent to a human who consumes about 200 mgs a day.

The pigs were given a small amount of chow each day with their ration of C, and then were allowed unlimited chow without C. However the pigs in the lowest dose group had a lower mean weight for much of the time than those in the other two groups. Since weight is a factor in knee arthritis, they don't know whether this was why they had the least arthritis.

The money line:
However, differences in body mass cannot account for differences in OA between the medium- and high-dose groups, for whom mean weights were similar throughout the study. Analyses restricted to these 2 groups showed significant worsening of histologic OA with increasing ascorbic acid level.
This was allowing for not just the amount of C ingested, but also for plasma levels; some pigs in the medium dose group had plasma levels higher than some pigs in the high dose group.

Of course they are interested in this from the human angle, so they don't give any recommendations for pigs. For people they suggest that we shouldn't supplement over the current recommended amounts of 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women. Though of course there is still more research to be done, to ensure that humans and pigs really do respond the same way to C.

As far as pigs are concerned, the conclusion to be drawn from this study would seem to be that as long as one's pigs are getting their C fortified chow and/or plenty of fresh vegetables, one wouldn't really need to worry about C supplements. And if the pig is arthritic, to definately try to keep both his C intake and his weight down.

So now I don't feel so bad about not being able to get mine to take any of the C supplements. All 5 pigs think all the ones I've tried are icky.

And of course try not to let them get too overweight....

I Love Lucy

Post   » Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:31 am

Hmm, that's interesting. When we x-rayed Elliot, the vet said he has mild arthritis in his back hips, but that it didn't seem like it was to the point of bothering him yet. Do you think the Oxbow C supplements he gets daily are too much?

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, Mr. Petals definitely needs C, and as of yet, I can't get him to eat the tablets or peppers or anything besides hay for that matter. (He's become quite the hay connoisseur.) And the vet doesn't want him to have pellets. The vet told me just to go the liquid route, but I mentioned it here and heard lots of negative feedback on it...

On a random note, RS, did you ever notice the way Mr. Petals walks? Did it look odd to you? It looks kind of funny to me, but I only really have Elliot to compare to...

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:49 am

He didn't walk much, but when he did it was sort of hopping, come to think of it. I thought maybe his feet were bothering him, which is why I read info on bumblefoot.

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For the love of pigs!

Post   » Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:54 am

"The vet told me just to go the liquid route, but I mentioned it here and heard lots of negative feedback on it..."

I don't think anyone would advise against supplementing with liquid vitamin C, as long as it is administered directly via syringe and not added to the drinking water. Unless there's something I'm missing here.

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Post   » Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:49 pm

Ditto that, swannie.
Liquid C by syringe is a feasible way to administer your pigs' daily dosage.
It's adding to the water bottle that is frowned upon, as proper daily dosage is not assured, as well as possible dehydration due to the change in the taste of water w/ "C" added, pigs not drinking it, etc.

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Post   » Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:50 pm

Thanks for the summary, LibraryGryffon.

I added a link to your post in the reference index thread:

By the way, I only give C when my pigs are sick and try to ensure they (she) gets lots of fresh vegs and standard pig pellets with C added.

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