Scurvy in guinea pigs

Scurvy occurs when the guinea pigs don’t receive enough vitamin C. Guinea pigs don’t produce vitamin C on their own; they require added vitamin C in their diet either through a complete diet or with supplementation. Vitamin C is essential for your guinea pig to stay healthy. It’s used to produce collagen, a protein that forms connective tissues in the body – collagen helps give structure and strength to skin, tendons, bones and teeth; it also plays an important role in wound healing.

Symptoms of scurvy

  • Poor coat condition
  • Sore joints and lameness (usually starting in the back legs)
  • Bleeding gums and nasal discharge
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Depression

If your guinea pig begins to show signs of any of these symptoms, please seek advice from your vet.

Although guinea pigs have high levels of vitamin C compared to other mammals, their diet does not contain enough iron, so they need extra supplementation from plant sources such as grasses and hay pellets if they are being fed on an all-pellet diet.

Fruit and vegetables

While fresh fruit and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C and fibre, their levels can usually be unpredictable, and they deteriorate rapidly when exposed to air, heat or sunlight.


Vita-C Tablets easily supplement vitamin C in a guinea pig’s diet. Though you must also ensure that your pet receives all other necessary nutrients, this product will help prevent scurvy. Guinea pigs fed a complete Vetafarm Cavy Origins diet do not require Vita C Tablets as they receive sufficient vitamin C in this diet.


Most commercial grain mixes and pellets do not contain vitamin C. Cavy Origins was formulated by veterinarians for use as a completely balanced diet for pet guinea pigs when fed at a ratio of 75% High fibre hay, 20% pellets & 5% treats and fresh foods. Cavy Origins contains a stabilised form of vitamin C to ensure the vitamin is readily available.

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