AJ Cavies



Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life."

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce any insulin. It is usually diagnosed in juvenile guinea pigs (under 1 year of age). This type of diabetes always requires insulin to treat.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough, or properly use insulin. It is usually diagnosed in adult guinea pigs (1 year of age or more).

Most Guinea Pigs develop Type 2, non-insulin dependent diabetes. Another oddity about diabetes in Guinea Pigs is that remissions are common. It’s suggested that as many as 1/3 of diabetic Guinea Pigs eventually regain the ability to regulate glucose without medication.

Warning symptoms of diabetes in Guinea Pigs

The most common symptoms noticed by guinea pig owners are:

•rapid formation of cataracts
•chronic wet bottom
•frequent urinary tract infections (UTI)

Other symptoms may include:

•excessive thirst
•excessive urination
•weight loss in spite of healthy appetite

Note that an individual guinea pig may only display one or two of the warning signs. If you notice any of these symptoms, have your Guinea Pig checked by a vet.

Insulin treatment
Guinea Pigs with Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes must be treated with insulin injections.

Many owners are able to successfully give their guinea pig insulin shots, and the Guinea Pig lives a normal healthy life as a result.

Oral medication

Many guinea pigs with Type 2, non-insulin dependent diabetes respond very well to oral medication. It's called Glipizide. These Guinea Pigs can also be treated with insulin.

Diet restrictions for diabetic Guinea Pigs

Diet changes made include the following:

•no treats with added sugar, though you can continue providing a small quantity of fresh fruit or unsweetened juice every day
•no high-fat foods such as seeds and corn
•increased fibre in the form of unlimited quantities of hay - you may have to reduce the amount of green food you offer your Guinea Pig to encourage them to eat more hay

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