Pet Diabetes: Gorgeous’ Story

Gorgeous, is a 2 year old female guinea pig who came to City Vet with a history of drinking a lot of water for the previous 2 weeks and had just developed what looked like a cataract in her left eye. She weighed 1.16kg which is average for an adult guinea pig. Other than that she was in good form and eating well. Her diet consisted of lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, peppers, fruit (until a few days previous), hay ad lib and guinea pig mix. Her owner wondered if she might have diabetes, and had reduced her fruit intake for the previous few days, just in case.

Note the cataract in her eye in this photo.

Collecting a urine sample from a guinea pig can be challenging so instead we clipped Gorgeous’ toe nail a bit short to get a drop of blood for the Glucometer. Gorgeous’ blood glucose was 21.8mmol/litre which is very high. Fortunately, a lot of guinea pigs will respond to reducing the sugar in their diet, so we told her owner to halve her guinea pig mix intake and ONLY feed her green vegetables (no fruit or red peppers).

Two weeks later Gorgeous returned and her blood glucose had dropped to 18.1 mmol/litre and she wasn’t drinking as much. We advised reducing her cereal intake by another 50% and when she returned 10 days later her blood glucose was 8.2mmol/l.

Gorgeous’ owner was very committed and was able to continue to check her blood glucose weekly at home so we advised a re-check in a month. On her return, her owner reported that the blood glucose had remained between 6 and 7 mmol/l so we were happy to consider her stabilised.

Some diabetic guinea pigs need insulin to help regulate their blood glucose but thankfully Gorgeous was managed by modification of her diet.

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