A guinea pig owner has been forced to put her pet on a strict lettuce, cucumber, celery and spinach diet because it has a rare case of diabetes.
Guinea pig Maple made owner Jo Le Page, 40, suspicious right from birth by urinating almost constantly and drinking huge quantities of water.
Blood tests showed Maple had diabetes, which surprised vets due to its rarity.
Jo, who has two children – Grace, nine, and Isaac, five – feared Maple would require insulin injections, which can be traumatic for some pets.
Vets suggested they first try putting Maple on a strict diet.
So Maple ditched fruit, veg and kibble was switched to lettuce, cucumber, celery and spinach – and it worked.
Since then, Maple, now one and a half years old, has stuck to its green diet.
Jo, from Guernsey, said: “He was drinking about a quarter of its body weight every day, which is a lot for a guinea pig.
“I noticed how much the water was going down and how much he was weeing and I knew something was wrong.
“Luckily his diet worked when the vets realised he was diabetic, so we didn’t need to worry about insulin injections which we thought we might need to.
“Now he loves any greens. Mixed lettuce is his favourite.”
Jo had Maple from birth after buying its mother, Pearl, unaware it was pregnant. Maple was one of three in the litter.
From a very young age, the family noticed Maple drinking lots more than its sisters due to being in a separate cage to prevent them reproducing.
Maple, an Agouti Rex guinea pig, would also urinate very frequently due to the amount of water it was drinking – which is a sign of diabetes also seen in humans.
When taken to the vet in May, it transpired its blood sugar level was 22.6 mmol/L – well above what vets would expect to see.
Jo said: “We tried two weeks of changing his diet, no dry food, no sweet veg, no fruit, and change its meadow hay to Timothy hay.
“He could just have lettuce, cucumber, celery, sometimes parsley and spinach.”
After a fortnight of its new green-only diet, the family returned to the vet and found Maple’s blood sugar had dropped by more than two-thirds.
Jo says Maple has developed even more character now its health is better controlled.
She said: “Maple is a real character. He squeaks the loudest and practically hangs out of the cage when the door is opened.
“He likes to ‘popcorn’ – which is when a guinea pig skips in the air when they’re happy.
“They all squeak when they hear the fridge door open and when a packet rustles although he is the loudest.
“Luckily he loves greens, he gets particularly excited when he hears the fridge open!”
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