Diabetic guinea pig avoids insulin injections with all-greens diet

Maple’s condition has improved after being put on the all green diet (Picture: SWNS)

A guinea pig diagnosed with type two diabetes has seen his condition improve after being forced onto an all greens diet.

Maple was strictly put onto lettuce, cucumber, celery and spinach after the rare diagnosis.

Fruit, veg and kibble had to be ditched by owner Jo Le Page, 40, who says her pet now ‘loves any greens’ – particularly mixed lettuce.

Guernsey mum Jo became suspicious about the animal’s health from birth because of his excessive drinking.

Maple, who was nearly draining his water bottle most days and weeing constantly, then had a blood test which confirmed he had diabetes.

Vets were surprised because the condition is rare in guinea pigs.

Jo, who also looks has kids Grace, nine, and Isaac, five, feared Maple, now one and a half, would require insulin injections – which can prove traumatic for some pets.

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So instead, experts suggested first trying Maple on a strict diet – and the plan worked.

Jo explained: ‘He was drinking about a quarter of his 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 Le Page switched Maple’s diet of fruit, veg and kibble to lettuce, cucumber, celery and spinach (Picture: SWNS)
Grace, nine, with Maple (Picture: SWNS)
Maple was drinking significantly more than his sisters (Picture: SWNS)

Jo has had Maple from birth after unwittingly buying his mother, Pearl, while she was pregnant,

Maple, who was one of three in that litter, drank significantly more than his sisters.

The Agouti Rex guinea pig was weeing constantly due to the amount of water he was drinking – which is a sign of diabetes in humans and animals.

In May, vets found his blood sugar level was 22.6 mmol/L – way above what vets would expect to see.

So they instructed Jo to put him on a ‘piggie diet’ to help reduce his blood sugar.

Now he ‘loves’ his greens, with mixed lettuce being his favourite (Picture: SWNS)
Maple’s diet was changed for a fortnight (Picture: SWNS)

Jo explained: ‘We tried two weeks of changing his diet, no dry food, no sweet veg, no fruit, and change his meadow hay to Timothy hay.

‘He could just have lettuce, cucumber, celery, sometimes parsley and spinach.’

After a fortnight, the pair returned to the vets and found Maple’s blood sugar had dropped by more than two thirds – and was now at just 7 mmol/L.

It means his family won’t have to worry about insulin injections and they are delighted as it means Maple can express himself now his condition is under control.


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‘Maple is a real character’, Jo explained.

‘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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