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Thread: Poisonous Onions

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    Cavy Slave xoMadi's Avatar
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    Poisonous Onions

    A few days ago, my father fed our guinea pigs onions, not knowing they were poisonous. It wasn't a huge amount and most of them only gave the onion a little nibble. However, my guinea pig, January seemed to eat the most of it. She's still acting normal and doesn't appear to be ill. Maybe I'm imagining it but it seems like she lost a little weight?

    How dire of a situation is this? I've been worried sick.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    How many days ago? If more than two or three and the guinea pigs seem ok, I wouldn't be too worried. But I would weigh them daily, maybe twice a day, to make sure they're not losing weight, and I'd watch their pee and poop output carefully to make sure it's normal. And if I saw anything the least bit worrying, I'd take them to an exotics vet.

    If they didn't eat much, they're probably ok. But as you know, and your father now knows, they shouldn't have anything in the onion/garlic/leek family.

    Hope your pigs are ok.

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    Cavy Slave xoMadi's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    Thank you, bpatters. It was several days ago. They seem to be normal. I was just concerned about my sow, January. I guess maybe I got used to her being so huge from pregnancy that her being lean now is something new to me.

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    Cavy Slave KiwiCavyAdorer's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    Hi there, having read the posts above I was wondering if anyone knew what onions did as a poison to Guinea pigs?

    Is it normal that they will lose weight because of onion poisoning. Poisons are usually quite specific in their area's of damage.

    Something I think I want to look up now, just incase I get in the position of someone asking why they are poisonous and what they do. I saw them on the "what not to feed lists" and wondered then also.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    If Ly sees this, maybe she'll have some insight. I looked it up also, and found a ton of the usual "onions are no good for guinea pigs" without any supporting information. But I also found a few better written links that said that GP's shouldn't have anything in the allium family, which includes onions, garlic, etc.

    But if you search on rodents and allium, you'll get a lot of hits talking about planting things in the allium family to control rodents in the garden, because they don't like them. So maybe that's why xoMadi's pigs didn't eat enough to hurt them.

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    Administrator CavySpirit's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    Ly is on vacation right now. I think she's back next week some time.

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    Cavy Slave KiwiCavyAdorer's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    if you search on rodents and allium, you'll get a lot of hits talking about planting things in the allium family to control rodents in the garden, because they don't like them. So maybe that's why xoMadi's pigs didn't eat enough to hurt them.
    BPatters Thanks very much for that post. I had not come across that nugget of information, I bet your right about the pigs too.

    Cavy Spirit thanks!

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    Cavy Slave Onetwo's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    Well onion poisoning in cats (from personal experience because of a terrible accident) and dogs (possibly guinea pigs too, maybe?) goes into the lining of the GI tract, just like other nutrients, but from there is causes substancial red blood damage. It breaks apart the red blood cells, those are the cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. So severe anemia can set in and symptoms usualyl occur within the first 24 hours but can linger for days afterwards. Many symptoms include decreased appititte, reluctance to move around, weak, depressed, stomach pain, diareah, shortness of breath, rapid heart beat etc...

    Usually if caught early enough fluids and oxygen are fairly helpful until the redblood cells can bounce back. Otherwise your pet will have to have a blood transfusion. Its fairly easy to tell on a blood slide if its this kind poisoning but not everyone knows what their pet ate.

    If your guinea pig is acting at all like this I would get it to a vet. IF you or an animal loses approximately half your red blood cells (which is very dangerious) then it will take t least a YEAR for your body to fully recover. I'm sure that your GP didn't get that much damage or else you would know for sure.

    Definately keep an eye on her. Give her a few more more iron rich foods, weigh her 1-2 times a day and maybe type/write out a list of all the dangerious foods for anyone caring for your piggies when you arn't there...

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Ly&Pigs's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    Some onions are toxic while others are ok. Basically the ok ones are the green portions (or tops) of green onions, chives and leeks. I fed those to my pigs for years with no ill effects. What you want to stay away from totally are regular onions and the bulb portions of the ones I mentioned.

  10. "Thank you, Ly&Pigs, for this useful post," says:


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    Cavy Slave KiwiCavyAdorer's Avatar
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    Re: Poisonous Onions

    OneTwo, thanks for that description, it is a similar situation with some horses being fed garlic all the time, anemia sets in and becomes pernicious.

    Thank you Ly&Pigs - that's a very useful thing to know!
    -With no quality pellets to be had, to date, in New Zealand, I'm looking to vary the nutrients in Maximus von Lichtenwalder's diet as far and widely as I possibly can with things that are growing in season. I read in a medical herbal that onions are a very high source of sulphur. It's good to read that you have safe experience with the green tops.

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