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Conditions Romaine and Kidney Stones


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 12, 2012
Shelby was being given Romaine lettuce before I knew it could cause kidney stones. He's had it every other day for about a week and a half and probably only 1/4 cup or less per serving. I did notice a white spot where he urinated so I will no longer be giving it to him, however I wonder if some damage has already been done and what the first signs of kidney stones are that I should be watching for. I know pink urine is one sign, but obviously I'd want to catch this immediately. Just need some precautionary tips. Thanks!
I'd just give him an assortment of different veggies from now on. Go to the diet and nutrition charts on here to see the CA:ph ratios so you know which are the best choices. There are guinea pigs that never develop stones, regardless of their diet, while others will develop them no matter what. White powdery deposits are excess calcium being passed in the urine. If it's gritty, it's more of a concern that stones might form. Pink or red urine, hunching over while peeing and squeaking while peeing are all symptoms of stones or a UTI. Feeding a well balanced diet is the best means of prevention but not a guarantee.
Kidney stones are actually somewhat rare; bladder stones, on the other hand, are more common. And although some folks report an increased incidence of grit in urine when feeding romaine, there is no definitive proof, to my knowledge, that there is a correlation between romaine lettuce and stones or sludge. Romaine actually has the same calcium content as red leaf lettuce, and lower than green leaf.

Long story short, I don't think you need to worry about permanent damage caused by romaine lettuce. What other veggies are you feeding?
i give my piggies romain lettuce once a day along with other veggies..should i stop? i dont want to hurt them D: i read in other posts that romain was good for them.
Right now the only other veggies I can get him to eat are baby tomatoes and celery. He loves fruit but I try not to feed that more than a couple times a week. And he eats hay as though he were a horse. He also loves parsley but I'm reading that I need to keep that low as well. Trying to stay away from brocolli because of constipation... What about cilantro? I'm getting a lil frustrated because items on the chart that say they are safe for almost daily consumption I'm finding can cause problems. I just want to do what is best for my pig but I can't keep buying foods just to find out they cause problems and wasting the money.
After doing much research, I feed my pigs Red and/or Greenleaf lettuce, Green Bell Pepper and Cilantro. Every other day I add small amouts of green bean, carrot, tomatoe, cucumber, little bit of parsley and other herbs such as mint, etc.
A week and a half of romaine isn't going to hurt your pig.

Paula is right that there's no definite proof that romaine causes stones or sludge. There's also no definitive proof that it doesn't. There have been several discussions over at Guinea Lynx about this, and there are quite a number of us who have pigs with powdery or sludgy urine when they're fed romaine, and not when they aren't.

I've said in other places, but will repeat here, that for several months, I've been reading all the medical accounts of stone pigs that I can find. Out of several dozen pigs, only one has had a stone without having had gritty or powdery urine. That one was a rescue, and the rescuer had no knowledge of what had been fed prior to the adoption.

Just to be clear, romaine does not cause problems for all pigs. Some eat it for years with no urine residue at all. No one knows what the problem with romaine is, as its calcium content is about the same as other lettuces. It may be that the romaine has something that causes the calcium excretion, it may be that the others have something that prevents it.

It may even be that the calcium excretion from romaine is a good thing, preventing stones from forming. But I think that's highly unlikely.

Given that urinary tract stones are so painful to the pigs, I just can't see why anyone would feed them something that might increase the risk of their developing those stones, especially when there are easily available alternatives that cost the same or even less.

Kourt, broccoli is far more likely to cause gas than constipation. And romaine is the only thing on the GPC list that I know of that may cause problems to some pigs.
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