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Urine White Compounds-Help!

Squint96

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
534
I found this white compound thing in Squint's cage. It managed to land on a paper plate from their vegetables, so I have a good view of it. It is raised. Here's a picture. Should I be concerned; please help!! (The brown stuff is a pee stain...right?)
White Compounds-Help!
 
I can't really tell from that picture what it is, but it's probably powdery dried urine. And guinea pig pee stains aren't usually that dark.

Are your pigs eating romaine lettuce? If so, switch them to red or green leaf lettuce.

Are you feeding Oxbow pellets? If so, switch them to Kleenmama if you're in the US, or to the lowest calcium pellet you can find if you're not.
 
I can't really make out things in your pic very well, but it's most likely just calcium/magnesium salts. Guinea pigs excrete extra calcium carbonate in their urine. It's very common, but if there is an excessive amount (if the urine is thick and pasty) you may consider giving them soft water and limiting veggies that are high in calcium.
 
The plate is from last night so their pee usually is darker after a day- I give them red and green lettuce everyday and recently some romaine, so I'll cut it out. They have sweet meadow farm pellets and hay. What is soft water? We just drink tap water, so that's what the pigs get. I'll post a better picture tomorrow.
 
Tap water is fine...but if your tap water is extremely hard - that is, if it has a lot of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts in it - then you could buy a 4 gallon jug of spring water or something. Honestly though your tap water is fine - I give my pigs tap water and it's relatively hard. It should be fine to feed red and green lettuce as well as romaine every day. You just want to avoid large amounts of veggies that are crazy high in calcium (parsley, spinach, etc)
 
TCTrun, stone formation in guinea pigs is poorly understood. But there is considerable evidence that calcium in the water does affect it, and therefore giving hard water to pigs is not recommended.

For pigs who have powdery or sludgy urine, it is also not fine to feed romaine lettuce if that is the cause of the powder or sludge. Some pigs eat romaine all their lives without problems, other pigs cannot.

Your incorrect advice may result in someone having pigs with urinary tract stones, causing pain and suffering for the pigs and expensive vet bills for the owner. Please do not post advice that runs contrary to generally accepted practice unless you specify that it is your opinion only, and that it does not agree with other peoples' experience with their pigs.

Squint96, you do need to worry about the calcium in your water. Cavy experts in England routinely recommend that pig owners in the south of the country (where the water is very hard) filter their water. You can get an idea of whether water is soft or hard by how much soap suds it creates. Put some warm water in the sink, add a little dish detergent, and swish your hand around in it. If it makes lots of suds which last for a while, you've got soft water. If it doesn't suds much, it's probably hard. Another way to tell is by how hard it is to rinse shampoo out of your hair -- if it comes out easily, the water is hard. If you have to rinse forever, it's soft.

If yours is hard, a Brita filter on your tap, or a Brita pitcher will do the job just fine. Or, if you have a newer refrigerator, there may be a filter on the water line. Just be sure to change the filters on the recommended schedule.
 
Yes, agreed on the water issue. You can also call your water company (sometimes this is combined with your power company like DWP or whatever) and find out what your city has. That's how we found out. Now we have a drinking faucet that is filtered and all our animals only get that water. Hard water isn't even good for humans to drink so I wouldn't give it to my pets. Otherwise you can always play it safe by getting a Pur or Brita filter, or purchasing bottled water.
 
For pigs who have powdery or sludgy urine, it is also not fine to feed romaine lettuce if that is the cause of the powder or sludge. Your incorrect advice may result in someone having pigs with urinary tract stones, causing pain and suffering for the pigs and expensive vet bills for the owner. Please do not post advice that runs contrary to generally accepted practice unless you specify that it is your opinion only, and that it does not agree with other peoples' experience with their pigs.

Thanks for the heads up. I apologize to both Squint96 and bpatters. I should have definitely prefaced most of what I said in that post with "In my personal, not-so-educated opinion." I really need to read over my posts before posting them! Anyway, thanks bpatters for catching my blunder. My piggies do just fine with daily romaine, but I really do have no idea about romaine in general. I'm going to do some research on hard water. Perhaps I should switch them to water with lower mineral content...
 
I know close to nothing about guinea pig physiology, but where I live in San Diego, our tap water can have as much as 325 milligrams of calcium salts per liter! That's insanely high! Just to be on the safe side, I am going to switch immediately to either filtered or bottled water!
 
We get gallons of water for my brothers fish- will distiller water be soft?
 
Distilled water is, by definition, soft. When water is distilled, all the dissolved salts are left behind. As long as it is drinking quality water...
 
Distilled water is no good for drinking, and is not recommended for pigs. You want water to have some minerals and ions in it, and distilled doesn't.
 
Perhaps spring water would be better? It's the same price as distilled water at the store.
 
Spring water is fine. Several expose' articles have found that much of is just some city's tap water, bottled as spring water. And then there's the damage to the environment in bottling, transporting, and disposing of the bottles after they're used. I just filter the water that comes out of the tap.
 
Do you use a pitcher filter or a filter over the tap itself. I want to buy one but I'm not sure which would be better/more useful.
 
Just a generalized comment on distilled water -

The argument against it is that all of the nutrients have been zapped out of it. With tropical fish, distilled water is (or was, when I was researching) a big no-no. Fish and aquatic plants need the trace elements found in water, and distilled water is 'too pure.'

With humans and animals, though, water is a *very minor* source of nutrients. Unless a person or animal is on a VERY poor diet, the majority of nutrients come from foods. I think this is particularly true with guinea pigs, because the pellets we feed are fortified with pretty much all the vitamins and minerals needed and the veggies we feed adds significantly to that.

There is really no evidence that I've ever found, that drinking distilled water is harmful. However, with that said, I don't see any real advantage to it, either. If a person has hard water, or a lot of chemicals and crap in their tap water, it makes better sense to me to buy a filter. They are generally cheaper, easier to use, and can remove most of the contaminates and enough calcium (depending on the filter) to improve the water quality without stripping everything out of it.

I personally use a Brita filter that fits on the tap and have been quite pleased with it.
 
Another way to test you water for free is to take a sample to Petco or Petsmart and say you are starting a fish tank and want to see if the water is hard. ;D
Works everytime.
 
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