View Full Version : Salt wheels and calcium levels.......

02-05-2005, 02:18 PM
As most of you have probably heard me mention before Charlie bun has calcium problems, we have learned to be very careful with his diet, keep an eye on his wee and fluid levels, give him metacam if necessary......and mostly he's fine.

Anyhow, I just reread a thread about calcium and realised something that I'd completely missed when I originally read the post- salt wheels. Now obviously salt is calcium carbonate, Charlie loves his salt wheels (the white ones). :shock: I know this should have been obvious to address 2 years ago but I never even thought about it, and the vet never mentioned it either. This could be one of those cases where I've done something v bad for my bunny without even realising it.

Now, I'm trying to work it out, does this affect him or does it not becasue its already calcium carbonate rather than the free radical calcium ions that would be in high calcium veg etc. If that makes sense, or am I over complicating it. Do my bunnies need mineral/salt licks or as long as I give them a proper diet can I just remove them.

Charlie has always loved his salt licks more than any of my other buns but his calcium problems are mostly under control even with him still having the salt wheel - so am wondering if I need to worry about this or not.

Any ideas? I'm thinking Caz might know as you seem extremely clued up where sciency stuff is concerned! I'd welcome any advice.

02-05-2005, 04:05 PM
Hi there
I don't have any experience particularly with this as my bun is Ok where calcium is concerned but I did read something on this link a while ago that salt licks are good for buns with calcium issues as it encourages them to drink. BTW, isn't salt sodium chloride? :? I don't think the lick could be a problem, but I bet I'll be corrected on that one!! :shock: :oops:



02-05-2005, 04:18 PM
Now, obviously salt is calcium carbonate.

Tut! Helen you are so right! Salt is sodium chloride, doh! And theres me with a PhD in biology :oops: , the sun has obviously got to my head this afternoon!

Maybe the other post meant that some salt/mineral wheels have calcium carbonate in them aswell. I went and looked on the back of the packets of salt licks I have - the white ones are just salt and white mineral oil.

That information you put the link to is really useful, thank you. It says in there to give your bun a plain salt lick to encourage them to drink more, so obviously the salt bit is fine, its the calcium carbonate that isn't (which I assume is int he brown mineral licks). So, its OK, Charlie can keep his salt lick. :D

02-05-2005, 07:12 PM
Glad it helped, I spect Charlie is chuffed to be able to keep his treat!
Oh I hope you know I wasn't being smart mentioning the sodium chloride thing, I am currently doing a PhD in biology and I had to really think hard about what salt was and was worried all knowledge I had was wrong! :roll:
Self doubt, what a wonderful thing!!! :D


02-05-2005, 08:12 PM

Be aware that certain vegetable types are high in calcium, for example French beans are 186mg Ca per 100g. Doesn't seem much but 90% is water, get rid of that and a substantial part of the remainder is Ca.

Have a look at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

You can search thousands of food types, type in the amount and it will give you a comprehensive breakdown of the nutritional value including mineral content.

For easy reference, you could research a list of bunsters favourite foods and get an idea of the Ca content of each, so you know not to overdo one.

Calcium Carbonate is 'a salt' but not THE salt we have on our dinner tables. 'A salt' is the product of a reaction between an acid and an alkali.

The type of salt in the diet is important too, some are more soluble and therefore more digestible, than others. Calcium Carbonate is relatively insoluble in water. That's why wee trays often contain a white powdery deposit. Try vinegar on it. Gone ? Probably a carbonate, because it has reacted with the acid in the vinegar. (tip of the day!)

However, I understand that some pellets use an industrial Ca salt in.
This may be completely soluble and therefore most if not all of that Ca goes into the bunny. This does not mean pellets are bad, just watch out for this as a major source.


02-05-2005, 11:22 PM
Rob - that link is excellent! You and I have given each other advice about this in the past. I have a list if Ca and oxalate levels in veg, but there are several missing so that link will help!

Also since Lavender has come to live with us I am even more aware of the calcium in their diet - beings as they are fed together they are both on a low calcium diet (about a quarter of the recommended amount of pellets and timothy hay plus carefulyl monitored veg) but Lavender is only 6 months old so I would have thought she needs high calcium levels for her growth so I shall look up good calcium providers for her and supplement her diet accordingly.

Thanks for your help.