This is the second article in a two-part series focusing on vitamin B12 deficiency in cats. Part one focuses on the what and why of B12 deficiency. If you haven't read it yet, we recommend you mosey on over to this article first.
In this article, we're going to shift gears and look at the really important stuff: how you can tell if your cat may be suffering from B12 deficiency, and what you (in cahoots with your vet) can do about it. Let's dive in!
How You Can Identify Vitamin B12 Deficiency
As you learned in part one, B12 is actively involved in a lot of bodily processes. This nutrient is right at the heart of your cat's digestive, nervous, and immune systems. That means a deficiency in this vitamin can pack a mean punch, with a range of seemingly disconnected symptoms.
There are three main ways you'll typically observe vitamin B12 deficiency:
According to PetMD, the most common digestive issues you may see are vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. This is quite problematic for your vet because these same symptoms also indicate a range of gastrointestinal diseases that cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
In other words, your vet may need to spend some time carefully testing your cat (including blood tests to measure cobalamin levels) before giving a diagnosis.
Cats who have experienced prolonged vitamin B12 deficiency may also begin to exhibit reduced mobility, particularly in their hindquarters. They may start to move less, or not be able to jump up to their usual hangout spots.
Again, this is quite tricky! As you'll no doubt have learned if you've spent any time delving through the Scruffy Paws blog, older cats are particularly susceptible to joint pain and arthritis later in life. And yep, you guessed it, this can have a significant impact on your cat's mobility as well.
Your vet is the best person to identify the cause of your purring paramour's perambulatory problems and advise accordingly.
General Lifestyle Symptoms
We repeat this a lot, but it bears repeating.
You can never dismiss a "hunch" when it comes to your cat's health. You may notice your cat's drinking and eating habits have changed. Perhaps they're sleeping in different places or seem unusually grumpy? You may just somehow sense they're not as happy as they were a month or two ago.
With cats as with humans, this stuff is a critical tell! Cats are very good at hiding their symptoms, so if you suspect something isn't quite right, always play it safe and see a vet.
How to Treat and Manage B12 Deficiency
If your cat is diagnosed with B12 deficiency, treatment and management are (thankfully) relatively safe and straightforward.
- If the deficiency is severe, your vet may prescribe one or a series of cobalamin injections. If administered as a series, the doses are usually delivered over several weeks, with regular testing of B12 levels in the blood. According to PetMD, this process is extremely safe, with any excess supplement simply excreted out of the body as urine.
- In terms of ongoing management, one of the easiest ways to keep your cat's B12 levels where they should be is through a supplement. Scruffy Paws Daily Multi-Health Bites are a great option because they're scientifically formulated, veterinarian-approved, and — perhaps most importantly, from your cat's perspective — quite delicious!
Now You're Up To Speed!
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about vitamin B12 deficiency, and how you can help keep your cat's cobalamin level in the green, right where it belongs.
At Scruffy Paws, we take your best friend's health very seriously, and we know our range of scientifically-formulated supplements can aid in maintaining your cat's happiness, sprightliness, and well-being.
If you'd like to learn more about any of our products, just drop us a line! We'll be happy to help.
- [Cobalamin for Cats with Digestive Issues | Cobalamin Supplements for GI Problems in Cats | petMD](https://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/cat/dr-coates/2016/march/cobalamin-supplements-when-do-cats-need-them-33728)
- [How Does Vitamin B12 Help Cats? | Pets4Homes](https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/how-does-vitamin-b12-help-cats.html)
- [Scruffy Paws Daily Multi Health Bites (30 Chews) – Scruffy Paws Nutrition](https://scruffypawsnutrition.com/collections/all-products/products/daily-multi-health-bites)
- [The Importance of B12 – IBDKitties](https://www.ibdkitties.net/the-importance-of-b12/)