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VITAMIN B DEFICIENCY: Its Role in Gastro Symptoms in Cats

Updated: Jan 20

Reggie had a long history of diarrhea. He had been tested for intestinal parasites, coccidia, and giardia, and nothing was found. It was believed that he had bouts of colitis or inflammatory bowel disease. He was put on probiotics and Metamucil in the hopes that it would calm his gut and thicken his stool.

His diarrhea became liquid, number 7 on the fecal chart, and nothing we could do would stop it. Even with subcutaneous fluids, Reggie was dehydrated.

Finally, a sample of his blood (not his stool) was sent to Texas A&M University for a gastrointestinal study. It was found that he lacked cobalamin, otherwise known as B12. I never anticipated that answer. However, upon taking the injection, his stool improved drastically.

I still asked myself, if B12 is found in meat in abundance and cats are carnivores, how could Reggie be deficient?

Turns out, a Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in cats with inflammatory bowel disease or gastrointestinal low-grade lymphoma. In these conditions, the bowel becomes inflamed and thickened, making the absorption of B12 difficult. That, in turn, can lead to the vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Reggie had a lifelong history of diarrhea, so it was assumed that he had inflammatory bowel disease.

Back to B12....

Typically, B12 injections are given once a week for six weeks followed by injections every month to two months. Their diet is often changed as well.

Unfortunately for Reggie, this wasn't enough.

Four days post, injection, Reggie begins to develop grade seven diarrhea. With the injections every five days, that began to improve. Although he enjoyed his prescription food, he struggled with inappetence.

On January 20, 2024, Reggie was found deceased. It was discovered that he suffered from gastrointestinal lymphoma.

Reggie had so many challenges. He had deformed paws that made walking difficult. He had eyes with unknown artifacts that the vet feared was cancer. I never imagined that he would pass away from a GI cancer. But he did.

May you rest in peace at Rainbow Bridge, Reggie.

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