Does the Use of Vitamin B12 for Cats with IBD Help?

IBD or feline inflammatory bowel disease is a condition characterized by chronic irritation and inflammation of a cat’s gastrointestinal tract (GI). This condition arises when inflammatory cells invade and penetrated GI tract wall making it thicker.

One consequence of IBD is disrupting the normal absorption of food, and in the case of our discussion, it will disrupt the absorption of vitamin B12 which has various functions and a deficiency will be characterized by some symptoms.

While looking at vitamin B12 functions and deficiency signs, we noted some functions including boosting immunity, acting as a co-factor for enzymes that help in the metabolism of carbs, fats, and amino acids, among other roles.

On the other hand, a deficiency will be signaled by vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, muscle weakness, and so on.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms that IBD will show include diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, reduced appetite, bloody stools, among others. We will look at more IBD symptoms, treatments and management in a different post.

Vitamin B12 and IBD
Vitamin B12 and IBD in cats

Managing  feline IBD

Once positively diagnosed, inflammatory bowel disease can be managed through the use of corticosteroids, dietary changes, vitamin B12 or cobalamin supplementation or using immunosuppressive drugs.

Also, supplementation of vitamin A, C (ascorbic acid), and E may be recommended to help neutralize the free radicals that would otherwise worsen the inflammation since these vitamins are strong antioxidants.

B12 Shots for Cats with IBD

As already seen, supplementation of cobalamin is one of the ways to manage inflammatory bowel disease. According to MedVet, it is “important in many metabolic processes and low levels may result in a delayed or lack of response to appropriate therapy.”

Furthermore, a study reveals that cats suffering from IBD often suffer from low B12 in their bodies. Therefore, it must be supplemented to avoid deficiency symptoms.

Unfortunately, since this condition and others such as liver disease, pancreatitis, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or intestinal lymphoma disrupt normal absorption of this vitamin, a recommended way is the use of B12 injections for cats.

From our general overview on the necessity of vitamin B12 shots for cats, you know that oral administration may not help in case of this GI disorder.

Are there side effects?

Besides the possibility of hypersensitivity to cobalt that is rare, there are no reported side effects of this vitamin even when given in large doses. Being water-soluble, excess amounts will be excreted out of their body via urine.

Dosages of cobalamin for cats with IBD

According to World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings, 2013, these pets can be “supplemented with B12 at a dose of 250–1,500 µg per dose (depending on weight of animal), subcutaneously, for 6 weeks on a weekly basis, with supplementation, continued on an as-needed basis.”

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