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Vitamin B deficiency?

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

  
Star

Shut up and feed- me
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 21, '10 1:32pm PST 
Anyone had this? We were convinced Star had hyperthyroidism (even the vet was betting on it), but all his bloodwork came back normal today. (They checked thyroid, kidney and liver function, and blood sugar).

So the vet thinks it could be either cancer (yikes) or a vitamin B deficiency based on his symptoms (weight loss, licking fur off his legs, always hungry, fur is losing its luster, etc.)

I guess we're going to try B12 injections to see if that helps - I'd never heard of cats having Vitamin B deficiency, so any info anyone might have would be helpful!

Edited by author Mon Jun 21, '10 1:32pm PST

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Alex (sweet- angel girl)

Angel on a- mission!
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 21, '10 1:46pm PST 
Hi Star! Alex had Vitamin B deficiency when she was very sick. Most kitties get what's called malabsorption when they have GI or bowel conditions. My website has a lot of info about this www.ibdkitties.net. I have a page for B12 but haven't written it yet. I do know alot about it though so ask me anything. I used to give Alex B12 injections weekly and I have been giving them to my nephew kitty, Moufasa for over a year. B12 gets seriously depleted in both humans and animals when they're experiencing malabsorption. What happens is that the bowels and digestive tract are not absorbing the nutrients from food correctly and because B12 is a vital vitamin that works in conjunction with other B vitamins, it's essential to replace that. B12 is not produced naturally in the body like some other vitamins so we have to replace it. When a kitty or person is sick, taking an oral tablet will basically not help much because the acid in the GI tract is breaking everything down TOO much. So the B12 won't likely reach the blood stream that way. By giving injections, you bypass the GI tract and it goes directly where it needs to go. It's painless and quick and you'll see a big difference quickly. As far as the hair issue and some of the other things you mentioned go, that concerns me. B12 deficiency is can be a sign of other health problems. Although sometimes a deficiency can also CAUSE the other issues. So it's important for your vet to test you for anemia, pancreatitis, your liver levels, IBD and kidney disease to rule them out. Pancreatitis is a big one that causes B12 deficiency. So if you're having any vomiting, bowel issues, and/or pain, it's important to test for that. If you're not squeemish about needles, you should get a script for it from your vet and do the shots yourself at home. It's much cheaper! It's very easy, I have instructions on how to give shots on my site: http://ibdkitties.net/Shots.html. I hope this information helps.
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Star

Shut up and feed- me
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 21, '10 1:58pm PST 
Thank you so much! I know for sure the vet ruled out thyroid problems, kidney and liver problems and diabetes. He didn't mention pancreatitis, so I will ask him about that! He did say, though, that he felt his abdomen and it felt normal...

Star's main symptoms are weight loss (he's gradually gone from about 15 pounds to a mere 9 pounds over about 4 or 5 years). He did have a urinary blockage two years ago and since then has been on Prescription Diet C/D. I was not happy to have to switch him to a crappy food, but I was so worried he'd block again that I went with it. Now I fear that his diet could be contributing to his problems...

He has always been obsessed with food, but it's gotten much worse in the last couple of years. He will literally scream at you for food, and then still meow after he eats, like he wants more. This cat will actually try to steal loaves of bread, small pieces of food, etc.! We literally have to put him in a different room when we eat! Did Alex have any of those food-related symptoms?

In the last couple of months, Star has vomited more than he used to - typically a small amount of mostly liquid.

We're going back in on Friday to find out more about the B12 thing, and I'm going to ask about pancreatitis and we'll do a urine/fecal sample at that time as well. The vet did say he'd like to check the urine as well to make sure there's no protein leaking.

Edited by author Mon Jun 21, '10 1:58pm PST

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Star

Shut up and feed- me
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 21, '10 2:13pm PST 
I should also say that for along time I assumed it was behavioral, because he's been otherwise healthy aside from that urinary blockage two years ago. He has always been a food bully - I mean he will literally try to steal food out from underneath you and run away with it. So I guess I would think it was behavioral, except for the weight loss and hair issues! Once I realized how much weight he'd been losing (it was very gradual, and he's a longer-haired cat, so it took me awhile), I realized maybe it wasn't behavioral after all...but who knows?
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Alex (sweet- angel girl)

Angel on a- mission!
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 21, '10 2:23pm PST 
Well, I'll tell you that just about every vet does that, puts these babies on those awful prescription diets. Sometimes it does help but in this case it doesn't sound like it is at all. I would seriously consider putting Star on a much better quality canned food (grain free!). I have a huge list on this page of the site, all the grain free cat foods and their websites so you can check the ingredients: http://ibdkitties.net/Food.html. I think you should also check my pancreatitis page AND the About IBD page, because I talk about symptoms and it does sound like if Star doesn't have pancreatitis, he may very well have IBD. Weight loss and extreme hunger are a definite sign of pancreatitis. Like they just cannot fill up no matter how much they eat. And I know for a fact, that means malabsorption. If you think about it, it makes sense. Since the nutrients are really not being absorbed, some of that food is not being digested properly. Which means the pancreas is overworking and some of that food is sitting in the bowels rotting and not being expelled. How does his poop look? Is it a normal, firm brown or is it lighter in color? If it's too light, like a tannish beige, that's a clear signal of pancreas issues. If it's dark and tarry looking, that's a sign of IBD. Ask your vet to do what's called a PLI blood test. Did he actually do a blood test for the B12 deficiency or is he just guestimating? If he does a blood test, ask him to do a PLI at the same time. This will show the levels of glucose and other issues going on in the pancreas. If he sends it to IDEXX, he can get the results back within 48 hours. You'd better call and ask him before your vet visit, because if he does this test, you need to fast Star for at least 12 hours to get proper results. That weight loss isn't normal and if the vomiting is happening more often, I'd definitely at least have him do this test. It's quick and will show whether he'll need to do further testing. Pancreatitis can't be felt through the abdomen just by touch. Although there usually is considerable pain associated with it. Alex was in A LOT of pain. Does he ever crouch down and lay in a meatloaf position and look very uncomfortable and grouchy? What about gas? How's his attitude? IF the PLI were to come back positive (and I'm not saying at all that he has pancreatitis, he may not, could be just IBD or something else), then I'd recommend having an ultrasound done. That's really the only way to get a good look at the GI tract and the pancreas to make complete sure there isn't any inflammation. But don't let him talk you out of changing food! That is YOUR decision to make and not his. It may not fix everything, but it will definitely help. It's a first step in healing.way to go
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Miss Mittens- - Angel DG #14

Angel Diva
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 21, '10 2:50pm PST 
I'm hoping the B-12 shots help and Star's problem is solved!

However, I want to respond to you about Star's perpetual hunger, constant demands for food, unexplained weight loss, lackluster fur and now his vomiting and would like to make a suggestion.

Miss Mittens once had the exact same problems as Star. She was ALWAYS hungry and would resort to temper tantrums if I'd try to ignore her demands for more food right after she'd just eaten! Like you, I put it down to behavioral problems, i.e., being spoiled rotten! Actually, she isn't spoiled rotten but I couldn't come up with any other explanation. Then she began losing weight and I noticed her fur was getting dull and she was losing fur on her head, esp. around the ears. She was tested over and over again for hyperthyroidism and kidney function and the results were always normal. Her liver numbers were elevated and kept going up for no explainable reason but otherwise, it looked like nothing was seriously wrong with her.

Finally, Miss Mittens saw an internal medicine specialist and had an abdominal ultrasound and an endoscopy and was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma. It's a form of cancer that responds very well to chemo, esp. when diagnosed and caught early. Miss Mittens has been on chemo for 1-1/2 years now. She had an ultrasound last month and her cancer is stable and hasn't spread.

Cats with intestinal lymphoma, IBD, triaditis and pancreatitis usually have malabsorption too and B-12 shots are very helpful. But the shots alone may not be enough if there's something else wrong.

Is it possible for Star to have an abdominal ultrasound? An ultrasound is a good first step and can be very revealing. If something looks abnormal, that may be all you need to know for a diagnosis or you can follow up with more specific tests and/or see a specialist. Star could have something else wrong besides cancer or nothing seriously wrong at all! It might be a good thing to find out now.

Good luck!
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Member Since
07/29/2013
 
 
Purred: Mon Jul 29, '13 11:41pm PST 
Hi we have a female cat and the first thing the vet said when we told them about the starving hungry stage was Thyroid. We took them for their word and gave her medication which didnt change a thing. We gave her a Vit B shot and she settled right down and eats normally now. This has happened twice now so we have taken charge.
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