Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin B
We have often been hearing discussions about vitamins and the role they play in nutrition. One group of vitamins is the family of B vitamins. You may recognize them by such names as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and such. The latter has been found to be of extreme importance in preventing spina-bifida in human babies. Whatever they may be called they all play an essential part in any wellness program. From the very largest to the smallest animals, deficiencies of these important elements can produce major problems.
I have always remembered a class in equine medicine at Cornell. We were examining a lovely young horse afflicted with a problem called “moon blindness”. This meant that every month or so the horse’s eyes would whiten and it would lose its vision for two or three days. Our large animal professor, Dr. Francis Fox, informed us that had the horse been given just 50 milligrams of riboflavin in its diet each day, it would never have gotten the disease. Such a little thing, but oh so important. It was one of the first cases during my college training where I saw how really vital nutrition could be to maintaining an animal’s health. It was also the case that sparked my interest in preventive nutrition, which has played a major role in my career ever since.
It is also felt that B vitamins also play a role in preserving retinal health in dogs and cats as well. Along with vitamins E and C, the B vitamins help preserve circulation and general good health of the retina. This would be similar to preventing macular degeneration in humans which is a major problem in senior citizens.
As an example of just how important diet in pets can be, recently there was an article in one of my veterinary journals about a cat that ate a diet consisting largely of tuna. Tuna is a diet we warn against due to its very strong addicting power for the cats which consume it. The cats will get so they refuse all other foods. However the tuna is deficient in the B vitamin, thiamine, and the kitty mentioned became quite ill with some rather bizarre symptoms. Fortunately the problem, called ‘yellow fat disease’ and which can be fatal, was recognized early and quickly corrected with thiamine injections and supportive treatment.
Senior pets are especially prone to vitamin B deficiency diseases. As we age, our kidneys lose the B vitamins at an increased rate and this is true with animals as well. Many of the cognitive or so called “senile” changes seen in older dogs and cats are related to lowered vitamin B levels since this vitamin is very important to the health of brain cells. I have treated many a cat which could not remember where its kitty litter box is located. Also a lot of dogs which became so senile they could not figure out how to turn around out of a corner they had walked into. It was always very satisfying to make these problems disappear with proper nutrition. There is a product called Cholodon on the market which contains the necessary B vitamins plus cholin and methionine. A chewable tablet or two of this daily will often produce dramatic clearing of the mind. I have even used it to successfully treat mild seizures.
So every cat or dog 10 years or older should be treated as a senior citizen and be on a good geriatric multivitamin supplement which will contain the B vitamin group. Your veterinarian can advise you how to pick a good one and most are chewable, as well as tasty, so act as a treat. This and a good senior diet will put an excellent health platform under any older pet. Many of the problems attributed to a pet “just getting old” are really nutritional and can be prevented. There is not a great deal we can do about preventing ourselves or our pets from getting older. But there is a lot we can do to keep us both from looking, acting and feeling old. So let’s do it.
Bud Stuart DVM resides in California after a 45+ year as a small animal veterinarian.
NOTE: There has been a recall issued by the FDA for a pet vitamin – see news flash below:
A news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
United Pet Group, Cincinnati, Ohio, is voluntarily recalling all unexpired lots of its PRO-PET ADULT DAILY VITAMIN tablets for dogs because of possible salmonella contamination.
The product was sold nationally at various retailers. The product comes in 100-count white plastic bottles with a light blue label, and UPC code 26851-01800. These products are being removed from retail stores, and consumers should immediately stop feeding these supplements to their pets. The affected products are those with expiration dates on or before 06/13. The expiration date can be found imprinted vertically on the right side of the product label.
Laboratory testing has shown that one lot of this vitamin product was contaminated with salmonella. All lots are being recalled for safety assurance.
Pets with salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.
Consumers who have purchased the product are urged to contact United Pet Group or the place of purchase for further direction.
Consumers may contact United Pet Group at 1-800-645-5154, Ext. 3, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.