A healthy feline must have a number of vitamins and minerals in its diet. Without these vitamins, the overall health of a cat can deteriorate and potentially develop into vitamin deficiencies or disease. Among the most important vitamins for keeping cats healthy is B12.
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What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the health of felines. Vitamin B12 is often associated with folic acid, as both of these elements are important to the overall health of a cat's blood and bone marrow. Specifically, these vitamins help produce healthy red blood cells.
A deficiency of B12 can result in a reduced number of red blood cells, which can lead to anaemia. Symptoms of a lack of B12 in a cat include lethargy, lack of appetite and a general failure to thrive.
A healthy feline diet will contain both B12 and folic acid. Vitamin B12 is normally found in a cat's diet through organ meats. Vitamin B12 naturally occurs in meat, dairy foods and eggs. It is not found in plants.
B12 and folic acid are both water-soluble, so toxicity from injections or supplements is not a risk. If an animal has a sensitivity to the vitamin, precautions should be taken in administering it. Vitamin B12 is effective in treatments for a number of afflictions, including anaemia and gastrointestinal (GI) conditions and to supplement treatments for kidney disease.
Injections vs. Oral Supplements
Since vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient, an injection is the most effective method of ingestion because it avoids breakdown of the vitamin in the GI tract. Oral supplements are not as potent or efficient as injections, since stomach and digestive acids will decrease therapeutic value.
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