Signs of Thiamine Deficiency in Cats

Signs of Thiamine Deficiency in Cats

It was brought to the attention of many cat owners last week about the dangers of vitamin deficiency in your pet.
 
Pets at Home recently recalled AVA products from their range of dry cat food after cats began experiencing severe reactions to the food. Tests confirmed the food was lacking in the important vitamin B1 (thiamine).
 
Aware of the grave risks of this deficiency, Laurent Garosi RCVS & European Veterinary Specialist in Neurology at Davies Veterinary Specialists (DVS), took to social media to offer advice to owners.
 
This rare deficiency can cause severe weight loss, vomiting, impaired vision, dilated pupils, tremors and seizures. Prompt treatment is needed, usually in the form of thiamine injections, an oral supplement and an immediate change of food.
 
Laurent Garosi said, “In 20 years I have only seen a handful of cases. My concern is that there may be many more cats out there in need of a diagnosis which is why we are building awareness and supporting our referring vets in the diagnosis of this condition.”
 
Laurent’s original Facebook post www.facebook.com/neurologyforvets/ has gone viral with more than 1.1 million reach and 9000+ shares. DVS has followed this with support and advice for pet owners.
 
Signs of thiamine deficiency:
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Impaired vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Ataxia
  • Vestibular signs
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
 
Although absolute confirmation of the deficiency is difficult, diagnoses can be based a combination of factors: clinical presentation, MRI findings and response to thiamine supplementation.
 
There are three main causes for the deficiency: 1) inability to absorb thiamine due to gastro-intestinal disease, 2) inability to process thiamine due to liver disease and 3) decrease level of thiamine in food which can be caused by the heating process (thiamine is destroyed by heat), addition of sulphur dioxide or sulphite preservatives which inactivate thiamine and feeding food rich in thiaminase activity such as some raw fish.
Megan Chapple

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