A Detailed Talk on Low Blood Vitamin B12 (Hypocobalamanemia) in Dogs
Before delving deep into the importance of Vitamin B12 for your dog it is important to understand what this Vitamin B12 actually is, and why many well maintained dogs may suffer a deficiency of this Vitamin, and finally and most significantly how this deficiency affects your dog.
What is Vitamin B12?
One of the eight B Vitamins, Vitamin B12 (Empirical formula = C63H88O14N14PCo, also known as "Cobalamin") is water soluble complex chemical that supports the normal functioning of nervous system and brain. Another major role of Cobalamin is blood formation, which prevents anemia. It is one of the most essential vitamins that promote cardiac health, and breaks down the homocysteine, a non-protein α-amino acid associated with blood vessel and heart ailments. Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) has different chemical forms, and not all of them work equally good for dogs. Vitamin B12 can come in forms: Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalmin, Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin.
Methylcobalamin and Adenosylcobalamin, which are naturally occurring and active forms of vitamin B12, are important for your dog's health. However, Methylcobalamin (mecobalamin, MeCbl, also denoted as MeB12) is the most active and easily absorbable form of vitamin B12, which makes it the best choice to treat B12 Vitamin deficiency in dogs in shortest possible time.
Where Does a Dog's Body Store Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is mainly stored in the dog's liver, while other storage organs are brain, heart, kidney and spleen.
How Does Vitamin B12 Deficiency Occur in dogs?
EPI dogs (Dogs with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) tends develop tendencies of digestion disorders, due to malfunctioning of pancreas, and lack of secretion of digestive enzymes. Studies one different species have shown that defective gastric juice secretion process is one most common cause of food-vitamin B12 malabsorption. The continuous, incomplete digestion results in the presence of fermented food in the small intestine, which leads to build-up of harmful bacteria. The condition is known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Overgrowth of this bacteria eventually leads to B12 deficiency. This harmful bacteria binds the vitamins and leading to its unavailability for absorption and the dog eventually suffers from severe deficiency of B12 vitamins.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiency causes depression, dementia, malabsorption disorders. Genetic defects in Vitamin B12 absorption is another reason, common in many dogs resulting from unscientific breeding. Hereditary selective cobalamin malabsorption in dogs constitutes one of the most common inherited conditions.
How Can Vitamin B12 Help Maintaining a Healthy Life For Your Dog?
Adequate amount of vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is essential for your dog’s well being. Vitamin B12 is a powerful micronutrient that gives your dog optimal health benefits. It promotes healthy nerve and blood cells, helps strengthen DNA and maintains an overall healthy body system.
Methylation: Vitamin B12, along with folate and other B-Vitamins positively influences the process of methylation (a key biochemical process that is essentially necessary for the proper function of almost the entire systems of your dog’s body). Methylation builds hormones, proteins, and strengthen DNA, the molecules responsible for carrying the genetic instruction.
Liver detoxification: The liver uses methylation to detoxify substances and filter out the body toxins.
Promotes healthy nervous system: Adequate amount of Vitamin B12 protects the nerve and helps the nervous system to work properly. It maintains a fatty sheaths covering (Myelin – a protein sheath) around the nerve and keeps the nerve healthy and well protected, thus promotes a healthy nervous system.
Prevents pernicious Anemia: Cobalamin (vit B12) supplement prevents pernicious anemia that eventually leads many other health conditions, including tiredness, fragile immune system, dizziness, headaches, chest pain, upset stomach and weight loss, to mention the common ones.
Prevents brain damage: Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps prevents neurological destruction and prevents the chances of brain damage. A persistent case of Vitamin B12 deficiency in dogs may result in severe and irreversible brain damage.
Prevents metabolic disorders and nutrients malabsorption: Improper digestion, nutrient malabsorption, and metabolic disorder are common consequences associated with Vitamin deficiency in dogs. Addition supplementation of vitamin B12 is needed to avoid exposing you dog to these risks.
Prevents infertility in female dogs: Deficiency of vitamin B12 sometimes results in temporary infertility in female dogs. Vitamin B12 supplementation in such cases helps maintain fertility when you breeding your dogs.
Prevents cardiovascular disease: There are evidences that support the role of vitamin B12 + folic acid supplements in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Persistent deficiency of vitamin B12 has association with the increasing risk of heart problems in dogs.
Hence, if your dog has been diagnosed with a hypocobalamanemia (Vitamin B12 deficiency) then he/she is exposed to the above risks associated with the deficiency.
Foods That Prevent The Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Deficiency in Dogs
Dogs that are mostly kept on low quality commercial food and those that are kept only on veggies are prone to the risk of cobalamin deficiency.
Some of the dog friendly human foods that are rich, natural source of vitamin B12 are liver, brain, kidneys. Then eggs. Then cheese.
Beef livers and lamb livers should be the prime preferences if you are looking for natural cobalamin rich food for your dog. However chicken livers and gizzards can also make a great addition to dog’s diet.
A Summary of Dog-friendly Sources of Vitamin B12:
- Per 100 gms of chicken meat (without bones) with the skin contains 0.30 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of chicken liver contains 21 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of chicken egg (raw yellow part) contains 2 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of goose egg (raw yellow part) contains 7.34 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of turkey liver (simmered) contains 28 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of beef tongue contains 3.9 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of beef (grass fed) meet with 30% fat contains 2 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of lamb meat (without bones) contains 2.35 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of lamb tongue contains 7 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of lamb brain contains 11.3 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of lamb heart contains 10.3 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of lamb kidney contains 52.4 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of lamb liver contains 89.9 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
- Per 100 gms of plain yogurt contains 3.5 micrograms (approx) of vitamin B12
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