Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Deficiency in Cats

Thiamine Deficiency in Cats

Thiamine deficiency, also known as Vitamin B1 deficiency, is a clinical syndrome associated with vascular injury (pertaining to vessels) and nerve damage caused by the deficiency of vitamin B1 in cats. It is due to an inadequate dietary intake of thiamine, a component of the B complex group of vitamins, relative to the body’s overall needs.

This deficiency is more common in cats than dogs and is especially prevalent in raw fish eaters, cats fed homemade cat foods and cats fed some various canned foods that are deficient.
Thiamine is very sensitive to heat and can be destroyed cooking with high temperatures which is common in over-processed food. Some studies have suggested that 16% of cat foods may be deficient in thiamine. Many of these cat foods are created to be supplemental food and not feed as a sole diet.

General Causes of Vitamin B1 Deficiency in Cats

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Thiamine Deficiency in Cats

The diagnosis is largely based on clinical signs, history and response to treatment. Baseline tests to include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, and urinalysis are recommended in all patients, although are most often within normal limits. Thiamine blood levels can be measured.

Screening chest and abdominal radiographs (x-rays) are an important part of any baseline workup, especially to rule out other disorders.

Treatment of Thiamine Deficiency in Cats

Home Care

Administer all medication and feed a well balanced diet as directed by your veterinarian. Contact your veterinarian at once if your pet is not responding to therapy or is getting worse. Prognosis is excellent if the disease is treated early and the diet is improved. Some cats can have persistent neurologic impairment.