Indicators for a vitamin B6 dietary supplement in domestic cats

Our study supports that vitamin B6 dietary supplementation may be indicated in junior to adult animals diagnosed with an infectious, chronic, or acute condition or healthy cats with body weight ranging from optimal to overweight. In older cats, even if healthy, underweight to optimal cats appear to be at risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.

Vy Chu in “Factors influencing vitamin B6 status in domestic cats: age, disease, and body condition score”.
Vitamin B6 deficiency may be present in sick and/or elderly domestic cat according to a study.
Vitamin B6 deficiency may be present in sick and/or elderly domestic cat according to a study.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Scientists suggest vitamin B6 supplement may be necessary

I will keep this brief because this is a very technical scientific study about the possible need to give a domestic cat a vitamin B6 supplement under certain conditions. The quote above briefly explains those conditions.

In the study 17 domestic cats out of 101 where vitamin B6 deficient. The cats were selected from the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital in America as I understand it together with a cohort of 60 cats from the Feline Nutrition and Pet Care Center.

They concluded that a main contributor to vitamin B6 deficiency was “an infectious, chronic or acute condition [of a disease]”. In addition, body condition score (BCS) had an influence on vitamin B6. The scientists also stated that, “In older cats, even if healthy, underweight to optimal cats appear to be at risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.”

This would imply that old cats are more likely to suffer from vitamin B6 deficiency even if their weight is optimal. And as mentioned infectious diseases of the chronic or acute kind can reduce the amount of vitamin B6 inside the body of a domestic cat. That’s my interpretation.

In conclusion they said that, “We also identified key contributors to vitamin B6 deficiency for the first time: disease, followed by age and BCS”.

RELATED: Do older cats need vitamins?

Cat food contains vitamin B6

Cat food contains sufficient quantities of vitamin B6 and therefore there is no normal reason why a domestic cat should be deficient in this vitamin. I suppose it is possible that a domestic cat fed a very poor diet under exceptional circumstances may end up with vitamin B6 deficiency through their diet and nothing else but normally it will be because of illness and old age.

Elderly cats

The study is interesting in that it appears to be saying that all elderly cats are susceptible to vitamin B6 deficiency. This is something that veterinarians should comment on I think and I would hope that some concerned cat owners might asked veterinarians some questions on this topic.

Benefits of B vitamins

Nutravet, a manufacturer of supplements for companion animals, claims on their packaging that:

“Some essential B vitamins are implicated in the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters specifically dopamine and noradrenaline. A two-year study showed that a mixture of B vitamins help to maintain brain health particularly in areas known to control cognitive function. Furthermore, a recent study has shown that B vitamins may support age-related brain health but only in the presence of adequate omega-3s suggesting that these nutrients work closely together.”

Disclaimer

I am not a veterinarian but I am a good researcher and I know lots about domestic cat health and domestic cats generally. But readers should do their own work and research and ask questions. I’m simply flagging up something I see which might interest some cat caregivers.

RELATED: Do cats need vitamin supplements?

Study citation

Chu, V., Fascetti, A.J., Larsen, J.A. et al. Factors influencing vitamin B6 status in domestic cats: age, disease, and body condition score. Sci Rep 14, 2037 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-52367-y

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