A recent news story reminds us of the possibility of thiamine deficiency in cats. Thiamine is vitamin B1 and is also called thiamin. Pet food manufacturer Diamond Pet Foods in Washington, USA, has had to recall bags of its cat food because they did not contain enough thiamine. Thiamine is damaged by heat and pet food is processed at high temperatures so careful controls are necessary. Perhaps this is were the failure occurred.
Thiamine is vital to cats and if there is insufficient of it in cat food it can and will ultimately lead to ill health.
It can lead to neurological or gastrointestinal problems for cats. At first the symptoms are:
- decreased appetite
- vomiting and weight loss
And later their might be neurological problems that include:
- wobbly walking
- falling and seizures
This makes us nervous of making homemade cat food (the few of us who fancy the idea of trying it). Although cheap cat foods are arguable manufactured with lower quality standards which could lead to a deficiency of thiamine.
It should also remind us that it is not good to feed human treats to our cat all the time. Or human food of one type such as fish. A lot of cats like fish but thiamin (B1) deficiency can occur if a cat is fed too much of certain types of raw fish as some fish contain an enzyme “thiaminase” which destroys thiamin.
The cure for thiamine deficiency is as expected – feed a proper diet and if needs be administer thiamine supplements by injection initially.
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