Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We do not package samples. We suggest preparing the recipes without adding the supplement if you would like to see how your dog or cat accepts the food or would like to find out what is involved in preparing meals. The supplement adds the vitamins and minerals needed for complete nutrition but it does not change the taste of the food significantly.
Vegepet supplements are to be used within 2-years of manufacture. You will find an expiration date on every product. The shelf-life of the superfood products have a longer shelf-life. Please check the bottle.
These are rough estimates. If you add the supplement as instructed in our recipes, rather than using the daily serving size on the label, the product will probably last a while longer.
Vegecat 15 oz: 3 months
Vegecat 30 oz: 6 months
Vegedog 8 oz:
10lb dog – 3 months
30lb dog – 5 weeks
50lb dog – 20 days
Vegedog 27 oz:
10lb dog – 11 months
30lb dog – 4 months
50lb dog – 9 weeks
80lb dog – 6 weeks
Vegedog 53 oz:
10lb dog – 21 months
30lb dog – 8 months
50lb dog – 4.5 months
80lb dog – 3 months
120lb dog – 2 months
Vegepup: The amount varies a great deal depending on age, weight, recipe ingredients, and more.
If you follow our recipes, you’ll use roughly 45 grams of Vegepup for every 3000 calories of food, or 15 grams for every 1000 calories. You can use the following calorie calculator to determine how many calories you’ll feed over time: http://vetcalculators.com/calories.html. The smaller Vegepup contains 708 grams and the larger contains 1417 grams.
The smaller Vegepup would last a 10lb puppy under 4 months old about 2.5 months. That smaller container would last a 30lb puppy over 4 months old a little over 1.5 months, while the larger size would last a little over 3 months.
Cat – 1lb will last between 5 to 7 weeks.
Dog – 1lb will last a 10lb dog as long as 5 months, a 30lb dog about 2.5 months, a 50lb dog about 7 weeks, and a very large dog less than 1 month.
Puppy – 1lb will last a small puppy as long as 4 months and a large puppy as little as 7 weeks.
The recommended serving sizes are: rats – 1/8 teaspoon; cats/rabbits – 1 teaspoons (2 grams); small dogs (5-20 lbs.) – 1-2 teaspoons (2 grams – 4 grams); large dogs (45 lbs. or more) – 1 tablespoon (6 grams)
The 10 oz Green Mush contains 142 teaspoons or 47 tablespoons.
The 5 oz Green Mush contains 71 teaspoons or 23 tablespoons.
The trial size Green Mush contains 10 teaspoons and or little over 3 tablespoons.
If your cat/dog is under 7 years old, the bottle will last one cat over a few years and one 45lb dog about 8 months. lf your animals is 8 years or older, the bottle might last your cat 16 months and 45lb dog 4 months.
NO! Our products do not contain GMOs and we encourage you to use non-GMO ingredients. If corn, soy, wheat, and canola is produced in the USA and is not organic, it is almost certainly genetically modified. Please buy ORGANIC for your animal companion and yourself!
No. Commercial food should be nutritionally complete on its own. Adding the vitamins and minerals in the Vegepet supplements to an already nutritionally complete food can cause over supplementation. The Vegepet supplements are not a multi-vitamin, they are a combination of nutrients missing from home prepared diets.
If you are interested in a multi-vitamin product, please look into our superfood Green Mush™. This product is whole-food based and loaded with bioavailable nutrients and a powerful, natural antioxidant (CoEnzymeQ10). Green Mush™ is great for both you and your companion animal. The algae, grasses, sea vegetables, and other ingredients are organic and/or pesticide free and from the purest sources.
Yes, absolutely. You’ll find daily recommendations on the product labels. You can take a look at those labels from the product pages in the Shop.
Yes, please do!
It is ideal to use both a Vegepet supplement (Vegedog™, Vegepup™, or Vegecat™) and Green Mush™ in your home prepared food. The Vegepet supplement will fill in the nutritional gaps in your home prepared food, supplying vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Green Mush™ provides all food-based, bioavailable nutrients like phytonutrients and antioxidants. Green Mush™ goes beyond the basics to reduce inflammation, detoxify, and support the immune system and body generally. All home prepared food should contain a Vegepet supplement (or a number of individual supplements) and all diets (commercial or home prepared) benefit from the addition of Green Mush™.
Yes, absolutely! Your body will thank you.
Green Mush™ contains the finest human-grade ingredients available. The product is pesticide-free, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and superior to most human superfood supplements. Humans benefit greatly from the array of bioavailable nutrients and antioxidant properties Green Mush™ offers. Antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body and a number of health issues stem from inflammation and chronic inflammation, whether you’re a dog, cat, human, or otherwise. Green Mush™ also assists the body’s detoxification efforts. To read more, download the Green Mush Whitepaper.
So, yes, do it!
Yes. All home prepared diets tend to be lacking in nutrients like Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and more. Vegepet supplements fill in the gaps for plant-based and meat-based diets, though we highly recommend a plant-based diet. Follow the daily serving size chart on the label.
Vegedog is a very good substitute for bone meal! The calcium to phosphorous ratio in Vegedog is the same as in bone meal, 2.5 to 1.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats has been the go-to resource for health-conscious animal lovers. The authors, Dr. Richard Pitcairn and Susan Pitcairn, have long been the trusted name in holistic veterinary care and continue to be at the forefront of natural pet health. The fourth edition of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, published March of 2017, is updated with the latest information in natural pet health, including groundbreaking research on the benefits of vegan diets for dogs and cats. Vegepet supplements feature prominently in all of the book recipes. We think that qualifies as an endorsement and are honored to be a part of this paradigm shift!
Further, a number of veterinarians around the country have started carrying our products in their offices and recommending their use.
As a veterinarian being concerned with the animal’s health, it is very encouraging to observe their health improving in many cases after being on the new regimen.– Michael Lemmon, DVM
The following was quoted regarding the Vegepet founder’s book, Vegetarian Cats & Dogs, that discusses the Vegepet diets and supplements.
Vegetarian Cats & Dogs is a solid work of ethical integrity and is meritorious as an example of applying scientific information to progressive ends. The scientific rationale is as sound as the moral arguments are incisive and persuasive. The author is sincere in his commitment to a scientifically sound means to feed dogs and cats with superior nourishment (meeting all the known nutritional requirements for different stages of life), while at the same time reducing large scale animal suffering in agribusiness.
-British trained veterinarian David H. Jaggar reviewing Vegetarian Cats & Dogs by James A. Peden. The book documents the research that produced the Vegepet™ products.
About Transitions, Ingredients, and Nutrition
For dogs, mix a small amount of the new food with the old and adjust the proportions over a period of days to a week. You can begin with 25% new food, or less. Dogs rarely need enticing.
For cats, mix a small amount of the new food with the old and adjust the proportions over a matter of weeks. You might need to begin with as little as a teaspoon of the new food in the old and work up from there. If necessary, you can mix pulverized commercial kibble into recipes.
Most animals thoroughly enjoy their vegan food, but some cats can be a little finicky. Some palatability enhancers for cats include: crumbled nori flakes, dried catnip, vegan sausage or mock meat (a small amount of onion or garlic is okay but do not use a mock meat with more than a flavoring), algae, pureed corn with kelp flakes/nori or canned pumpkin and nutritional yeast. If your dog is resistant, try watering down a nut or seed butter and adding that to meals. Use almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter, or tahini, but NEVER use a product that contains xylitol. A little nut/seed butter goes a long way.
Please be aware that cats can become addicted to the “digest” derived flavoring in commercial cat food. Digest is made from the entrails of chickens and flavored in various (unsavory) ways. If you are switching the diet from a commercial food, please be mindful that your cat might need to break the addiction to digest before objectively accepting the new home prepared food. Be patient and allow your cat to show you how quickly the transition can be made.
Find out how many calories to feed your dog, cat, or puppy per day based on age, weight, and whether they are spayed/neutered at this link: http://vetcalculators.com/calories.html.
Follow our recipes, adding the amount of supplement in as instructed in the recipe, and you’ll have nutritionally complete food. Each recipe lists the number of calories contained in the entire recipe (just under the recipe title). Measure how many cups your prepared recipe yields. Divide the total number of calories by the number of cups you measured. The answer is the number of calories each cup of your food contains. For example, if the entire recipe contains 3000 calories, and you end up with 8-1/4 cups of food, your recipe contains 363 calories per cup [3000 ÷ 8.25 = 363].
If you are feeding a growing puppy, check the calorie calculator often to be sure you are feeding the right amount. You want to enter the ideal weight for your adult dog or cat, rather than the current weight if they are not at their ideal weight.
If it wasn’t for science it wouldn’t be possible to feed cats vegan. However, we now know what nutrients are necessary for cats to thrive and we can obtain those nutrients without killing other animals. Taurine is a good example. This is a vital amino acid that almost all mammals synthesize from other amino acids, but cats lost that ability thousands of years ago. Taurine is available in synthetic form from non-animal sources and works as well as that from animal flesh.
Another nutrient is a fatty acid that is extremely rare in the vegetable kingdom but necessary for cats, arachidonic acid. Due to regulatory issues, we’ve had to remove arachidonic acid from the Vegecat supplement. Some algae/seaweed supplies arachidonic acid, but the concentration is variable and the alkalinity of the sources is not ideal. The best vegan arachidonic acid option is a source approved for use in human infant formula but not cat food. We now have this source available to add to your vegan cat’s diet, so please call or email us for ordering information.
Vegecat has been available since 1986 and many of our clients from the early years have stayed with us as their cats age and they welcome new generations of cats into their families. Not all cats immediately take to the new diet, and often it is necessary to make a lengthy transition from the old food to the new, by mixing a little of the new gradually into the old food. Sometimes, enticements such as pureed nori and corn are necessary, but the transition can be done!
The argument that a vegan diet for companion animals is “not natural” is highly suspect when many are feeding beef to Chihuahuas or ocean fish to cats and confining them to indoor living. We’ve domesticated our animal companions, and very little of their formerly “natural” lives remain. Long ago, dogs began producing a digestive enzyme (amylase) for digesting carbohydrates at a much higher rate than their wolf ancestors.
There are certainly drawbacks to meat-based diets, raw or commercial. Contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, additives, industrial chemicals, flame retardants, etc., accumulate in the fat tissues of animals. Heavy metal concentrations have been found to be higher in animals eating at the top of the food chain. Fish that eat other fish are especially toxin-laden and are routinely fed, as fish meal, to other fish, poultry, livestock, and cats. “It has been found that carnivorous species bioaccumulate far greater quantities of [heavy] metals than herbivores or omnivores.”* One way to potentially minimize contaminants in your companion animal’s diet (or your own) is to eat a plant-based diet.
For a more in depth view of the issues surrounding available food for pets and people, we encourage you to read Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (4th edition); specifically, Chapter 2: What’s Really in Pet Food and Chapter 3: What’s Happening to All Our Food. You can request the book at your local library, order it in our shop, or find it most anywhere books are sold.
* Jakimska, Anna et al. “Bioaccumulation of Metals in Tissues of Marine Animals, Part II : Metal Concentrations in Animal Tissues.” (2011).
For more about the toxic chemicals discovered in the blood and urine of pets (unrelated to diet), read “Polluted Pets” on the Environmental Working Group website.
Most cats do perfectly well on the standard Vegecat™ diet when VegeYeast is also used. VegeYeast is always recommended for cats to increase the acidity in the diet and prevent alkaline urine.
Cats should have an acidic urine pH of 6.0 to 6.5. It is wise to test the urine at home or at a vet’s office before switching the diet and about 3-weeks after transitioning to a new diet, then periodically after – twice in the first year and once per year after. If alkaline urine is a problem, you have options. Acidifiers include cranberry powder, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and the amino acid methionine. If urine pH is higher than a 7.0, you can use one of the following: 1 teaspoon of cranberry powder per day, up to 500mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) per day, or ask your vet to recommend the correct amount of methionine for your cat’s size.
To test urine pH at home, use only a small amount of litter in the litter box. Urine can then be collected in a corner and tested with an over-the-counter pH test strip. Alternatively, a regular amount of litter in the box can be covered with plastic wrap, allowing urine to pool on the plastic and be tested. There is also non-absorbent cat litter than can be used in place of standard litter or Pretty Litter, that changes color when to indicate if the litter is too alkaline or too acidic. Of course, a vet can do the urine testing as well and that might be necessary when multiple cats use the same litter box. Test strips (intended to monitory human pH) can be purchased over-the-counter at a pharmacy.
The more water and moisture in the diet, the better the urine concentration of your cat. Feeding primarily wet food recipes can prevent urinary issues. If kibble makes up the majority of a cat’s diet, it is best to add pureed vegetables or water to the kibble.
Urinary issues occur in cats eating any diet. These concerns are not unique to a plant-based diet. Cats on a meat-based diet benefit from periodic urine testing as well.
The complex carbohydrates in our recipes are largely comprised of the starchy portion of the plant and can be broken down in digestive tract. It is best to soak legumes and fully cook the legumes and grains. Recipe ingredients can be blended for even better digestion, separately or after the meal is fully prepared.
Cats have the ability to use carbohydrates as energy but there is enough protein and fat in the recipes that energy production can come from those better utilized sources. It is very beneficial for cats eating carbohydrates to be given a digestive enzyme product that includes amylase for breaking down carbohydrates. The added enzymes greatly increase nutrient absorption and aids digestion.
Dogs produce their own amylase for the digestion of carbohydrates. Nevertheless, we highly recommend adding a digestive enzyme product to all cooked or processed food because enzymes are heat sensitive and destroyed when heated or over-processed.
You will find a lactose-free digestive enzyme product, Prozyme@ Plus, on the Compassion Circle shop page. The manufacturer of Prozyme™ Plus states that the product increases nutrient absorption by up to 71% and thus reduces the amount of food needed by 25%.
The general consensus among regulating bodies is that synthetic taurine is assimilated in the same manner as natural taurine. The AAFCO and European Food Safety Authority both hold that synthetic taurine in the diet of cats and dogs is efficacious and can be used as a reliable taurine source. The majority of commercial cat and dog foods add synthetic taurine because natural taurine is denatured during high-heat processing. As much as 50% to 70% of the taurine from meat is lost in the processing of commercial cat food. So, there is a huge sample of cats lacking signs of taurine deficiency during a lifetime of consuming and utilizing primarily synthetic taurine.
Some raw foods and wet foods that are not extruded or processed at high-heat retain natural taurine, but extruded dry foods and foods relying on bi-products (lacking muscle tissue) result in a taurine deficiency without the addition of synthetic taurine. In the 1960s, the very sad reality was that dry food companies were not adding synthetic taurine to their food and many cats died due to a deficiency. After synthetic taurine was added, the deaths stopped.
The taurine in Vegecat supplies about 194 mg per day for a 10 lb cat, or that amount for every 300 calories. The AACFC standard requires 150 mg for 300 calories of food.
Taurine is not an AAFCO required nutrient for dogs. The NRC (National Research Council) recommends about 200 mg of taurine per 1000 calories of food for grown and growing dogs. The Vegedog™ supplements supplies a 45 lb dog who eats 1350 calories per day 340 mg of taurine (or 251 mg per 1000 calories). The Vegepup supplement supplies a 15 lb puppy eating 450 calories per day 186 mg of taurine (or 413 mg per 1000 calories).
The AAFCO’s Canine Nutrition Expert Subcommittee doesn’t consider L-carnitine a dietary requirement for dogs. Healthy dogs manufacture L-carnitine from the amino acid building blocks methionine and lysine. The Vegedog supplement supplies methionine and ample lysine is provided by recipe ingredients. Decades have shown that dogs on the Vegedog diet are not suffering deficiencies.
Out of 1000 dogs, 5.5 (mostly purebred) are born with congenital heart conditions and some breeds are more at risk for the heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) than others – Doberman Pinchers, Great Danes, Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, Afgan Hounds, Scottish Deerhounds, and Irish Wolfhounds. If you have one of these breeds, supplementing the diet with L-carnitine is a good preventative measure.
Because L-carnitine is not a requirement for healthy dogs, it is difficult to find a maintenance dosage recommendation. One dog study recommends 50 mg of L-carnitine per day for every 2.2 lbs (1kg) of body weight. If a heart condition is already present, a suggested therapeutic dose is 1000 mg per 10 lbs of body weight. Consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment if a heart condition is suspected or present.
The amino acid building blocks for L-carnitine are methionine and lysine. Healthy cats manufacture L-carnitine from these building blocks. The cat supplements provide methionine and lysine as do the recipe ingredients.
Rarely, a cat will have a genetic predisposition that prevents the absorption of L-carnitine or another important amino acid, taurine. If amino acid absorption and synthesis are found to be an issue by your veterinarian, there are vegan sources available for supplementation. Human supplements are often more cost-effective and can be used with adjusted serving sizes.
VegeYeast is a modified brewers yeast that adds B vitamins and protein to the diet. VegeYeast is more acid than other food yeast, such as nutritional yeast, and is lower in magnesium. The extra acidity in VegeYeast is valuable for both dogs and cats, and a diet low in magnesium is thought to lessen the likelihood of struvite crystal formation.
VegeYeast is the dried, non-fermentative, non-extracted yeast of the botanical classification saccharomyces resulting as a co-product from the brewing of beer and ale. These pure strains of saccaromyces cerevisiae are grown on mixtures of cane and beet molasses to make VegeYeast. Yeasts are single-celled fungi. Yeasts are as natural as fruit and vegetables.
It has recently come to our attention that the modification to lower the pH of VegeYeast involves the use of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Hydrochloric acid is a stomach acid and additive used in food processing. The negligible amount of HCl in the whole diet is considered “an incidental additive” by AAFCO. The HCl used in the yeast processing, prior to the kill step that inactivates the yeast, is vegan. This is the same yeast used in the Vegepet diets since the 1980s and, seemingly, a necessary part of lowering pH to provide additional acidity. We’ve found the yeast crucial to some cats’ diets over the years and quite safe.
The pH of VegeYeast is 4.0 or lower.
If your companion animal is allergic to yeast (which supplies B vitamins) you can omit the yeast in recipes and substitute a B-complex vitamin. Crush a tablet and mix in with food. One 50 mg B-complex tablet will suffice for a week’s worth of food for a cat or small dog. A dog over about 40 lbs should have one 50 mg B vitamin every 3 days. Any excess B vitamins are eliminated through the urine because B vitamins are water soluble.
An example of a B Complex vitamin to use is the NOW brand B-50 tablet.
For cats and dogs, most food allergies are related to animal products.
For dogs, the most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish (in that order).
Wet food recipes for dogs can be made without either wheat or soy. However, all but the legume recipes require one or the other as a protein source. The Dog Garbanzo Recipe and Lentil Recipe are free of both wheat and soy.
For cats, the most common allergens are beef, dairy, and fish.
While flax and hemp products supply omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, the body must convert omega 3s into DHA and EPA. This is not an efficient process and it’s great if you choose to supplement the diet with DHA and EPA.
There are a number of algae-sourced omega 3 supplements on the market to supply DHA and EPA. It is perfectly okay to use human supplements, but please be sure the supplement you choose does not contain vitamin D or vitamin E. Some human supplements have levels of vitamin D or E that are too high for your dog or cat.
A few supplement options include Udo’s Choice DHA oil, Nordic Naturals Algae Omega softgels, Doctor’s Best Vegan DHA from Algae softgels, Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA + EPA oil, and Source Natural’s Vegan Omega-3s softgels. Again, this list is not exhaustive. Softgels can be opened and added to food.
The amount of DHA + EPA recommended for cats and dogs varies a great deal from one source to the next. We recommend consulting your vet or an animal nutritionist for a recommended amount.
We encourage you to use organic ingredients! The health risks of genetically modified food and the herbicide glyphosate are just too great to ignore.
While most grocery stores will have most or all of the ingredients you need, check with your local co-op or natural grocer. Many will sell you large quantities from the bulk department and order ingredients they might not have. Asian grocery stores are a good place to find tofu and other ingredients.
For bulk legumes, grains, oils, flours, nutritional yeast, and more:
For organic Textured Soy Protein (TSP):
For non-GMO Textured Soy Protein (TSP):
For House Foods Organic Tofu, search sellers on their website:
House Foods Organic tofu is a great tofu option, available at Trader Joe’s and many other locations. Mori-Nu Silken Tofu is a non-GMO tofu that is also made without a magnesium coagulant.
While we don’t love big box stores (like Walmart and Target) or Amazon.com, those places are increasingly offering organic options. Thrive Market also seems to be a source of many of the ingredients needed in the Vegedog, Vegepup, and Vegecat recipes. We haven’t signed up to look into that further, but you can if you’re interested (Thrive Market Link).
About Health Challenges & Related Nutritional concerns (More coming soon...)
While Vegedog™ supplies the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids needed in the diet, we keep nutrient levels rather conservative. This allows some when dealing with health challenges and tailored diets.
The phosphorus level in the Vegedog™ recipes, on a dry matter basis, ranges from 0.5% and 0.52% in the Kibble recipes to 0.67% in the Lentil recipe. The Garbanzo recipe, at 0.53%, has the lowest phosphorus level of the wet food recipes. The AAFCO phosphorus minimum requirement is 0.4% on a dry matter basis. The AAFCO maximum 1.6%
The Vegedog™ supplement contains 50mg of phosphorous per 1 gram of supplement. A 20lb dog using 1 teaspoon per day would receive 225mg of phosphorous from Vegedog. The AAFCO phosphorous minimum for a 20lb dog eating 600 calories per day is 600mg.
Much of the phosphorous in the diet comes from the recipe ingredients. Generally, garbanzo beans, seitan, and rice are lower in phosphorous than lentils, soy products, and oats. Tofu is on the low side when compared to TVP. Some low phosphorous veggies include squash, sweet peppers, carrots, greens, and mushrooms. You will find a nutrient ranking tool at the following link, to search for foods that are low or high in phosphorous or other nutrients. Go to the Self Nutrition Data Ranking Tool.
If your dog is experiencing kidney problems, or any health issue, in addition to consulting your veterinarian, we encourage you to check out the 4th edition of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. The book is available in our online Shop, and though other booksellers, but should also be available though inter-library loan at your local library.
While Vegecat™ supplies the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids needed in the diet, we keep nutrient levels rather conservative. This allows some flexibility when dealing with health challenges and tailored diets.
The phosphorus level in the Vegecat™ recipes, on a dry matter basis, ranges from 0.52% in the Kibble recipe to 0.66% in the Lentil & Tempeh recipe. The AAFCO phosphorus minimum requirement is 0.5% on a dry matter basis.
The Vegecat™ supplement contains 23mg of phosphorous per 1 gram of supplement. A daily serving supplies 122mg of phosphorous and the daily minimum for a cat eating a 250 calorie diet is 312.5mg.
Much of the phosphorous in the diet comes from the recipe ingredients. Generally, garbanzo beans, seitan, and rice are lower in phosphorous than lentils, soy products, and oats. Tofu is on the low side when compared to TVP or Tempeh. Some low phosphorous veggies include squash, sweet peppers, carrots, greens, and mushrooms. You will find a nutrient ranking tool at the following link, to search for foods that are low or high in phosphorous or other nutrients. Go to SelfNutritionData Ranking Tool.
Our recipes lowest in phosphorous, under 0.6%, include: the kibble recipe, the garbanzo and tofu recipe, the rice and seitan recipe, the garbanzo and seitan recipe, and the rice and tofu recipe. If you remove food yeast from our recipes, and use a B complex vitamin in place of the food yeast*, the phosphorous level in the recipes drops roughly 0.08%. That puts the recipes listed above under the AAFCO minimum for phosphorous.
*To eliminate the food yeast add one 50 mg B-complex tablet to one week’s worth of food.
If your cat is experiencing kidney problems, or any problem, in addition to consulting your veterinarian, we encourage you to check out the 4th edition of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. The book is available in our online Shop, and though other booksellers, but should also be available though inter-library loan at your local library.
We always recommend consulting your veterinarian and/or an animal nutritionist when health concerns arise.
A client, Prad, contributed the following information.
Look for the following symptoms:
• Weak hind legs
• Feet slipping out from under him/her on the floor
• Walking down on the hocks in back and/or on the wrists in front
• Lying down more frequently, especially after short walks
If your diabetic cat does have these symptoms, he or she probably has neuropathy. If your cat is NOT diabetic, these symptoms are a sign of something else, and you should see your vet right away.
The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are often slight at first. But occasionally, diabetic neuropathy can flare up suddenly and affect specific nerves having a drastic impact. This is what happened to Jasper.
We’d noticed Jasper lying down every four or five feet on the way to his food dish, and once he got there he’d guzzle water like it was going out of style. This progressed to walking down on his hocks, at which point we took him to the vet. They had no idea what was causing this. One vet in our local practice said, “He’s too FAT! Get him on a diet, and he’ll be fine!”. We demanded blood work, and low and behold — Jasper was diabetic.
While a medical doctor naturally expects their diabetic patients to suffer from some form of neuropathy, veterinarians are often times clueless — as the previous comment indicates.
We began treating Jasper’s diabetes, but the neuropathy progressed to the point where Jasper could not walk at all. Our vets were out of their depth, and helpless to offer a reasonable explanation. The good thing was, our primary vet had no problem admitting this was the first major case of feline diabetes he’d ever dealt with, and that he had no previous experience with diabetic neuropathy. He had no qualms about the research we did, and was eager to hear about it. He was encouraging, thoughtful, and caring — a real God-send.
Is there a treatment?
Yes, we found one. METHYLCOBALAMIN, a form of vitamin B12, has shown great benefit to both cats and people with diabetic neuropathy and other neuromuscular diseases. Unlike regular B12 (cyanocobalamin), METHYLCOBALAMIN is active in spinal fluid. Because of this, it is able to help heal the damaged nerve cells and restore the signal between the brain and your cat’s weakened muscles. It is a very safe vitamin (it’s water-soluble — meaning your pet pees out what isn’t used — and studies have shown no side effects, even at very high doses).
Just 2 days after starting the methylcobalamin, Jasper stood up on his own. This was amazing, considering that he was unable to move at all before starting the vitamin. Within a week, Jasper went from being paralyzed — from his ribs to his back toes — to standing and walking. His recovery was complete after a few more months, and we were thrilled to see him walking, running, and jumping again, just as he had before he got sick.
What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for diabetic neuropathy depends largely on how well the underlying condition of diabetes is handled. Before you do anything else, get the diabetes under control. Treating diabetes may halt progression and improve symptoms of the neuropathy, but recovery can still be slow. So, be patient.
What research is being done?
Much research concerning METHYLCOBALAMIN and diabetic neuropathy has been done worldwide. Read it for yourself. Please note that we are NOT veterinarians, and strongly suggest you contact a knowledgeable veterinarian with any questions on the health of your pets. This site contains information based solely on our personal experience and research.
We can say this: within a very short time, Jasper’s legs and overall weakness were cured, and we based everything we tried on the peer-reviewed research we discovered in various medical journals.
Here is a listing of the articles we found most useful:
Ide H, Fujiya S, Asanuma Y, Tsuji M, Sakai H, Agishi Y.
“Clinical usefulness of intrathecal injection of Methylcobalamin in patients with diabetic neuropathy”
Clinical Therapeutics (1987) 9(2):183-92 Complete article
Yaqub BA, Siddique A, Sulimani R.
“Effects of methylcobalamin on diabetic neuropathy.”
Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery (1992) 94(2):105-11.
Kuwabara S, Nakazawa R, Azuma N, Suzuki M, Miyajima K, Fukutake T, Hattori T.
“Intravenous methylcobalamin treatment for uremic and diabetic neuropathy in chronic hemodialysis patients.”
Internal Medicine (1999) June;38(6):472-5.
Jasper, who weighed 14 lbs., received 3 milligrams of methylcobalamin daily. The tablets are “sublingual” (to be dissolved under the tongue), but as cats aren’t likely to cooperate with that, they can be given like any other pill. If your cat weighs 10 lbs. or more, we’d suggest starting with a 3 milligram dose. Smaller cats can start with half of that, or 1.5 milligrams.
Micrograms vs. Milligrams
If dosage abbreviations drive you nuts, understand that mcg = micrograms and MG = milligrams. So, 1000 mcg is the same as 1 MG. Some bottles of methylcobalamin list the dose in micrograms rather than milligrams, and this confuses people.
If your cat’s blood sugar is regulated (under 300 all the time), you should see results within 2 weeks or so. If you don’t, increase the dose — some cats are on as much as 10 MG per day with no side effects whatsoever. It’s important to remember that all cats are different — Jasper responded quickly, but some cats take longer and require more of the vitamin. Be patient, and don’t give up!
Jasper was totally limp and helpless, and we’re sure a lot of people thought we should have put him to sleep. Thank God we didn’t, because the methylcobalamin gave him back his strength and independence.
Note from James Peden:
Methylcobalamin is not expensive and it may be worth a try to see if your cat can benefit from it. The dose that is in the new formulations of Vegepet products is not a big dose, certainly not enough to be therapeutic. Most pet food companies don’t use methylcobalamin, but the more common cobalamin form of B12.