Role of Hypocobalaminemia in Acute GI Disease

ArticleLast Updated March 20241 min read
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Mattavelli C, Willems A, Gomez Soto E, Chong SK. Hypocobalaminaemia in dogs with acute gastrointestinal diseases. J Small Anim Pract. 2024;65(2):104-112. doi:10.1111/jsap.13699  

Research Note

Cobalamin (ie, vitamin B12) is an essential micronutrient routinely supplemented in commercial companion animal diets. Hypocobalaminemia has been identified in dogs with chronic GI disease and young dogs with acute gastroenteritis.

This retrospective study investigated the prevalence of hypocobalaminemia in dogs (n = 33) of varying ages presented to an emergency clinic for acute GI disease (AGID). Medical records indicated 17 dogs were diagnosed with AGID of unknown etiology, 7 with parvovirus, and 9 with other diseases. Most dogs were presented with vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia, with duration of signs ranging from several hours to 16 days. Prevalence of hypocobalaminemia (<271.1 pg/mL [200 pmol/L]) was 30.3%; an additional 18.2% of dogs had low normal cobalamin levels (271.1-399.8 pg/mL [200-295 pmol/L]). No significant relationship was found between hypocobalaminemia or low normal cobalamin and disease severity or outcome. Although low and low normal cobalamin were common in dogs with AGID, therapeutic significance and implications for prognosis require further study.