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Cobalamin and Folate Deficiencies in Cats and Dogs

It is common practice to utilize the term “B12/folate” as if it were one, which makes sense when looking at their biological pathways. Both are required for the methylation of homocysteine to methionine. However when discussing sources and deficiencies, they are very different.

Whereas the opportunities for cobalamin deficiency are numerous, folate deficiencies are far less common. In a recent study (1) looking at 150 cats with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), 77% exhibited hypocobalaminemia compared to only a 5% folate deficiency.

In another study (2) of 136 dogs with generalized chronic enteropathies (inclusive of IBD, infection, cancer, EPI, other) 41% had hypocobalaminemia whereas <1% had folate deficiency.

VDI recommends B12 testing in all dogs and cats exhibiting GI signs both prior to supplementation and post-supplementation to ensure sufficiency has been attained.


  1. Xenoulis G (2016) Feline exocrine pancreatic insufficiency: a retrospective study of 150 cases.  JVIM
  2. Volkmann M (2017) Chronic diarrhea in dogs – retrospective study in 136 cases. JVIM