Cats are prone to diabetes, and one of the common side effects of this disease is peripheral neuropathy. It is a progressive and degenerative disorder that results in damage to the body’s neurons.
Peripheral neuropathy is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, which occurs due to a cat’s high glucose levels and concurrent treatment with diabetes medications.
Vitamin B12, also known as methylcobalamin, is required for maturation of the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is a protective layer around the neurons. The deficiency of this vitamin results in an abrupt halt of neuron development and growth.
Some of the symptoms include numbness in the digits, loss of sensation, and a strange gait. The hind legs of felines are most affected, and they develop a peculiar walking posture. Cats will walk on their elbow joints rather than on their paws as their motor neurons are damaged.
Management of vitamin B12 is more of a synergic treatment. You must control the cat’s blood glucose levels and provide an appropriate diet rich in vitamin B12. While it is difficult to reverse existing damage, its progression can be checked.
Cats should get 30 minutes of exercise per day. Proper exercise, alongside an appropriate diet, will help to control high glucose levels in the blood. The diet must contain a high amount of protein and fibre, and low carbohydrates.
A vitamin B12 supplement is also required; while this vitamin is found in foods like meat, fish and dairy, it is only recommended to feed a high-quality commercial diet. Dairy products, for example, will raise the cat’s blood sugar levels. Be sure not to overfeed your cat in an effort to increase their B12 levels.