Jimmy is about nineteen years old. Early in 2016 he was diagnosed with diabetes, unsurprising because he was overweight.
In June 2016, he had a major setback with a gastrointestinal problem that caused him to become dehydrated. We had noticed about a week beforehand that he was starting to walk on his hocks and just short distances before having to rest. Jimmy was not able to walk at all after a night on a drip to be re-hydrated.
The condition is well-known in diabetes and is called ‘diabetic neuropathy’, ie nerve damage.
The vet confirmed that nothing could be done to reverse diabetic neuropathy, that euthanasia was the sole option available. We did not give up.
No scientific studies have been done but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence online about the benefits of methylcobalamin or methyl-B12 to help animals with diabetic neuropathy. We ordered bottles of sub-lingual methylcobalamin pills and began to administer them immediately. The pills are soluble in a little water and mixed with Webbox Lick-e-Lix or are easily crushed to be sprinkled on food. They are pink and appear to be flavourless to cats.
Within two hours of his first dose, Jimmy was able to stand again. The next day, he was walking very short distances on his toes and, after two days, he was walking further and jumping on the sofa. Four months later, Jimmy runs occasionally, even up the stairs. His back legs are sometimes a little wobbly, although he appears not to be in pain, just frustrated at not being able to move as fast as he would like.
Methylcobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 that is found in plant and animal tissues, whereas cyanocobalamin is chemically synthesised. As the name suggests, methylcobalamin has a methyl group, rather than a cyanide group, attached to the molecule. Methylcobalamin is the specific form of B12 needed for nervous system health. The vitamin is water-soluble, therefore any excess is excreted in the urine, meaning that you cannot overdose on it.
We started Jimmy on one half of a 500 mcg pill, twice a day. (500 mcg is equal to 0.5 mg.) Now, four months later, he has six x 500 mcg pills a day. Whether he needs that amount or more, we do not know. We do know, however, that any excess is doing him no harm.
Please note that we are not veterinarians. We are simply reporting the facts of Jimmy’s recovery. Jimmy’s vet is fully aware of the treatment that he is receiving and has passed on the information above to other clients whose cats have diabetic neuropathy. We are advised that the diabetes has to be well-managed in the first instance.
It is important to purchase methylcobalamin and not cyanocobalamin.