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Note for Pet Owners

This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Vitamin supplementation to pets is widely practised, yet there is little scientific evidence to support it. In this article we shall review the importance of vitamin B complex in renal failure patients. 

The vitamin B complex vitamins are water soluble vitamins which (except for vitamin B12) are poorly stored within the body, and they are excreted in the urine. A continuous dietary supply is needed to meet the body's requirements.

In human renal failure patients deficiency of two of the vitamin B complex (folate and pyridoxine) has been reported.

The vitamin B requirements of animals with renal failure have not been determined, however it is likely that animals with renal failure have an increased requirement because of:

  • Decreased intake
    • Decreased appetite - resulting in reduced - possibly insufficient - food and vitamin B intake 
    • Vomiting - loss of food including vitamin B
  • Increased loses
    • Diarrhoea - loss of nutrients including vitamin B
    • Polyuria - resulting in increased urinary losses of vitamin B
  • Increased needs
    • Animals in renal failure are often in a catabolic state due to protein and other nutrient losses in urine, and other factors. Many of the B vitamins have an important role in the  metabolic processes involved in energy production in the body. For example four water soluble B complex vitamins -  thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B6 are all required for the energy-producing Krebs citric acid cycle.

In view of these considerations, and the fact that excess vitamin B supplementation is not associated with side-effects, the administration of soluble vitamin supplementation (in the food or as separate supplements)  to patients with renal failure seems to be a rational decision.


Updated October 2013