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I have a cat. Thought I'd just start out that way. For more than two years now we have been battling against what has been diagnosed as Diarrhea Predominant IBD. In fact, these symptoms were brought on by an adverse reaction to a combo-vaccine and exacerbated by an "improper" use of an antibiotic injection. Just like humans with IBS, IBS-D, or IBS-C, cats with IBD have extraordinarily low serum levels of hydroxy vitamin D-25, but unlike humans, exposure to the sun will not increase vitamin D levels in cats. The internet is so full of contradictory, conflicting, or flat out inaccurate information on veterinary use of Vitamin D, I thought posing my question here is best. This is a small cat – 6 pounds (she should be 7) and she is 11 years old. I'm not sure that size matters in this context (a million size matters jokes omitted…). I started her on 2000 iu once per day the first day. Seemed to improve stool frequency, not consistency. I went to 4000 the second day, and 6000 the third day. We are now at approximately 7000 iu once per day which is the same amount that I take personally (a 185 pound male). From experience, I know that with cats being aggressive with dosage is required for most supplements and herbal remedies. Clearly this is improving her condition without adverse effects yet. How high would you suggest I go on dosage? Should I split the daily amount into two or even three administrations (currently by oral syringe in a little broth for ease – she is a cat…)? Frequency of defecation is down to 3X per day but still quite "soupy" with small pieces of formed stool. Are there any other supplements that I should be giving her – she is not getting Vitamin K. She gets multiple strains of probiotic – limited as best we can to the ones that are histamine degrading. She gets a multivitamin (all natural sources) with some enzymes. She gets curcumin. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Bob Port Saint Lucie, FL

Asked by  Grayson on February 12, 2018

  •  Grayson on

    See title

    Answered by  Grayson on
  •  IAW on

    I have a dog!
    I am going to throw out a bunch of information and hope that it does not seem disjointed.
    Just an FYI, I believe there is a study going on “presently” that is trying to answer some of the conflicting information on Vitamin D and I forget if it is just dogs but maybe some of that will transfer over. Unfortunately, that does not help you now.
    If you haven’t already you can read this at https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/successful-treatment-for-feline-distemper/. What I find interesting is that after oral supplementation with Vitamin D and these are apparently outdoor cats too, this person said “After that, the sun was bright and hot, and he’s been okay.” They also said these cats are “mousers”. You have also probably seen this statement that “A cat acquires the essential vitamin D through licking its fur after exposing itself to the sun.” I do not know if there is scientific proof on that one. So either the person in that article has it right and it was sunlight (or something in the sunlight besides D) or maybe there is a lot of Vitamin D in a mouse that it gets to eat.
    So like humans who have IBS or other gastro issues, absorption could be an issue. Without a D test we do not know how much is actually being absorbed. I do not know how much money you have but this might answer a lot of questions if you can get the Vet to test the cat’s levels. (I believe you can even use the VDC test kits on animals.) When a human does not absorb well, then I usually point them to oral sprays which work very well, at least for humans. For example, if you did the test and the cat’s levels are very high, then the likely hood that more Vitamin D will help, is probably not correct and something else is missing or needed. If levels are low than yes you either need to give a lot more or try the spray.
    Now just to give you an idea on humans. We recommend 40iu per pound a day, to stay healthy. For Autistic children 150iu per pound. If you had the flu then take 50,000iu a day for several days or until well would translate to 333iu per pound. For the cat that would be 240iu, 840iu or 1998. Again, this is assuming you can absorb it properly.
    My opinion is that higher is not going to help unless you can prove non-absorption.
    In humans there are “pro” biotics and there are “pre” biotics. Since your cat gets “pro” maybe you want to research “pre” for cats if there is such a thing or this may be the “enzymes” and cat is not getting enough or the right one’s.
    My dog is an allergy dog and I have a “holistic” vet. At one time she said she would do a “fecal transplant” if I wanted to for the dog because that was showing great promise in the world of medicine. It may also be called microbiota transplantation. (No we did not have to do this.) You could “google” that. A while back my dog injured her shoulder and she gave me a supplement to give her. Turned out to be “high” amounts of manganese in the supplement. So I “googled” this and found that there is not enough of this in their diets and that is why there is a lot of ligament damage going on in dogs. Part of the point of this is to maybe research a little more on the mineral/vitamin side of things. I would do it under cat or human with IBS. Point is the cat may need more of a certain vitamin or mineral than what it is getting in food and/or the multi.
    I hope the cat was diagnosed correctly. See http://www.2ndchance.info/inflambowelcat.htm. I like this vet. I also like https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/dr-karen-becker.aspx. See http://search.mercola.com/results.aspx?q=inflammatory%20bowel%20cat.
    The above articles also touch on “diet” and IB. That was the one thing you did not mention. The only thing there to be careful of, I just figured out yesterday, if I buy canned food that is mostly all meat then sometimes they do not put any Vitamins or Minerals in them. I guess they are meant as “food toppers” so they assume the animal will be getting the vitamins and minerals from their dry kibble. Now my dog also gets Platinum Performance everyday so that probably makes up for this to a degree. Point is now I am going to also “rethink” how much she is getting especially in Zinc. Dogs and cats were meant to be carnivore’s. My dog used to have “allergy” issues and this is why I try and stay away from too many different ingredients and end up with meat and canned pumpkin added at the moment. She is either better now because of her diet, Vitamin D, thyroid medicine, small amount of hydrocortisone and/or platinum performance.
    If you know where to look on the internet you will find a lot of information on how vaccines may be harming our pets. The only one my dog gets is the rabies and that is every three years. Second to the last time she got it, her fur started falling out “again”. This last time I gave her 10,000iu the day before the shot or the day of (brain failing on my part) and she was “OK”. Unfortunately I went away for 2-3 days this fall and again it started to “fall out”. So may need to rethink more Vitamin D or something else for what I guess is stress induced.
    You said she gets “curcumin”. Did that help when you started it or did you start it at the same time as the D?
    I hope something in there helps and if you figure it out, come back and let me know!

    Answered by  IAW on
    •  Grayson on

      Your answer sounds like my brain every single day. It made me laugh. OK.
      I had her 25 hydroxy vitamin D tested. Normal range for a cat is 137-335 nMol/L.
      Lizzi’s level was 23…confirming my hypothesis that she was way low.

      I will repeat the blood work monthly to see if the oral D3 (Life Extension drops, 2000 iu/drop) are driving the levels up.

      I’ve been at this for several years now. I live on Google and have visited many sites including most of the ones you list. She gets a broad array of probiotics and I just ordered a custom blend (my formulation) of probiotic strains from Custom Probiotics. And you are correct, I believe, a single strain not frequwntly included in most commercial probiotic products, L. Reuteri, is responsible for moving D3 from the gut into the bloodstream.

      The sun thing – cats cannot synthesize Vitamin D like humans. The lanolin/fur licking thing might produce an insignificant amount, but cats are designed to get all of their D from eating prey. It’s a double whammy if there is malabsorption. Injections may be an option if high dose does not show improvement.

      Diagnosis is almost irrelevant. She had an adverse reaction to an unnecessary combo vaccination in 2015 – inflammatory cascade ensued but I got her to bounce back with probiotics (soil based) and colloidal silver. 18 months later she was given an injection of an antibiotic called Convenia (do not ever let any vet inject this into your companion) – it did get rid of her bacterial infection, but she has not has a solid bowel movement since. Lots of bad reports on this drug.

      She gets a serum derived bovine Immunoglobulin protein isolate that seems to have great results with diarrhea predominant IBS, vitamins, enzymes, pre/pro biotics, slippery elm (I’m still not sure about this one), Quercetin, curcumin, and now high dose vitamin D. There is little guidance on dosage for anything with cats. I have some coral calcium powder but I have to be careful with Magnesium levels and the laxative effect. I home cook chicken for her as the protein source. We have no appetite issues. She’s small to start with and is about 1 pound below her optimum weight of 7 pounds – we can’t seem to get past 6.1/6.2 but she’s not losing weight either. Her behavior is really great. Just this pesky diarrhea. The only thing I have not tried is a straight up diarrhea “medication”.

      So you see my brain is as crazy as your brain.

      About vaccines – ask your vet to do a blood titre prior to any vaccinations to see if your dog even needs to be vaccinated. Over-vaccination and over medication with antibiotics are the leading causes of chronic disease in companion animals and I imagine that’s also true for people.

      I’m going to hold her around 5000 iu/day in a single dose and see what happens. The L. Reuteri will get here in a few days. See what happens with my one cat case study.


      Answered by  Grayson on
    •  Grayson on

      We started a fecal transplant just over a week ago. Animal microbiome project at UC Berkeley in association with UC Davis college of Veterinary Medicine.

      Answered by  Grayson on
    •  IAW on


      Answered by  IAW on
  •  IAW on

    You made me laugh when you said “my one cat study”!
    I need some clarifications. So when did Lizzi’s level get tested? Is the 23 from just this week or long before? Was this 23 level even after you gave her the 2000, 4000, 6000 and 7000? Were these amounts given right before you contacted me? So in other words did you give Lizzi a total of 19,000iu, contacted me, went and got her levels checked and then contacted me again?
    Above when I talked about “oral sprays”, these are sprayed on the inside of the cheeks for absorption that way instead of in the gut. I just wanted to be clear in case I was misunderstood. If kitty will co-operate maybe you can try and spread one or two drops on the inside of her cheeks and one or two more in her food!
    The only other thing I can think of is for you not to wait an entire month before testing. So for example you give her the 5-6000iu a day for two full weeks and test. If her level has not moved or hardly moved, then maybe think about giving a lot more!
    Lizzi seems to be in good hands and her Daddy is taking good care of her!

    Answered by  IAW on
    •  Grayson on

      Sorry for the delay. I had her tested first and her level was 23 when it should be at a minimum around 140. I have been giving her 5,000-8,000 iu per day for almost two weeks. I will schedule a retest for her next week. Vitamin D is an extra test that you must order separately – this was the first time she has been tested so I don’t know what levels were before or before she came to live with us. Needless to say I have been warned about toxicity from too many uninformed people. Curiously, her serum Calcium levels were normal despite low vitamin D. Makes me wonder if the test was not done correctly – Ha or the calcium test was not done correctly. We humans are so flawed. I’ll bet I could get a drop or two in the pouch between her lip and gum. I’ll update when those test results come back.

      Answered by  Grayson on
  •  IAW on

    It is kind-of a wonder that her calcium levels are OK. Just keep this in mind. I assume just like humans that a calcium test only measures the small amount (in humans that is 1-2%) of total body stores. So you can actually be calcium or any mineral deficient and it does not show up on blood work. At this point anyone also needs to know the symptoms of low calcium or another example, low magnesium. When I looked them up for “cat”, at least at this point, you did not mention Lizzi having any of these symptoms. This thought lead me to the following.
    From https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ktudor/2012/nov/nutritional_strategies_for_inflammatory_bowel_disease_in_dogs_cats-29297Zinc. You can read the whole article but it says a deficiency in zinc “exacerbates diarrhea”.
    Please keep me updated on Lizzi!

    Answered by  IAW on

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