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RVC provides information on thiamine deficiency
Tabby cat
Before exhibiting the typical neurological signs, cats may initially present with decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Recent cases linked to commercial cat food

Following a spate of thiamine deficiency cases linked to commercial cat food, the RVC has published information on diagnosing and treating the condition.

Earlier this month, Pets at Home recalled four of its dry cat food products after tests confirmed they contain lower levels of thiamine (vitamin B) than is specified in the recipe.

The retailer became aware of the problem after three cats were presented to the RVC displaying signs of thiamine deficiency. The College documented classic changes to the brain on MRI scans and noted a rapid clinical response to thiamine administration.

‘Our investigation found a common denominator in that each cat was being fed the same commercial cat food,’ the RVC writes on its website.

Because early recognition is important, the College are advising owners to seek help from a vet as soon as possible if they suspect their pet may be affected.

‘All three cats treated at our hospital survived, but one patient has persistent neurological abnormalities six months after initial diagnosis that will likely be permanent as a result of the structural damage to the brain caused by thiamine deficiency,’ they explain.

‘The neurological signs associated with thiamine deficiency in cats can appear within 30-40 days after transitioning to a thiamine-deficient diet, and the clinical course tends to be sudden and rapidly progressive.’

Typical signs of thiamine deficiency include problems with balance, mental depression progressing to coma, difficulty keeping the head held upright, seizures/fitting, pupil dilation, problems with vision and head tremors.

The RVC adds that, before exhibiting the typical neurological signs, cats may initially present with decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting.

When treating cats with thiamine deficiency, the RVC advise a rapid administration of injectable thiamine, followed by a transition to oral thiamine supplements for one month and changing the diet to a different high-quality cat food.

‘If cases of thiamine deficiency are recognised and treated rapidly during the early stages of disease, full clinical recovery is possible,’ the College continues.

‘However, some cats may end up with permanent neurologic deficits or never recover from the initial presented clinical signs, and so rapid recognition of the condition is important to improve the chances of full recovery for these cats.’

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Born Free video highlights how humans are to blame for COVID-19

News Story 1
 Wildlife charity Born Free has released a video emphasising the importance of changing the ways in which humans treat wildlife in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future.

The video, narrated by founder patron Joanna Lumley OBE, says: "To deal with the very immediate threat of another global catastrophe, we have to focus on ending the destruction and conversion of natural habitats and the devastating impact of the wildlife trade.

"The vast majority of these viruses originated in wild animals before infecting us. Destroying and exploiting nature puts us in closer contact with wildlife than ever before."

Born Free has compiled an online resource with information on how to take action and improve protections for wildlife here.

To view the video, please click here.

Images (c) Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 

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RVC opens 2021 Summer Schools applications

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has opened applications for its 2021 Summer Schools, with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 invited to apply.

Taking place between July and August 2021, the event gives budding vets from all backgrounds first-hand insight into what it's like to study at the Campus.

Much of this year's content is likely to be delivered virtually, including online lectures and practical demonstrations, but the RVC hopes to welcome each of the participants to campus for at least one day to gain some hands-on experience.

For more information about the Schools and to apply, visit: rvc.uk.com/SummerSchools Applications close on the 2 March 2021.