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Iron Supplements For Cats. Supplements for cats with iron deficiencies can greatly help to reduce problems in a cat that is iron deficient. Under normal conditions, iron is ingested through normal dietary measures. Iron, in combination with copper, is necessary for a cat to produce hemoglobin, which is the agent that carries oxygen in the red blood cells and distributes it throughout the body. When a cat is iron deficient, a condition known as anemia typically develops and some obvious signs of oxygen deficiency will start to become apparent. Likewise, there are many cells throughout the body that depend on iron to help them carryout their normal functions. When a cat does not ingest enough iron, a variety of systems throughout the body can potentially be affected. While most cats can get their daily requirement of iron through meats and fish, many older cats can have digestive troubles which will affect their ability to retain iron.

Iron Supplements For Cats

This is why iron supplements for cats can be greatly beneficial to helping them maintain the required iron balance in their bodies. Liqui-Tinic 4x Flavored Vitamin and Iron Supplement Liqui-Tinic is a liquid oral supplement used to help promote iron absorption in cats that are anemic or are close to being anemic due to low iron counts in the blood. In addition to supplying iron, this supplement also helps to provide Vitamin B, liver and amino acids—all of which are required to help maintain acceptable levels of iron. Liqui-Tinic usually gets very good reviews on how well it helps cats to control anemia or simply avoid anemic situations. Liqui-Tinic is a flavored liquid and most cats tend to find the taste agreeable even though it can sometimes be difficult to get them to take any type of medication. For a cat that is normal in weight, roughly 7 to 15 pounds, the recommended dosage is one milliliter every 8 to 12 hours. There are also very few side effects known to occur in cats with this iron supplement. Tomlyn Nutri-Cal High Calorie Dietary Supplement Nutri-Calis not considered a direct source of iron supplementation; however the effect that it has on a cat is directly related to ensuring that a cat gets the recommended amount of iron in his daily diet. Nutri-Cal is a supplement that is used to induce eating in cats that are picky or are experiencing a loss of appetite due to other medical conditions. When a cat has a particular medical condition that alters his ability or desire to eat, he can experience a significant loss of iron as he becomes nutrient-deficient. Nutri-Cal is a gel that is applied to the mouth and whisker area of a cat. While most cats like the taste so much that they will consume it as a treat, it is still natural for a cat to lick off anything on his face. Nutri-Cal does contain iron, but the purpose behind using it is to entice a cat to eat his normal diet so that he can resume his normal intake of iron and other nutrients.
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At Angell Animal Medical Center, the majority of cases of iron deficiency anemia are due to chronic hemorrhage from gastrointestinal tumors. Diagnosis of uncomplicated and chronic iron deficiency is based on classic hematologic and biochemical abnormalities such as changes in erythrocyte indices (microcytic, hypochromic anemia) and decreased serum ferritin concentration (table 2). Detection of early iron deficiency, before the appearance of those abnormalities, or iron deficiency in the presence of other diseases (e.g., neoplasia and inflammation) is a diagnostic challenge.4,5 In uncomplicated iron deficiency, the serum iron concentration and ferritin are typically low and the TIBC (total iron binding capacity) is usually high. Because iron is preferentially shunted to hemoglobin (Hb) formation, typical hematologic changes do not occur until late in iron deficiency, long after detrimental effects have occurred. Also, serum ferritin is an acute phase reactant and concentrations may be increased with certain neoplastic and inflammatory diseases, which may make diagnosis of concurrent iron deficiency challenging. Although the immunologic assay for canine serum ferritin has been available for over a decade, its value in detecting iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in chronically ill dogs is not reported. Many clinicians consider the evaluation of bone marrow aspirates or biopsies for the presence or absence of stainable iron as a sensitive and reliable test for iron status assessment in dogs. However, some hematologists consider this invasive procedure to be subjective and imprecise.

Iron Supplements For Cats

Thus, the true prevalence of iron deficiency may be unknown, and dogs with early iron deficiency masked by concurrent disease may remain undiagnosed and untreated. Accurate diagnosis of early or complicated iron deficiency is made more difficult by the highly variable results obtained for biochemical markers of iron in serum; including serum iron (Fe) concentration, TIBC, and percent saturation of transferrin. Serum Fe concentration is affected by several factors such as time of day, corticosteroid administration, and consumption of meat.4  Reticulocyte indices may be helpful in evaluating for possible causes of anemia.  Fry et al demonstrated that reticulocyte indices differed by greater than 3-fold between healthy dogs and dogs with IDA.5  Steinberg et al demonstrated that low mean Hb content of reticulocytes and low reticulocyte MCV are associated with hematologic and serum biochemical abnormalities indicative of iron deficiency.4  Both these indices hold promise as non invasive, cost effective measures of iron status assessment in dogs.4 Further determination of normal reference ranges for reticulocyte indices and comparison between those indices and other causes of regenerative anemias are indicated before it is available for clinical use. Small intestinal malabsorption can also promote IDA. Iron deficiency anemia secondary to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been reported in dogs; therefore, determination of serum iron, ferritin, and TIBC may be worthwhile in anemic dogs with IBD.6  In one study, serum iron concentrations in 3 of 6 dogs and 3 of 7 cats with chronic renal failure (CRF) were below the reference interval (transferrin saturation less than 20%).7 Whether this is related primarily to inadequate intake and absorption of iron or increased losses of iron due to GI blood loss is unclear.7  It is important to distinguish anemia secondary to iron deficiency from anemia of inflammation since only iron deficiency should be supplemented with iron. When erythropoietin (EPO) therapy is used in CRF patients, the demand for iron during stimulated erythropoiesis is high; therefore, iron supplementation is recommended for patients receiving EPO.8
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Function of iron As its primary function, iron combines with Copper (Cu) and protein to form hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Iron also is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Dietary sources of iron Iron is found in liver, lean meats, fish, whole grains, and legumes. Most commercial pet foods contain a highly available form of supplemental iron to help meet dietary requirements. Daily iron requirements Cats and dogs should receive 36.4 mg of iron daily for every pound of food they eat (on a dry matter basis). The iron should be in a form other than iron oxide or iron carbonate. Iron absorption Iron is absorbed primarily from the small intestine. The body needs a constant supply of iron since red blood cells only live about 110 days and then die and need to be replaced. Iron deficiency A deficiency in iron results in the development of anemia (lower than normal number of red blood cells). In iron deficiency anemia, the size of each red blood cell and the amount of hemoglobin it contains are also reduced. Symptoms of anemia include decreased growth rate, weakness, and increased susceptibility to stress or disease. Animals with iron deficiency may also develop constipation. Kittens and puppies can be born with lower than normal stores of iron if their mothers did not receive adequate iron during pregnancy. Feeding supplemental iron to the mother while nursing can not make up for this lack of reserves since this treatment does not increase the iron content of the milk. Kittens and puppies with this condition often develop iron deficiency anemia during the nursing period. Iron toxicity Iron toxicity, itself, is extremely rare; however, too much iron in the diet can interfere with the absorption of phosphorous.
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The first line of therapy for iron deficiency anemia is parenteral iron administration. Iron preparations administered intravenously may cause anaphylactic reactions, thus the intramuscularly (IM) route is preferred.13 A small dose should be injected IM to test for hypersensitivity reactions. A maximal dose of 2 mls can be administered daily.14 Large doses of injectable iron may discolor the serum brown which can cause falsely elevated serum bilirubin values and falsely decrease serum calcium values.13 Iron deficiency in dogs is addressed first by administering iron dextran once at 10-20 mg/kg IM and then continuing therapy with oral iron. In cats the dose for prevention of transient iron deficiency anemia in kittens is 50 mg of iron dextran IM at 18 days of age. The dose for adjunctive therapy with EPO treatment is 50 mg of iron dextran IM every 3 to 4 weeks or daily oral supplementation. Oral iron therapy usually follows injectable iron (the first line therapy for patients with IDA) (table 4). Oral iron absorption varies widely based on the type of diet and other factors. Sustained release iron formulations are not recommended as initial therapy because they reduce the amount of iron that is presented for the absorption by the duodenal villi.1 Gastrointestinal absorption of elemental iron is enhanced in the presence of an acidic gastric environment. This can be accomplished through concurrent intake of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).1, 13 Most common side effects of oral iron supplementation are gastrointestinal upset (mostly vomiting) and constipation. Division of the daily dose may reduce gastrointestinal upset. Although iron absorption occurs more readily when taken on an empty stomach, this increases the likelihood of stomach upset.1 Oral iron may result in black discoloration of feces and cause false positive reactions with the guaiac occult blood test.13 A common product used for iron supplementation is Pet-Tinic (Pfizer Animal Health). It contains 12.5 mg of iron per tablespoon. For adequate iron supplementation at time of iron deficiency, a cat will need to ingest 4 – 8 tablespoons of the liquid per day. Many cats will not tolerate oral supplementation, thus injections of iron dextran may be required in some cases.13

Iron Supplements For Cats

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