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Gastrointestinal

This is a Gastrointestinal condition.

Cobalamin Malabsorption

What is Cobalamin Malabsorption?

This is a treatable gastrointestinal disease where dogs cannot absorb cobalamin, often causing them to be runty with poor energy levels. Cobalamin is required for synthesis of certain amino acids and is an important factor for a number of other metabolic processes. Dogs cannot generate their own cobalamin but must consume it in their diet. However, because dogs with IGS cannot absorb cobalamin from their meals, they usually present to the vet as puppies for being runty and having a poor energy level. They also display a number of abnormalities on physical exams including low red blood cell counts and abnormally slow heart rate. If left untreated, cobalamin deficiency can also cause neurologic effects, which could manifest as vomiting or seizures. Fortunately, IGS is treatable with regular injections of cobalamin. Early treatment is associated with the best outcome. IGS has been described in a number of dog breeds but the genetics have only been defined in the Border Collie and the Beagle; Embark tests for both of these mutations.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

Affected puppies are usually runty and have poor energy levels. If not caught at this time, signs can progress to vomiting and seizures.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Signs first appear in puppies.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Laboratory testing will show a low red blood cell count. On physical exam, an abnormally slow heart rate will be noted. Genetic testing, clinical signs and additional blood tests are used to diagnosis this disorder.

How is this condition treated?

Fortunately, IGS is treatable with regular injections of cobalamin. Early treatment is associated with the best outcome.

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