Prevalence and Clinical Significance of Cobalamin (vitamin B12) Deficiency in Cats with Lymphoma

The purpose of this study is to find out how often cats with lymphoma, a type of cancer, are deficient in cobalamin (vitamin B12). Additional purposes include looking for a relationship between the level of cobalamin and methylmalonic acid (MMA) in the blood and the type of lymphoma, weight and body condition of the cat at the time lymphoma is diagnosed, and changes in weight over the first month of treatment.

Cobalamin is not currently routinely checked in cats with lymphoma. A blood sample will be taken one time to measure cobalamin and MMA levels. We will also perform body condition and muscle mass scoring. This is done as part of the physical examination by feeling for the amount of muscle and fat present, and evaluating the body conformation (size and shape). 

Requirements

  • Your cat has been diagnosed with any type of lymphoma
  • Your cat has not yet been treated for lymphoma (including steroids)
  • Your cat has not been diagnosed with pancreatic insufficiency or B12 deficiency
  • Your cat has not received a B12 injection within the past 14 days

Benefits

  • Blood work to measure vitamin B12 and MMA levels
  • Body condition and muscle mass scoring

If your cat is found to have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you will be offered supplemental treatment to address this. The cost of the treatment, however, is not covered by the study. All study-related blood work and exams are covered by the study. The study will require one visit to Penn Vet if you decide not to pursue chemotherapy. If you do pursue chemotherapy, there will be a second visit one month following initial treatment to record body weight, body condition and muscle mass score.

For more information, please contact the VCIC at 215-573-0302 or vcic@vet.upenn.edu.