Checking B12 Levels/At Home Injections?

ty3535

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Hi!
My cat has IBD and sometimes goes through periods of small weight loss. He’s getting older so I’m even more worried about nutrient absorption. Today I had him to the vet for some labs and I asked for his B12 levels to be checked (for the first time) and I was pretty surprised to hear he’d need to spend all day at the vet to do multiple blood draws, and it was around $200. Are both of these things normal? It honestly wasn’t the price but he absolutely hates staying there and I just didn’t want to put him through it, especially since he’s been fasting since midnight because of his other labs. The other thing that was discouraging was that my vet said I wasn’t able to give the injections at home if his levels were low, and he’d have to be brought in for the injections even though I’ve read quite a bit about people giving their cats the B12 shots at home.
 

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I don't know if my answer will help, but my almost 16 year old boy has been battling IBD for 3 years so I totally hear you about everything. Spending all day there for bloodwork seems odd to me, and doesn't sound normal. Usually, they'd draw blood one time at the checkup appointment, you go home and wait for the results and act on it from there. 15 minute appointment.

Mine has been on prednisalone for 3 years and it's kept the inflammation at bay except for a few flare ups. Recently he started losing weight again so we are throwing in B12 injections to help. Every week for a month and then maybe monthly maintenance after that. He seems to have pepped up so it appears to have been a favorable choice for mine.

Since I live alone, I have nobody to help me hold my kitties down to give them injections, so I drive mine to the vet every time to let them do it. I don't mind mind doing this though, but I know some peoples schedules are different.

Good luck!
 

denice

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My IBD cat went on B12 injections the last 2 or 3 years of his life and I gave them at home. They can be given just under the skin on the scruff of their neck. When he first went on them the vet tech showed me how to do it and I did it while she watched me. They don't go in a muscle or a vein just under the skin.
 

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Hi. I have never heard of any such thing regarding an all day stay required at the vet because of a B-12 blood test. However, there are members on here who have had the B-12 testing done, as well as many who have administered the associated shots at home.

As denice denice said, B-12 is injected under the skin, just as insulin is when cats need it, so it is very 'doable' at home (of course, depending on your cat's demeanor and your willingness to do an injection). Or, you could end up going the route, as offered by O Ocean Planet .

Hopefully, you will soon hear more first hand experiences from other members!!
 

Ocean Planet

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By the way, I forgot to say that my vet did offer to let me do the injections at home so most should let you. The other reason I didn't opt to do them at home is during Covid, they won't let people in the office so I can't get close to anyone to be "trained" or practice with someone there how to give them. I guess there are videos, but it's not the same. Sigh....
 

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There's no need for a cat to stay at the vet all day for a B12 level check. The vet just needs one blood sample and a B12 test can be run on that, along with regular blood work. Call the vet and double check.

B12 injections can be given at home. My IBD cat gets B12 injections monthly. I get syringes and the B12 from the vet. I use 1 ml syringes with 25 gauge needles. My cat holds more or less still for the injection. Some people find that giving the injection while the cat is distracted with a meal or treat helps.

If your vet insists that only he / she can give your cat the B12 injection (because the vet can make $$ off you?), it might be time to find a new vet.
 
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ty3535

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Thank you all so much! The person who told me he’d need to stay all day was the vet tech, so I’m going to confirm/question why he’d have needed to stay the entire day. I’m also curious as to why she won’t allow me to give him the injections at home. He has such a long health history that I hate to do it but I may need to look into finding a new vet.
 
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ty3535

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Okay, so I just talked to another vet tech who verified that he doesn’t need to be there all day and that the only issue is that they have to send the blood to a lab in Texas which seems weird (I’m in PA). So I’m bummed he has to go back today but super relieved to be able to get the level checked. When the vet calls with all of his results tomorrow I’ll double check about the injections at home and update. Thank you all so much!
 
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ty3535

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There's no need for a cat to stay at the vet all day for a B12 level check. The vet just needs one blood sample and a B12 test can be run on that, along with regular blood work. Call the vet and double check.

B12 injections can be given at home. My IBD cat gets B12 injections monthly. I get syringes and the B12 from the vet. I use 1 ml syringes with 25 gauge needles. My cat holds more or less still for the injection. Some people find that giving the injection while the cat is distracted with a meal or treat helps.

If your vet insists that only he / she can give your cat the B12 injection (because the vet can make $$ off you?), it might be time to find a new vet.
I had the same concern about only wanting more money which is ridiculous since I’ve spent thousands of dollars on him at this practice. I’ll listen to what her reasons are and if she doesn‘t have a good one other than “we don‘t do that here” I’ll definitely be looking for another vet. It makes me nervous switching because he’s had so much done there or I would’ve changed vets awhile ago.
 

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Maybe your vet doesn't have the capability to run a B12 check in house? UPenn has a vet school. I imagine they can run specialized tests for vets upon request :think:
 
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ty3535

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My vet actually went to UPenn! But nope, the vet tech said they have to send it to the Texas A&M laboratories.
 

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For a B-12 test, that should be a simple blood draw and send him home. The one that I can think of that would require him to stay in the office all day would be a bile acid test (for suspected liver damage.) Although I believe even that one would only require a couple hours--a fasting sample and a post-meal sample.

B-12 shots can be given at home. If you're okay with doing it, it's best to do it yourself because the anxiety and stress on yourself and the cat of taking him in weekly would likely cause you to skip them.

My Krista has had suspected IBD for a couple of years now. I gave her B-12 shots to get her through pancreatitis. But then I got lazy about keeping up with them because she seemed to not need them. This year, her IBD seems to have progressed to lymphoma. She lost a lot of weight and steroids wasn't working with her. I found a Dr at the cat-only practice I switched to who agreed with me that the diagnosis (an invasive biopsy) was riskier than the drug. We got her on chemotherapy and that seemed to help quite a lot. But she would still have "incidents". It wasn't until I bucked up, got over my own hesitations, and resumed weekly B-12 shots that those incidents are becoming fewer and further between. She still hasn't regained weight but we're also only three shots into a six week protocol. She does seem to be in better shape since I resumed the B-12 shots. And we're both getting used to them again. I make sure not to rush it so that I'm actually confident it's going in her and not just spraying the back of her neck. And I make sure she always gets a treat after which makes it easier for her to sit there and take it. Funny enough, I tried to make her lunch yesterday the reward and she was having none of it. She wouldn't touch her lunch and followed me back into the kitchen until I gave her a proper reward. Then she polished off lunch like some other cat ate it while we weren't looking.
 
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ty3535

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For a B-12 test, that should be a simple blood draw and send him home. The one that I can think of that would require him to stay in the office all day would be a bile acid test (for suspected liver damage.) Although I believe even that one would only require a couple hours--a fasting sample and a post-meal sample.

B-12 shots can be given at home. If you're okay with doing it, it's best to do it yourself because the anxiety and stress on yourself and the cat of taking him in weekly would likely cause you to skip them.

My Krista has had suspected IBD for a couple of years now. I gave her B-12 shots to get her through pancreatitis. But then I got lazy about keeping up with them because she seemed to not need them. This year, her IBD seems to have progressed to lymphoma. She lost a lot of weight and steroids wasn't working with her. I found a Dr at the cat-only practice I switched to who agreed with me that the diagnosis (an invasive biopsy) was riskier than the drug. We got her on chemotherapy and that seemed to help quite a lot. But she would still have "incidents". It wasn't until I bucked up, got over my own hesitations, and resumed weekly B-12 shots that those incidents are becoming fewer and further between. She still hasn't regained weight but we're also only three shots into a six week protocol. She does seem to be in better shape since I resumed the B-12 shots. And we're both getting used to them again. I make sure not to rush it so that I'm actually confident it's going in her and not just spraying the back of her neck. And I make sure she always gets a treat after which makes it easier for her to sit there and take it. Funny enough, I tried to make her lunch yesterday the reward and she was having none of it. She wouldn't touch her lunch and followed me back into the kitchen until I gave her a proper reward. Then she polished off lunch like some other cat ate it while we weren't looking.
For a B-12 test, that should be a simple blood draw and send him home. The one that I can think of that would require him to stay in the office all day would be a bile acid test (for suspected liver damage.) Although I believe even that one would only require a couple hours--a fasting sample and a post-meal sample.

B-12 shots can be given at home. If you're okay with doing it, it's best to do it yourself because the anxiety and stress on yourself and the cat of taking him in weekly would likely cause you to skip them.

My Krista has had suspected IBD for a couple of years now. I gave her B-12 shots to get her through pancreatitis. But then I got lazy about keeping up with them because she seemed to not need them. This year, her IBD seems to have progressed to lymphoma. She lost a lot of weight and steroids wasn't working with her. I found a Dr at the cat-only practice I switched to who agreed with me that the diagnosis (an invasive biopsy) was riskier than the drug. We got her on chemotherapy and that seemed to help quite a lot. But she would still have "incidents". It wasn't until I bucked up, got over my own hesitations, and resumed weekly B-12 shots that those incidents are becoming fewer and further between. She still hasn't regained weight but we're also only three shots into a six week protocol. She does seem to be in better shape since I resumed the B-12 shots. And we're both getting used to them again. I make sure not to rush it so that I'm actually confident it's going in her and not just spraying the back of her neck. And I make sure she always gets a treat after which makes it easier for her to sit there and take it. Funny enough, I tried to make her lunch yesterday the reward and she was having none of it. She wouldn't touch her lunch and followed me back into the kitchen until I gave her a proper reward. Then she polished off lunch like some other cat ate it while we weren't looking.
He had the invasive lymphoma test but only because he swallowed about 10 of my hair ties over an indeterminate amount of time and had to have full abdominal surgery to remove them (he also had somehow eaten a really large rubber band, which I don’t own any of, and it was only later we came to realize it was the bands that come with your mail to hold it together). I’m very very curious why the vet won’t allow me to do it at home. It’ll be one of my first questions when she calls with the results tomorrow. Enzos weight is still good, he’s at 12 pounds 11 ounces now, but he’s been gradually losing ounces and I want to stop it before it turns into something worse or before he loses too much weight.
 

daftcat75

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He had the invasive lymphoma test but only because he swallowed about 10 of my hair ties over an indeterminate amount of time and had to have full abdominal surgery to remove them (he also had somehow eaten a really large rubber band, which I don’t own any of, and it was only later we came to realize it was the bands that come with your mail to hold it together). I’m very very curious why the vet won’t allow me to do it at home. It’ll be one of my first questions when she calls with the results tomorrow. Enzos weight is still good, he’s at 12 pounds 11 ounces now, but he’s been gradually losing ounces and I want to stop it before it turns into something worse or before he loses too much weight.
B-12 shots aren't that hard. You can watch youtube videos on it. It's best to find a vet or a tech who will walk you through your first one. But you could probably get the gist of it just as well off the videos.
 
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ty3535

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B-12 shots aren't that hard. You can watch youtube videos on it. It's best to find a vet or a tech who will walk you through your first one. But you could probably get the gist of it just as well off the videos.
Yeah I definitely feel totally comfortable with it it’s just that my vet allegedly said I’d need to bring him in to get them, that I couldn‘t do them at home even if I wanted to. That was relayed via a vet tech so I’ll ask tomorrow to be sure.
 

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I’m surprised they even want to draw blood and send it off to check his levels before trying the shots, B12 is inexpensive and easy to administer and it’s water soluble so whatever excess isn’t needed by the body just gets peed out.
 
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ty3535

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I’m surprised they even want to draw blood and send it off to check his levels before trying the shots, B12 is inexpensive and easy to administer and it’s water soluble so whatever excess isn’t needed by the body just gets peed out.
Yeah I thought the same. It was almost $200 just for the b12 test, plus all his other labs/urine and he had an abdominal injury to make sure he didn’t eat anything foreign. All together it was almost $900. I really want to look for another vet, but when I requested a copy of one of his previous labs they said they didn’t give those out which at first seemed absurd. It is apparently a thing some vets here do though. So I’m not sure if there would be any laws or rules that would force them to turn his entire record over to a new vet. Without it there’s really no way I could switch without information being lost.
 

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Yeah I thought the same. It was almost $200 just for the b12 test, plus all his other labs/urine and he had an abdominal injury to make sure he didn’t eat anything foreign. All together it was almost $900. I really want to look for another vet, but when I requested a copy of one of his previous labs they said they didn’t give those out which at first seemed absurd. It is apparently a thing some vets here do though. So I’m not sure if there would be any laws or rules that would force them to turn his entire record over to a new vet. Without it there’s really no way I could switch without information being lost.
The exact specifics of the law depend on the state (ie whether you need to give written or just verbal consent, confidentiality in legal cases, etc) but as far as I’m aware they aren’t allowed to withhold your pets’ records from you and/or your new vet. In fact, one of the AVMA’s principles of veterinary medical ethics is “veterinarians are obligated to provide copies or summaries of medical records when requested by the client.” I would push them more on this, tell the office that for your personal record keeping you prefer to get paper copies of all your pets’ medical records/files.
 
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ty3535

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The exact specifics of the law depend on the state (ie whether you need to give written or just verbal consent, confidentiality in legal cases, etc) but as far as I’m aware they aren’t allowed to withhold your pets’ records from you and/or your new vet. In fact, one of the AVMA’s principles of veterinary medical ethics is “veterinarians are obligated to provide copies or summaries of medical records when requested by the client.” I would push them more on this, tell the office that for your personal record keeping you prefer to get paper copies of all your pets’ medical records/files.
The first time I requested a copy it was a vet tech who told me “we don’t give copies of labs out” and when I asked to talk to the vet, she called me fairly quickly and went over what I was asking about and when she was done she did ask me if I still wanted a copy or if she answered all of my questions (which she had). So I’m assuming if I really pressed to get his records transferred to another vet I would eventually be able to but it just feels wrong that it’s even this complicated. Like he’s *my* cat, I paid all bills in full, and they’re his records. I just have no idea why they would be so weird about it. I’m really hoping to have the b12 injection via at home thing sorted out because generally speaking I really love the vets as far as how they treat and care for him. His abdominal surgery was really complex and took over 4 hours and they were really amazing. Over the last year they’ve had some vet tech turnover which seems to be where some of the problems have originated.
 
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