Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

L-Carnitine Deficiency in Cats

ADVERTISEMENT

 

L-carnitine is an important nutrient that acts as a transport for fatty acids, essential for the cellular production of energy. Deficiency of this nutrient can cause a variety of health problems for a cat; most significantly, the association with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease of the heart. The heart and skeletal muscles do not synthesize the carnitine nutrient on their own, requiring it to be transported there for use. Therefore, a deficiency of carnitine in the body will have a negative effect on the heart and skeletal muscles. While carnitine supplements are not always successful at reversing the effects of this deficiency, they have proven to be the most successful course of treatment.

 

 

Symptoms and Types 

 

Signs of this deficiency may include:

 

 

L-carnitine is important for muscle tissue to receive energy and function normally. A deficiency in this nutrient, therefore, can create a negative impact throughout the cat's body.

 

Causes 

 

This disease is still being studied, but there is some evidence that suggests that certain breeds may be at increased risk of acquiring this disorder.

 

Diagnosis

 

In order to diagnose this deficiency, heart (endomyocardial) muscle biopsies must be performed in order to measure carnitine levels.

 

 

Treatment

 

Your cat's size and weight will determine the proper dosage of L-carnitine supplements. Keep in mind that many cats will not show an improvement in health. In addition, some cats may even show an increase in diarrhea as the carnitine dosage in their diet is increased. An appropriately prescribed diet, with plenty of fluids, will be essential for preventing complications during this period.

 

Living and Management 

 

Once carnitine treatment has begun, it is recommended that you continue regular veterinary check-ups with your cat. Your doctor will perform an echocardiogram (or EKG) every three to six months to ensure that treatment has been effective.

 

Prevention 

 

There are no known methods of prevention, other than maintaining a healthy diet for your cat.

 

Related Articles

Cardiac Muscle Tumor in Cats

A rhabdomyoma is an extremely rare, benign, non-spreading, cardiac muscle tumor that occurs only half as often as its malignant version: rhabdomyosarcomas,...

READ MORE
Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) in Cats

The mycoplasma is a class of bacterial parasite that lacks cell walls and are able to survive without oxygen, making them resistant to antibiotics....

READ MORE
Anemia Due to Iron Deficiency in Cats

When the body is deficient in iron, red cells do not develop as they should. In adult pets, this condition is usually caused by some kind of...

READ MORE
MORE FROM PETMD.COM