If your dog no longer behaves like a perky pooch, he might need some vitamin B12 supplementation in the form of shots. This important B vitamin can also alleviate symptoms in various dog diseases. Some breeds do not absorb this vitamin well, so shots help provide adequate amounts.
Known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is water-soluble, so animals do not store it in their bodies but excrete excess amounts through urination. Your dog needs adequate amounts of the vitamin for the proper functioning of his nervous system and normal cell development. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in dogs include lethargy, loss of appetite and depression. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, take him to the vet for a diagnosis.
Certain breeds include a genetic predisposition for not absorbing vitamin B12 through a normal, healthy diet. If your dog is a border collie, beagle, schnauzer or mix of these breeds, suspect possible hereditary vitamin B12 malabsorption if he tires easily or doesn't eat well. Dogs inheriting this condition may not gain weight properly or may fail to keep weight on. If your vet concurs after testing, she may suggest vitamin B12 supplementation in the form of shots.
Kidney failure, or renal disease, often affects older dogs. While this disease can't be cured, proper management can extend your dog's life. Because dogs with renal disease actually urinate more, vitamin B12 deficiency easily occurs. Your dog may also lose his appetite due to insufficient vitamin B12. Your vet may suggest vitamin B12 shots for supplementation. These shots may be given intravenously, usually in a rear leg, or by syringe directly into the dog's mouth.
If your dog suffers from various gastrointestinal ailments, vitamin B12 shots may alleviate symptoms and help him heal. If a dog suffers from a vitamin B12 deficiency and is not supplemented, gastrointestinal disorders may result.
If your dog is diagnosed as vitamin B12 deficient or if your vet believes supplementation will improve his condition, he will generally get a shot each week for at least six weeks. He may then receive an injection every two weeks for the next six-week period. After that, vitamin B12 shots may be given on a monthly basis. Depending on your dog's breed and prognosis, these shots may be necessary for the short or long term. These supplements rarely produce side effects.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.