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Some cat foods fall short on key vitamin, study finds

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A study has found that Vitamin B1 levels in canned cat food are sometimes below recommended amounts, posing a potential health risk to cats, a feline health group announced late March 17.

According to the New Jersey-based Winn Feline Foundation, researchers at the Tufts University veterinary school near Boston analyzed 90 canned foods from 45 brands and found that 12 of the foods – or 13 percent -- did not meet minimum B1 requirements set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a pet nutrition oversight body. Although the names of the deficient foods were not disclosed, the foundation said that pate-style food had lower B1 levels than non-pate foods, and that food made by small companies had lower B1 levels than those made by large ones.

The study was prompted by a series of recalls of B1-deficient cat food. Six such recalls have occurred in the past five years, Winn Feline noted. B1, also known as thiamine, is vital to a cat’s neurological function, and a prolonged deficiency can lead to serious illness and even death.

The researchers concluded that pet food makers should implement stricter quality controls to ensure adequate B1 levels. In addition, they suggested that veterinarians consider whether feline patients experiencing "acute neurologic dysfunction, especially with accompanying gastrointestinal signs," suffer from a B1 deficiency.

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