Our poster boy Jasper has been showing the signs of his advancing years. He was a rescue so we can’t be sure how exactly how old he is, but he’s at least fifteen.
His eyesight and hearing have been deteriorating for a while so we clap to get his attention. People seeing this think we are congratulating him rather that trying to communicate where we are!
A few weeks ago he suddenly stopped being interested in food, he was noticeably confused, he stopped barking, or making any sound at all.
He has always loved a particular fluffy sheep toy but he no longer recognised this previously constant companion.
He wanted to be outside a lot, but then could not find his way back in, he would stand in one spot under a tree or would stare at the wall vacantly. He failed to recognise us.
His eating habits completely changed and some days he turned his nose up at everything offered. His co-ordination was also affected and at times he struggled to stand up.
He was very distant and for a normally loving and friendly dog this was a real shock.
Three weeks ago our vet came out to assess him and check he was not in any pain and confirmed he was showing signs of senility.
The first thing the did, was give him a B12 injection. Stating that he could have these when required.
The following two days were much the same as before but on the third day, we were astounded. He wanted to eat, he was happy, he had stopped wanting to be apart from us, he barked and found and chewed on his old friend the sheep!! He still moves like an elderly dog, he still can’t see or hear too much – but the essence of him is back.
Of course B12 is not the answer to every ill. It is however essential to life and for those who are deficient, whose systems have been starved of it, it can have a miraculously swift effect. This is what B12 does for those of us in need, it gives us our essence back.
Don’t all dementia patients deserve this chance, before it’s too late – just in case?
B12 deficiency is very common in the older population, for many reasons; one being low stomach acid, not helped by the over medication of PPI’s and other acid suppressants.
There is no routine screening of so many at risk patients and too many elderly B12 deficient patients may be missed when there are guidelines for doctors like these below;
- Vitamin B12 and serum folate are no longer performed on elderly patients in the acute setting unless there is a specific indication e.g. macrocytosis +/- anaemia, (pan)cytopenia, or blood film report comment.Found here; www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/en/WardsandDepartments/Departments/Pathology/Pathology-Samples-and-Tests/Search/Haematology1/Serum-B12-and-Folate/
Wouldn’t it be lovely if our doctors were not constrained by such ridiculous and out dated instruction?
The name ‘Pernicious anaemia’ confuses doctors – many patients NEVER present with anaemia/macrocytosis – this is very late stage. NICE and BNF Guidelines still categorise B12 deficiency under anaemia and this needs to change.
Thankfully our vet did not have to concern himself with proving Jasper was anaemic, he didn’t have to wait for a B12 serum test, he knew that this kind of presentation in an elderly dog could be down to B12 deficiency and his injection was given without any hesitation. He can also have B12 injections regularly without any quibbling.
If only B12 deficient humans, of any age, could be treated in the same sensible way as this little old fella, the world for them would be so much less confusing.
For those who may be B12 deficient please see this page; www.b12deficiency.info/what-to-do-next/
If you feel strongly about the restrictions on our B12 treatment please sign and share this petition
If you believe B12 & folate testing should be added to a Full Blood Count please add your name to this petition too.