Why Is My Dog Or Cat's Blood Folate Level Low ?













Ron Hines DVM PhD

To see what normal blood and urine values are, go here

For an explanation of causes of most abnormal blood and urine tests, go here

To see how tests are grouped, go here

Your Pet's Blood Folate Level = Folic Acid aka Vitamin B9

Veterinarians usually request blood folate and cobalamin level test on your pet when they suspect that it might have intestinal (small intestine) nutrient absorption problems (doesn't "digest" its food well).

When the vet orders a folate test, it will almost always be run with another assay, your pet’s cobalamin (vitamin B-12) level. These two tests need to be considered together in order for your vet to gain maximum information. That is because folate and cobalamin are absorbed through different areas of the pet's intestine. Disease high in the small intestine tend to cause a decrease in folate levels whereas problems located a bit farther down the tract (in the ileum) tend to impact cobalamin absorption more. When large areas of the tract are affected, both will often decrease.


Reasons Your Pet's Blood Folate Level Might Be Low :

Disease of the proximal (beginning part) of the small intestine (its duodenum and jejunum) , food allergies, gluten allergy (gluten enteropathy in Irish setters), In cats, IBD, triad disease, cholangiohepatitis involving the cat's intestine.

Reasons Your Pets Blood Folate Level Might Be High :

In dogs, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO aka antibiotic responsive diarrheas) can cause blood folate levels to rise. This increase in bacteria is sometimes due to pancreatic problems (EPI).

Hemolized blood samples can give inaccurately high folate readings in both dogs and cats.

Complimentary Tests :

CBC/WBC and blood chemistry panel, tests to rule out an exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) that include TLI, fPL or cPL tests, evidence of low-folate-associated anemia (macrocytic non-regenerative anemia) in cats, intestinal parasite exam and fecal bacterial culture in both dogs and cats