12 July 2014

Alpha Lipoic Acid Toxicity in Cats

I tell people over and over -- cats are cats and not short fuzzy people, so just because something is okay in people, it may not apply to cats.  And then I go do it!  Geesh!!!

Dante, my 20+ yr old cat, is diabetic.  I control it mainly by food and supplements.  One of the the supplements I was giving was alpha lipoic acid.  It does a number of good things in humans and has almost no side effects IN humans, so I assumed it would be fine for him.

Last night I was reading about feline nutrition and came across a statement -- "dl-alpha lipoic acid is highly toxic to cats".  My jaw dropped open.  I reread it 5 times, then looked for any references which it didn't give because this was common knowledge, I guess.  So, I looked it up this morning.  And yes, indeed, it is toxic.  At distressingly low levels -- 30 mg/kg.  Dante weighs about 11 lbs or 5 kgs, so about 150 mg.  Maybe less.  I was using 150 mg capsule, divided up for 2-4 days, so at the most he was getting 75 mg, which is under the tested level, but maybe not under the effective level.  (The researchers tested at 0, 30, and 60 mg/kg levels.)  There was hepatocellular toxicity at the 30 mg/kg level, but maybe lower?  Until someone comes back and tries 10 mg/kg or 20 mg/kg, there will be the question of where the toxicity level lies.

The good news is it effects the liver, which can and does regenerate.  The other 'good' news is I gave it to him off and on, but mainly off because I never could remember to do it.  So, my laziness and forgetfulness may have saved him.

For a summary of the research, see Lipoic acid toxicity research

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