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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Could Vitamin D Help Seriously Ill Cats?

vet holding kitten
 
A new study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland could raise more questions than it answers. The study looked at whether cats with higher levels of vitamin D have a better chance of surviving life-threatening illness.
After looking at blood samples from nearly 100 cats hospitalized with life-threatening conditions, the researchers concluded that they do. The study found that cats with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were more likely to be alive 30 days after being admitted to the hospital than those with the lowest levels.

But that's where the research ended, at least for now.
"At the moment, it is difficult for veterinarians to offer accurate prognostic information to the owners of sick cats," veterinarian Richard Mellanby said in a press release. "Our study demonstrates that measuring a key vitamin D metabolite in the blood predicts disease outcome with a much greater degree of accuracy than many other widely used measures of disease severity."

But
the director of small animal medicine at the university's School of Veterinary Studies added that further research is needed to learn whether vitamin D reduces a cat's risk of disease and if adding it to seriously ill cats' diets might improve their chances of survival.

Studies in humans have linked low vitamin D levels to a number of health problems, including infections,
multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Exposure to the sun triggers vitamin D production in people. So do such foods as oily fish, cheese and egg yolks. Humans can also take Vitamin D supplements.

Cats, however, can only get vitamin D from food.

So should you supplement your cat's food with Vitamin D? Probably not,
Mellanby says.
In the press release, he warns that "too much vitamin D can be poisonous to cats. Most cat foods contain a standard amount of vitamin D and there is no need for owners to add supplements."

The study was recently published online in the journal
PLOS One. Stay tuned to find out whether giving your seriously ill cat additional vitamin D will improve his chances of survival and lengthen his life. Wouldn't it be nice to have such a simple answer!

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