Chronic ingestion of high concentrations of cholecalciferol in cats

Tracey R. Sih, James Morris, M. Anne Hickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine whether ingestion of 63 times the recommended amount of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) results in renal calcification or damage in cats. Animals - 20 four-month-old kittens, 17 queens, and 20 kittens born to these queens. Procedure - 4-month-old kittens and queens were given a purified diet with 846 μg of cholecalciferol/kg of diet (high vitamin D3 diet) or 118 μg of cholecalciferol/kg of diet (control diet) for 18 months. Kittens born to queens were weaned onto the same diet given to dams. Results - There were no apparent adverse effects of the high vitamin D3 diet. Plasma cholecalciferol and 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25-OHD3) concentrations of queens and 4-month-old kittens given the high vitamin D3 diet significantly increased with time. At 6 months, plasma cholecalciferol concentrations in these kittens and queens were 140.0 ± 7.3 nmol/L and 423.6 ± 26.6 nmol/L, respectively (10 times initial values). Corresponding 25-OHD3 concentration in queens was 587.5 ± 59.4 nmol/L (2.5-fold increase over initial values). At 3 months of age, kittens born to queens given the high vitamin D3 diet had an increase in serum BUN and calcium concentrations and a decrease in RBC and serum total protein, albumin, and hemoglobin concentrations. By 18 months, these kittens had an increase in plasma cholecalciferol (276.0 ± 22.2 nmol/L) and 25-OHD3 (1,071.9 ± 115.3 nmol/L) concentrations. However, all indices of renal function and the appearance of renal tissue on histologic evaluation were normal. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - These results indicate that cats are resistant to cholecalciferol toxicosis when the diet is otherwise complete and balanced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1500-1506
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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