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New study finds vitamin D deficiency related to congestive heart failure in dogs

Posted on: March 19, 2014   by  Vitamin D Council


A recent study in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine has found that low vitamin D levels may be a risk factor for congestive heart failure in dogs.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when blood and fluids become backed up in your body because your heart does not pump blood very well.

There have been many studies looking at the role of vitamin D in cardiovascular disease in humans, but few have looked at the same potential role in dogs.

Recently, researchers looked at the vitamin D levels in 31 dogs with CHF and compared them to the vitamin D levels in 51 healthy dogs. They were interested in seeing if vitamin D levels were related to CHF and outcomes in CHF.

They found that the vitamin D levels in the dogs with CHF were lower than in the healthy dogs. Furthermore, they also found that lower vitamin D levels were related to an increased chance of developing CHF or of sudden death in dogs.

“These findings suggested that low concentrations [of vitamin D] may be a risk factor for CHF in dogs,” the researchers stated. “Low serum concentration [of vitamin D] was associated with poor outcome in dogs with CHF.”

The researchers call for the creation of strategies to improve vitamin D status in dogs with CHF.


Kraus, M. S. et al. Relation of Vitamin D Status to Congestive Heart Failure and Cardiovascular Events in Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 2014.

2 Responses to New study finds vitamin D deficiency related to congestive heart failure in dogs

  1. Rita and Misty

    I now give Misty, my Australian Shepherd, 14,000 iu D3 weekly. I give it as one dose per week. She is around 15 years old. And though she has slowed down considerably, she still can walk her walk 2x a day. She cannot climb upstairs very well now. But, hey, how old is Mistygirl in human years? 😉

  2. Brandowbarry

    I asked my vet. about giving my 14 year old Springer D Suppliments. Vet was absolutely negative. When I asked why, was told it’s dangerous – just check the internet. So, I did. Seems that some rodent poisons are made from Vit. D – in very high concentrations which cause calcification of organs. Dogs getting into this rodent “bait” are at risk, but human supplements are not considered a risk. When presenting this arguement, I was told to “let it go”. So, I changed vets. and continued supplementing with 1,000 iu of D3/day. In the midst of this issue the Springer was diagnosed with late stage CHF and given 6 months. At his 6 month check uup, he was “stable” and his heart swelling had actually reduced slightly. He had been on Vetmedin, Spironolactone and enalapril. Blood test indicated kidney problems so spironolactone was stopped and kidneys returned to normal. Ben is now coming up on his 16th birthday in 3 months. He is vital and enjoys life, still climbs stairs and acompanies me to the mailbox, a 1,000 foot walk up a hill. He has had 2 episodes of “vestibular disease” and now has a permanent head tilt and partial loss of balance but he still gets around, goes outside for his “calls of nature” and gets in a little hunting while outside. The vetrinary cardiologist seems a bit perplexed at his resiliance. I provided her with a copy of a previous article about D and human CHF but received no feedback about it. I’ll provide a copy of this article as well.

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