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To determine whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D) concentrations are associated with survival and negatively correlate with acute-phase protein (APP) concentrations in ill dogs and cats admitted to nursing care units.


Client-owned dogs (n = 79) and cats (16) admitted to 2 academic veterinary hospital nursing care units.


A prospective cohort study was conducted between August 12, 2019, and October 26, 2021. A diagnostic laboratory measured 25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)2D, and haptoglobin (HPT) in dogs and cats; C-reactive protein (CRP) in dogs; and serum amyloid A (SAA) in cats. Serum was collected within 12 hours of admission. Illness severity (acute patient physiologic and laboratory evaluation [APPLEfast]) scores and survival data were recorded.


Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were in the deficient range for 22 of 79 dogs and 2 of 16 cats. There were no associations between serum analyte concentrations (25[OH]D, 1,25[OH]2D, and APP) or APPLEfast score and survival in dogs or cats. In dogs, HPT was negatively correlated with 25(OH)D (P = .002; r = –0.34) and 1,25(OH)2D (P = .012; r = –0.28), while CRP was positively correlated with HPT (P = .001; r = 0.32) and APPLEfast score (P = .014; r = 0.16). In cats, 1,25(OH)2D was negatively correlated with APPLEfast scores (P = .055; r = –0.49) and SAA was positively correlated with HPT (P = .002; r = 0.73).


Serum 25(OH)D or 1,25(OH)2D was not associated with survival in our hospitalized patient population. Relationships between APP and serum vitamin D metabolites with APPLEfast scores in cats warrant further investigation as illness severity biomarkers.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association