Pregnant ewes were injected intramuscularly with 300,000 iu of vitamin D3 in a water miscible vehicle either 10, seven or four weeks before the expected lambing date and the effects on plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 were monitored. The concentrations increased quickly and remained high at parturition but at no time were they outside the normal physiological range. The concentrations in the plasma of the newborn lambs were higher than in uninjected controls and were well correlated with the concentrations in their mothers. Dosing pregnant ewes with 300,000 iu of vitamin D3 in a rapidly available form, approximately two months before lambing, provided a safe means of increasing the vitamin D status of the ewe and the newborn lamb by preventing the seasonally low concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3.
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