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Vitamin D shows in vivo efficacy in a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomised clinical trial on canine atopic dermatitis
  1. Christoph J Klinger1,
  2. Stefan Hobi1,
  3. Cornelia Johansen1,
  4. Hans-Joachim Koch2,
  5. Karin Weber1 and
  6. Ralf S Mueller1
  1. 1 Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany
  2. 2 Tierärztliche Klinik Birkenfeld, Birkenfeld, Germany
  1. E-mail for correspondence; klingerchristoph{at}


Atopic dermatitis (AD) in dogs is among the most common skin diseases in small animal practice. It is an inflammatory disease based on a genetic predisposition to develop hypersensitivity against environmental and food allergens and typical clinical signs up exposure. Treatment sometimes can be difficult and associated with adverse effects. Previous studies evaluating cholecalciferol as treatment for human AD have shown promising results. With canine AD being a good animal model for its human counterpart, it was hypothesised that cholecalciferol might have beneficial clinical effects in dogs, too. In this randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded eight-week cross-over study, 23 client-owned dogs received either systemic cholecalciferol (n=16), a vitamin D receptor analogue (n=8) or placebo (n=13). Blood samples for ionised calcium were obtained regularly during the study, and Canine Atopic Dermatitis Extent and Severity Index and pruritus scores, blood levels of vitamin D metabolites, measurements of skin pH and transepidermal water loss were determined before and after. Pruritus and lesion scores decreased significantly in the cholecalciferol group versus placebo. No differences in water loss or skin pH were observed. An increase in serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol strongly correlated with a reduction in pruritus. Systemic cholecalciferol may be a viable treatment option for canine AD.

  • atopy
  • allergy
  • dermatology
  • dogs
  • vitamin deficiency
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  • Funding Merck KGaA provided the study medication Vigantol-Oel and placebo (palm oil), Labor Dr. Limbach & Kollegen offered reduced fees for the vitamin D metabolite testing and the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD) granted the study with financial support.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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