Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Low vitamin D status is associated with anaemia in hospitalised cats
  1. Helen Faye Titmarsh1,
  2. Glynn Alan Woods2,
  3. Jennifer A Cartwright1,2,
  4. Scott Kilpatrick3,
  5. Donna Gaylor4,
  6. Jaqueline Berry5,
  7. Adam Gow6,
  8. Nick X Bommer4,
  9. Danielle Gunn-Moore7,
  10. Ian Handel8 and
  11. Richard J Mellanby3
  1. 1Hospital for Small Animals, Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Hospital for Small Animals, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Division of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4Division of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, UK
  5. 5Specialist Assay Laboratory (Vitamin D), Clinical Biochemistry, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  6. 6Internal Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  7. 7Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, UK
  8. 8Centre for Infectious Diseases, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Glynn Alan Woods; gwoods2{at}


Background The major physiological role of vitamin D has traditionally been considered to be the regulation of calcium homeostasis and maintenance of skeletal health. However, there is increasing evidence that vitamin D influences a wider range of physiological processes including erythropoiesis. Vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D, 25(OH)D) deficiency concentrations have been associated with anaemia in human beings. In contrast, the relationship between vitamin D status and erythropoiesis has not been investigated in cats.

Methods Clinical records of cats consecutively presenting between November 2013 and February 2015 were reviewed. For each cat, data including sex, age, breed, serum albumin and creatinine concentrations, and appetite scores were extracted. A multivariable linear regression model was constructed to examine the relationship between 25(OH)D concentrations and these variables.

Results Cats with anaemia had significantly lower 25(OH)D concentrations (median 49.5 nmol/l, n=31) than cats with packed cell volume above the lower limit of the reference range (median 109.0 nmol/l, n=130) (P<0.001). A binary logistic regression found that red blood cell count and mean corpuscular volume were negatively correlated with serum 25(OH)D concentrations (P<0.001 and P=0.007, respectively).

Conclusion Vitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration is positively associated with red blood cell count and mean corpuscular volume in cats with a wide range of different illnesses.

  • vitamin D
  • anaemia
  • cats
  • vitamin deficiency
  • hospitalised
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • HFT and GAW are joint first authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Informed consent for the use of residual blood samples for research was obtained for each cat. Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Edinburgh’s Veterinary Ethical Review Committee.

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

  • Data availability statement No data are available.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.