Original Research

Vitamin D status in dogs with babesiosis

Eran Dvir, Chantal Rosa, Ian Handel, Richard J. Mellanby, Johan P. Schoeman
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 86, No 1 | a1644 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v86i1.1644 | © 2019 Eran Dvir, Chantal Rosa, Ian Handel, Richard J. Mellanby, Johan P. Schoeman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 20 April 2018 | Published: 28 March 2019

About the author(s)

Eran Dvir, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Tel Hai Academic College, Upper Galilee, Israel
Chantal Rosa, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Northwest Veterinary Specialists, Runcorn, United Kingdom
Ian Handel, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Richard J. Mellanby, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Johan P. Schoeman, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Canine babesiosis is a virulent infection of dogs in South Africa caused principally by Babesia rossi. Hypovitaminosis D has been reported in a wide range of infectious diseases in humans and dogs, and low vitamin D status has been associated with poor clinical outcomes. However, the relationship between vitamin D status and canine babesiosis has not been investigated. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between the presence and severity of B. rossi infection and vitamin D status of infected dogs. Owners with dogs with a confirmed diagnosis of B. rossi infection and of healthy control dogs were invited to enrol onto the study. Vitamin D status was assessed by measurement of serum concentrations of the major circulating vitamin D metabolite, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D). Dogs with babesiosis (n = 34) had significantly lower mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations than healthy dogs (n = 24) (37.76 ± 21.25 vs. 74.2 ± 20.28 nmol/L). The effect of babesiosis on serum 25(OH)D concentrations was still significant after adjusting for any effect of age, body weight and sex. There was a negative relationship between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and disease severity in dogs with babesiosis. Serum concentrations of creatinine and alanine aminotransferase and time to last meal were not associated with serum 25(OH)D concentrations in dogs with babesiosis. In conclusion, dogs with Babesia rossi infections had lower serum 25(OH)D concentrations than healthy dogs. The inverse correlation between 25(OH)D concentrations and the clinical severity score indicate that hypovitaminosis D might be a helpful additional indicator of disease severity.

Keywords

vitamin D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; babesiosis; dog; Babesia rossi

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