In recent weeks, Vitamin D has been at the forefront of many a discussion. Many pet owners are concerned about the voluntary recall of select premium dog food lines due to elevated vitamin D levels. There are, of course, multiple sources of information available but we’d like to give you our perspective.
What does vitamin D do?
Vitamin D is vital vitamin that regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Increased vitamin D results in increased absorption of calcium, and a calcium/phosphate imbalance. Long term high calcium levels and calcium/phosphate imbalances cause the symptoms and that can ultimately result in health issues.
Can vitamin D be toxic?
There are usually two different scenarios in which Vitamin D toxicity is seen. Firstly, some rat poisons contain very high levels of vitamin D, which cause symptoms within 12-24 hours. Secondly, slightly elevated Vitamin D levels in food, fed over a long period of time can cause symptoms of toxicity.
Initial symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, increase in thirst and weight loss. This is all due to the calcium and phosphate imbalance. Long term elevation in calcium ultimately leads to calcium deposits in certain organs such as the kidneys and heart, leading to kidney and heart failure syndromes.
The chance of survival in dogs diagnosed with Vitamin D toxicity is usually good, if treatment is started promptly.
Should we worry about vitamin D?
But the question remains: how worried should we be about the current situation with Vitamin D? In my opinion – not so worried. For example, if a 25 kg dog ate twenty 5000IU Vitamin D human supplement tablets in one go, it is still below the toxic dose. Even this high dose is unlikely to cause any issues. It is more difficult to establish a toxic dose over a long period of time as there are other factors that may also affect the absorption of calcium and phosphate. At this stage there is no conclusive proof that any harm has befallen any dog that was fed the recalled product. Furthermore, there were only selected batches of selected wet foods that were affected and voluntarily recalled.
We have checked all our stock and can confirm that not a single can of the recalled batches are on our shelves. All wet foods produced since the recall (including the new batches of the affected foods) have been tested and they have the appropriate amount of Vitamin D levels. No dry food, or any other batches have been affected.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further questions or concerns.