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Evaluating vitamin D supplementation as an adjunct therapy in dogs with cancer

Summary: Researchers will investigate the effectiveness of an oral vitamin D supplement to improve vitamin D levels in dogs, and explore its potential benefit as an adjunct therapy in dogs with cancer. 

Description: Low vitamin D levels are associated with several diseases affecting companion animals, including cancer. Studies in people found tumor cells have vitamin D receptors. Studies also show that vitamin D administration may inhibit tumor cell growth, as well as making cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy. Unlike humans, dogs make insignificant amounts of vitamin D from sun exposure and must acquire vitamin D from their food for optimal health. The most common oral vitamin D supplement, vitamin D3, affects vitamin D levels too slowly and unpredictably to benefit dogs with cancer. A new supplement is needed if vitamin D therapy is to be effective in dogs with cancer. One potential candidate is a form of vitamin D called calcidiol.


INVESTIGATOR: Dr. Robert C. Backus, University of Missouri