Supplementation with vitamin D3 was previously shown to protect Escherichia coli challenged birds that underwent two dexamethasone (DEX) treatments at 5 and 12 wk of age in an experimental model of turkey osteomyelitis complex (TOC). The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of dietary supplementation with 10 microg of 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D)/ kg feed or 99 microg of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25D)/kg feed on disease resistance in the same model. Birds were fed the supplemented diets continuously and ad libitum. Seven hundred twenty turkey poults were placed into 24 floor pens in a 3 x 2 x 2 design (three vitamin D treatments, two DEX treatments, two E. coli treatments, with two replicate pens per treatment). At 5 wk of age, half of the birds were treated with DEX, and half of the DEX-treated birds and half of the nontreated birds were challenged with E. coli. All mortalities and lame birds were necropsied. At 9 wk, all of the DEX- or E. coli-treated birds were given another series of DEX injections; 2 wk later 10 birds per pen were necropsied. At 12 wk, survivors of the previous challenges were given a third DEX treatment, and all birds were necropsied 2 wk later. After the first series of DEX injections, mortality was increased in the 25D-supplemented birds that were given the DEX treatment and the E. coli challenge. After the second series of DEX injections, the main effect mean BW was significantly lower in birds given 1,25D as compared to controls and 25D-supplemented birds. Mortality was higher in 1,25D-supplemented birds that were challenged with E. coli at 5 wk and treated with DEX at 9 wk as compared to 25D-supplemented birds. The 1,25D-treated birds that were treated with DEX at 5 and 9 wk and challenged with E. coli at 5 wk had higher mortality and air sacculitis scores as compared to controls and 25D-treated birds. The main effect mean mortality was significantly higher in birds given 1,25D as compared to controls and 25D-treated birds. The percentage of birds with TOC lesions was decreased from 27% to 0 by 25D and 1,25D in the groups given two DEX treatments and E. coli challenge. After the third DEX treatment, BW of 1,25D-suppplemented birds was decreased, and mortality and air sacculitis scores were increased. Bone strength was generally increased by supplementation with 1,25D, whereas 25D supplementation increased bone strength only in birds challenged at 5 wk and treated with DEX at Weeks 9 and 12. In this study, supplementation with vitamin D metabolites decreased TOC incidence in E. coli-challenged birds given two DEX treatments. However, toxic effects were observed in most supplemented DEX-treated birds and may be attributed to an additive effect of DEX treatment, E. coli septicemia, and vitamin D supplementation.