Prednisolone therapy for atopic dermatitis is less effective in dogs with lower pretreatment serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations

Vet Dermatol. 2012 Apr;23(2):125-30, e27-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3164.2011.01022.x. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations were measured in 20 dogs with atopic dermatitis prior to treatment with a standard therapeutic dosage of prednisolone (0.93-1.06 mg/kg) every other day for 5 weeks after 7 days of treatment with the same dosage once daily. The severity of their physical signs was scored before and 6 weeks after prednisolone treatment by the canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index version 3 (CADESI-03) and the Edinburgh Pruritus Scale (EPS). The 20 dogs with atopic dermatitis that were treated with prednisolone did not have significantly lower serum concentrations of 25(OH)D than a group of 36 healthy dogs, and the physical severity of the atopic dermatitis was not correlated to pretreatment serum 25(OH)D concentrations. However, dogs which had a marked improvement of their physical signs, defined by a post-treatment EPS score of 0 and/or an 85% reduction in CADESI-03 score, had significantly higher pretreatment serum 25(OH)D concentrations than dogs with a suboptimal response (P = 0.003 and P = 0.03, respectively). Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were also measured in a previously published cohort of atopic dogs that were treated with ciclosporin. This cohort of dogs was recruited in a similar time frame to the prednisolone-treated dogs, and all samples were handled in the same way. In contrast to the prednisolone-treated dogs, there was no significant difference in 25(OH)D concentrations in dogs that responded optimally to ciclosporin compared with suboptimal responders. Additional studies are required to establish whether vitamin D has a synergistic therapeutic effect with prednisolone in dogs with atopic dermatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / blood
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Vitamin D
  • Prednisolone
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D