Plasma vitamin D metabolites and C-reactive protein in stage-stop racing endurance sled dogs

J Vet Intern Med. Mar-Apr 2015;29(2):519-25. doi: 10.1111/jvim.12546.


Background: Dogs are a unique model for examining the effects of exercise on vitamin D status because of their lack of vitamin D synthesis by UV exposure. In addition, the inflammatory response may be associated with hypovitaminosis D.

Objectives: To investigate the effects of several days of endurance exercise on plasma vitamin D (25-(OH)D3, 24,25-(OH)D3 and 1,25(OH)D3) and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations in stage-stop racing sled dogs.

Animals: 12 racing sled dogs and 8 control dogs.

Methods: Blood was collected before the race and immediately after racing on days 2 and 8. Plasma vitamin D metabolites and serum CRP concentrations were measured.

Results: Racing dogs showed a significant increase in 25(OH)D3 on day 2 (P = .027) and day 8 of the race (P < .001), whereas no increases were observed in control dogs. The plasma concentration of 24,25(OH)D3 showed a significant increase by day 8 (P < .001). There were no significant changes in 1,25(OH) D3 concentrations across all time points and groups. Racing dogs had significantly increased CRP concentrations by day 2 (39.3 ± 30.1 μg/mL; P < .001).

Conclusions and clinical importance: Increases in vitamin D metabolites as well as increases in CRP concentrations were observed in racing sled dogs. This finding was contrary to the hypothesis that decreases in vitamin D status in athletes may be related to the acute phase inflammatory response during exercise. In addition, the increased 24,25(OH)D3 concentrations compared to what is observed in other species suggests metabolic variations in dogs that lead to enhanced disposal of vitamin D.

Keywords: Endocrinology; Metabolism; Nutrition; Physiology; Sports medicine; Vitamins and minerals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dogs / blood*
  • Dogs / metabolism
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Sports*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*


  • Vitamin D
  • C-Reactive Protein