Dachshund puppy recovers from vitamin D toxicity

A miniature dachshund called Margot had a narrow escape after suffering potentially fatal vitamin D toxicity by devouring a tube of ointment for humans.

Margot needed the intervention of the internal medicine team at Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire after swallowing the tube of Dovonex, a treatment for psoriasis in humans that contains synthetic vitamin D3 analogue calcipotriol.


Katherine Clarke, internal medicine resident at Davies, said: “We calculated that four-month-old Margot had ingested between 500µg to 1,000µg (161µg/kg – 323µg/kg) of calcipotriol.

“Toxicity studies in dogs suggest that 1.86µg/kg/day to 3.6µg/kg/day of calcipotriol can cause disturbances in calcium homeostasis, so it wasn’t surprising that Margot developed evidence of toxicity.

“Vitamin D toxicity is relatively rare, although the growing trend in vitamin D supplementation in the human population means dogs are more likely to have access to this vitamin.”


Dr Clarke added: “Ingestion of psoriasis cream, either by licking it from the skin of the owner or direct ingestion by chewing the tube, is another well-recognised mechanism of vitamin D toxicity in dogs. The addition of vitamin D (cholecalciferol) to rodenticides is also increasing, ingestion of which would cause the undesirable combination of vitamin D toxicosis and a coagulopathy.

“The prognosis for vitamin D toxicity is variable, with some cases experiencing an acute kidney injury or severe gastrointestinal bleeding due to calcification of the soft tissues. However, with prompt, aggressive treatment the prognosis can be reasonable.”


Margot presented with severe hypercalcaemia and was mildly azotaemic. She was also nauseous, lethargic and depressed, and was initially managed with prednisolone, furosemide and IV fluid therapy.

Although she improved, the hypercalcaemia persisted, so pamidronate was added to her treatment.

Margot is showing no signs of permanent damaged by the toxicity.

Credit: Dachshund puppy recovers from vitamin D toxicity

In-text: (Vet Times, 2021)

Vet Times. (2021). Dachshund puppy recovers from vitamin D toxicity [online] Available at: https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/dachshund-puppy-recovers-from-vitamin-d-toxicity/