Vitamin D Study in Cats with Cardiovascular Disease

echocardiogram of cat
Area of Study: 
Internal Medicine

Purpose of Study: 

Now recruiting cases for a clinical research project assessing vitamin D status in cats with cardiovascular disease, as well as normal cats.

Vitamin D has long been known to play an important role in regulating bone and calcium metabolism. However, vitamin D also is associated with other body systems and disease conditions.

There is growing recognition of associations between vitamin D status (as assessed by serum 25(OH)D concentration) and cardiovascular diseases in people, including hypertension and cardiac disease leading to heart failure (HF). Vitamin D has been shown to have several cardioprotective effects. In people with CV disease, vitamin D deficiency is associated with disease progression and poor prognosis.

Initial studies in dogs with HF from chronic mitral valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy have identified lower serum 25(OH)D concentrations, compared to normal dogs, and it appears that this may be associated with worse outcomes.

Although lower vitamin D status was associated with all-cause mortality in a series of cats hospitalized for various reasons. It is not known whether cats with spontaneous cardiovascular disease (specifically cardiomyopathy or hypertension), have low levels of 25(OH)D compared to normal cats, and if so, whether an association exists between vitamin D status and disease severity or outcomes.

  1. Cats that previously have PRIOR diagnoses of cardiomyopathy (with LA enlargement)
  2. Cats that have moderate/severe systemic hypertension (>180 mm Hg, systolic)
  3. Normal cats to serve as age- and sex-matched controls

What qualifies my cat for enrollment in this trial?
To be considered for participation in this trial, your cat must fit the criteria for one of the three groups:

  1. Cardiomyopathy group: MUST have PRIOR diagnoses of cardiomyopathy (any form) – either preclinical but with evidence of left atrial enlargement (stage B2), OR with compensated congestive heart failure (stage C, compensated), and eating a commercial cat food diet.
  2. Hypertensive group: must have been diagnosed with systemic hypertension (systolic BP >180 mm Hg, prior to antihypertensive therapy), and eating a commercial cat food diet
  3. Normal group: must have been owned for at least two months and eating a consistent commercial cat food diet. No evidence of cardiovascular disease.

Please note that group 1 (cats with cardiomyopathy)  and group 3 (controls) are now complete. Only hypertensive cats (group 2) are recruited at this time.


At this time we must exclude cats with: congenital cardiac disease, only mild cardiac hypertrophy without left atrial enlargement, severe systemic disease, and cats that do not like to be handled.

Client Responsibilities: 

This trial involves 1 visit, during which the following procedures will be performed in each group (cardiomyopathy, hypertension and healthy):

  • Physical and cardiovascular evaluation
  • Blood draw for the Vitamin D measurement
  • Echocardiogram
  • Echocardiography
  • Blood pressure measurement
Client Benefits: 

Study will provide the following free services:

  • Clinical cardiac exam
  • Screening echocardiogram
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Serum 25(OH)D measurement

For more information or to enroll in the trial, please contact: Lori Moran (515) 291-5178