Posted by: calinnova | January 26, 2012

Vitamin D – Not something your pets can do without!

Vitamin D – Not something your pets can do without!

How many of you heard this morning’s Radio Four’s Today programme on the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in Britain?  In fact, this news story is appearing on all major news networks.  It’s serious stuff!

If you’ve not read up on it yet, this link might be helpful:

With modern diet and life style, it is not surprising that so many suffer with vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Most do not realise the importance of vitamins and minerals, in particular vitamin D; it’s something that we produce naturally as a result of sunlight exposure.   However, most spend all day inside stuck behind an office desk with no direct sunlight, we drive everywhere rather than walk and most cover up with sun cream before going outside (however, over exposure to UV rays are not recommended without sun cream).  Therefore, our exposure to sunlight is very limited.  Many of our pets also have a lifestyle that contributes to a number of deficiencies and like us, without supplementation, a deficiency is almost certainly inevitable.

Recent studies suggest that as many as ¾ of babies dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may be vitamin D deficient, as are their mothers.  Recently, parents prosecuted for killing their own babies have been acquitted because post mortem tests reviled a clear vitamin D deficiency.  Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can manifest as broken bones and even bruising, it is these symptoms that may have resulted in many parents unjustly convicted of murder.  Pathologists now measure vitamin D levels in dead infants but how many mothers and fathers were jailed before they realised the importance of this link?

The BBC story highlighted the ignorance of many senior doctors – even those specialising in paediatrics.  Perhaps this ignorance also exists in the veterinary science community, the supplement industry is often criticised for its “lack of scientific evidence”.  Well the science is now there so let’s hope it’s now taken seriously.

One enlightened doctor on this morning’s programme pointed out that if you failed to give your lizard (you could read bird here) a vitamin D supplement or install appropriate UV light, you could be prosecuted for animal cruelty. The same doesn’t apply to humans!

At Calinnova Ltd (owners of The Birdcare Company, EquiFeast, DrS and CrocDoc) we have been banging on about the importance of vitamin D for nearly 17 years.  For many of those years we were gagged by the former owners of Cage & Aviary Birds magazine, who continuously published totally unfounded anti-vitamin propaganda.  Fortunately for your birds and our hobby, the current owners of the magazine are far more enlightened and the correct information is more readily available.

A couple of years ago, Australia TV personality and budgie breeder, Don Burke raised the importance of vitamin D and gave the hobby a boost as a result. Of course, his great revelation was something we in the feed and supplements industry had known all along but the positive publicity was welcome even if it was a bit “over the top”.

We aim to make more pet owners aware of the problems vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause and firmly believe that prevention is better than cure.  So, if your animals are mainly kept indoors (so cannot make their own vitamin D from the sun), make sure you use a good quality vitamin supplement or install a good quality UV lighting system!  We’ve gone one step further and installed them in our offices!  Our staff are more productive, happier (Vitamin D helps produce happy hormones) and our winter hours are far more bearable.

Speak to the experts to make sure you are giving your pets the best possible quality supplement and more importantly, the correct dosage rate.  We offer a FREE advice line, so are here to help you when you need pointing in the right direction.

EquiFeast Helpline: 0845 2301086*

The Birdcare Company, DrS and CrocDoc Helpline: 0845 1308600*

Call charged at a local call rate, it is not a premium rate number.



  1. Really interesting article on Vitamin D. I would like to add a note of caution however. I was diagnosed with hypercalcaemia and rushed into hospital for emergency treatment (I went to the doctor complaining of tiredness and constipation). Luckily for me, I was treated by a Doctor who had read of the problems of Parathyroidism – please look at I was operated on at the Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and they removed a Parathyroid tumour over 2″ long (they are normally the size of a grain of rice). Please excuse the following cut and paste but it is very relevant to the article above.

    LOW VITAMIN D is discussed on this page of If you have been told that you have low vitamin D then this page is for you. There are two reasons for having low vitamin D. One reason for low vitamin D is not serious and simply means you need to take some vitamin D pills. The second reason for a low vitamin D is much more serious (and less common) and may indicate that you have primary hyperparathyroidism and need an operation to remove a small parathyroid tumor. These folks should not be taking vitamin D until after the parathyroid operation. If you have low vitamin D, you must understand which of these two groups you are in.

    Overview of Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is essential to our bodies. We can’t make it, so we have to get it in our diet, or get outside and have the sun make it for us (yep, sun light on our skin causes our skin to make Vitamin D).

    Vitamin D does one thing in our bodies. Only one thing… it helps our intestine to absorb calcium from the foods we eat. Thus, Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium in our bodies. If our Vitamin D levels are low, then our intestines have a hard time absorbing calcium. This is why milk is fortified with Vitamin D. Did you ever notice that the milk you buy has “Vitamin D Fortified” written on it. We want our kids to drink milk so they get lots of calcium to build their bones strong… but without the Vitamin D, most of the calcium in the milk won’t get absorbed. Our intestines MUST have at least a little Vitamin D to absorb calcium. For you older people out there, did you notice that most of the calcium supplements (Citracal, Oscal, Caltrate, etc) will have Vitamin D added to the calcium pills? This is because our intestines need the Vitamin D molecule to absorb the calcium molecule through the intestinal wall and transport it into our blood. AGAIN…. Vitamin D does only one thing in the human… it helps our intestine to absorb calcium.

    Thus, increasing a person’s Vitamin D levels will increase the amount of calcium they absorb from their diet. If a person takes more Vitamin D, then the intestines will become more efficient at absorbing the calcium molecules in our diet, and these calcium molecules will be absorbed… your calcium will go UP.

    I take Calcium combined with Vitamin D tablets and have been told to sit in the sun without block for at least 30 mins a day. More vitamin D is absorbed in this way than by any supplement available. I would imagine that we need to get our horses out of the stable; take off their rugs and let them absorb the vitamin D naturally and give a chelated calcium supplement if necessary?

    Apoligies for the length of the comment!

  2. Sorry, just realised that I didn’t make myself clear about the relevance of the Parathyroid glands. Parathyroid glands are small glands of the endocrine system which are located in the neck behind the thyroid. Parathyroid glands control the calcium in our bodies–how much calcium is in our bones, and how much calcium is in our blood. Calcium is the most important element in our bodies (we use it to control many systems), so calcium is regulated very carefully. Parathyroid glands control the calcium.

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