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Vet Dermatol. 2012 Dec;23(6):481-e91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3164.2012.01119.x.

Ciclosporin therapy is associated with minimal changes in calcium metabolism in dogs with atopic dermatitis.

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Dermatology Group, Division of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Hospital for Small Animals, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, UK.



Ciclosporin is widely used in the management of canine atopic dermatitis. In humans, ciclosporin therapy has been linked to disturbances in calcium metabolism and resultant skeletal disorders.


The objective of this study was to assess calcium homeostasis in dogs before and after a 6 week course of once daily oral ciclosporin at the licensed dose (5 mg/kg).


Sixteen client-owned dogs with spontaneous atopic dermatitis.


Serum concentrations of calcium, phosphate, creatinine, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1,25-dihyroxyvitamin D and plasma concentrations of ionized calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were measured, together with the urinary fractional excretion of calcium and phosphate. The extent of skin lesions was scored using the Canine Atopic Dermatitis Extent and Severity Index (CADESI)-03 and the degree of pruritus by the Edinburgh Pruritus Scale prior to and at the end of the study.


The CADESI-03 and the Edinburgh Pruritus Scale scores decreased satisfactorily in all dogs by the end of the study. Plasma PTH concentrations were significantly increased (P = 0.02) following ciclosporin treatment, whereas all other biochemical parameters were not significantly different from their starting values. The increase in PTH was mild in most cases and the proportion of dogs that had a PTH concentration above the reference range was not significantly different following treatment.


This study indicates that ciclosporin has minimal impact on calcium metabolism in dogs with atopic dermatitis when used at the licensed and clinically effective dosage for 6 weeks.

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