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Diet and Taurine in Dogs

By Rhonda Teel

I wanted my customers to be aware of the amino acid Taurine in canine diets.

In 2018 the FDA issued a warning about Grain Free Food and DCM in dogs. The study at the time involved a small number of dogs that the study was done on about 151 dogs nation wide. It set in motion panic and guilt in people that felt they were to blame for their dogs dying from DCM. The FDA stated that the Dogs were deficient in Taurine.

Taurine is an amino acid found primarily in meat. Taurine has many special functions. Taurine is a component of bile, which breaks down dietary fat. It’s vital for proper function of muscles, heart, eyes, brain as well as the immune system. It has antioxidant and anti-in-flammatory properties.

Dogs make their own taurine from the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine. Recent research suggests that diet is a factor in less than 20 to 30 percent of dogs with DCM. In fact in a survey of veterinarians 76 percent said they did not see any increase of  DCM in dogs fed a grain free diet.

Grain-free foods have been safely fed to thousands if not millions of dogs for many years. The relationship to DCM is far from clear. The FDA is not recommending a diet change for any dog as their investigation is ongoing.

If people are worried about Taurine deficiency in their pets they should get a blood test before supplementing the food, although most manufactures are adding to the food. It is a complex issue and as such all of the amino acids work together not just one is responsible.

DCM occurs in all kinds of dogs eating all kinds of foods, from those with simple ingredients to complex foods, homemade diets and commercial raw diets.

It is way to early to hit the panic button, but it is good to be aware of the issue.

Excerpts taken from Jean Hofve DVM .

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