Grain Free Diets and Heart Disease

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Grain Free Diets and Heart Disease

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  • #128588 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    well??? The dogs that were tested including “goldens” that ate Pro Plan by Purina did not have DCM and they DO NOT add taurine in their diets!! What do you guys think about that???

    #128589 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    I think they know how to formulate their food correctly. They’ve had years of testing and research behind them. They have board certified veteranarian nutritionists with PhDs on their staff. They use ingredients with the correct amino acids that allow dogs to synthesize their own taurine as needed. That’s why!

    I’m sorry it took me so long to realize this. The marketing and Internet world sucked me in too. Quit looking at the ingredient panel. They know what you’re looking for and can split ingredients and weigh ingredients in different forms (wet vs dry) to make that label look just like what you want to see. Plus, you can’t tell the quality of ingredients by the label. Is that chicken meal mostly bone or muscle meat? Btw, by-products can be very good and more digestible than muscle meat. Just trust the big companies that follow the WSAVA guidelines.

    My dogs are doing just fine on Purina ProPlan. Good luck!

    #128590 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    It is usually not necessary to add taurine to dog food.

    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2018/12/evidence-update-grain-free-and-other-beg-diets-associated-with-heart-disease-in-dogs/ (excerpt from article below)

    In some cases, the diets and disease has also been associated with a deficiency in the amino acid taurine. This is an amino acid that dogs do not normally require in the diet since they can make as much as they need. However, in some breeds there appear to be genetic factors that make individuals more susceptible to taurine deficiency, and associated heart disease. These may include reduced production of taurine, increased loss of taurine, or increased need for taurine. Certain diets that have low levels of the ingredients from which taurine is made or that contain substances, such as legumes and some types of. Fiber that make reduce absorption or synthesis of taurine and its precursors or that encourage taurine loss make act in con cert with these genetic factors to lead to deficiency and disease in some dogs. Many of the details in this hypothetical series of steps remain to be understood.

    #128591 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    Bump

    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2018/08/grain-free-diets-and-heart-disease-in-dogs/ excerpt below, click on link for full article and comments:
    Dr. Jennifer Larsen, a nutritionist at UC Davis, has written an excellent summary of the nuances of this issue, and she has agreed to let me share some of it here:
    Taurine is not required to be present in dog foods. Taurine is an amino acid that is not nutritionally essential for dogs; however, there are dietary factors (such as protein source, fiber type and concentration, and cooking or processing methods) and individual dog characteristics (such as breed and calorie needs) that impact how efficiently taurine may be made and used by the body. The sulfur amino acid content and bioavailability in food is important though. The problem with dietary deficiency-related cardiac disease is multifactorial and is not just seen in goldens.
    1- in many grain free diets, legumes are used to provide the carb (starch) but also protein and fiber – you cannot tell which ingredients are providing various proportions of nutrients from an ingredient list
    2- legume protein is low in sulfur amino acids (methionine and cystine- the precursors for taurine synthesis)
    3- some fiber types/concentrations increase fecal taurine content and promotes bacterial degradation of taurine (dogs and cats must use taurine to conjugate bile acids) so taurine recycling is not as efficient and more is lost
    4- dogs need an adequate supply of precursors and to be able to make taurine fast enough to replace obligatory as well as excessive losses. When Newfoundlands and beagles were compared (during the Investigation into the lamb and rice issue with DCM in the 90s), it was found that Newfoundlands made taurine more slowly, so there are differences among breeds and probably individuals
    5- dogs with lower than predicted calorie needs (“easy keepers”) also might not eat enough food and therefore enough protein to supply adequate precursors
    6- some grain free diets (and other types of diets), are not high in protein (and therefore sulfur amino acids) since they use more expensive exotic or uncommon sources.
    Any of these or a combination may impact taurine status in the dog.
    There have been recent cases seen in our hospital and elsewhere of dilated cardiomyopathy secondary to taurine deficiency in dogs that have been associated with commercial diets containing certain ingredients (such as legumes – beans, lentils, and peas – and root vegetables – white and sweet potatoes). Data collection and interpretation is ongoing for these recent cases.
    In the past we have also seen cases of dilated cardiomyopathy and taurine deficiency in dogs eating home-prepared diets (with either cooked and raw ingredients and those with and without meat), and other commercial diets with various ingredients and nutritional profiles. Some of those cases and investigations have been published (others can be found on PubMed):

    #128593 Report Abuse

    Bobby dog
    Member

    Hi joanne l:
    I disagree that a company adding taurine to their OTC diets is a good thing. Two that come to mind are Fromm and Zignature. Why do they need to add taurine to their diets? Neither employ full time credentialed small animal nutritionists for the vast amount of recipes they produce. What research have they conducted on their diets? How are they determining how much taurine is needed? Are they adding too much, too little? Are they currently testing their diets to determine if adding taurine is beneficial? Last time I contacted these companies the answer was no.

    I used to feed Fromm because they checked most of the WSAVA guidelines. As more DCM cases were reported I decided it’s not worth the risk. They have been in business a long time, but apparently when their nutritionist retired years ago they opted not to replace him.

    One dog diagnosed with dietary DCM is too many IMO. Until this is figured out I am feeding only pet foods that employ full time Vets & PhD’s credentialed in small animal nutrition (not human or large animal), own their manufacturing facilities, have safety protocols in place, and contribute to research among other things.

    I feed mostly Purina and have had them in my rotation for about five years so it wasn’t a matter of transitioning to a new food for me, just eliminating suspect companies. I will be trying a few RC & Eukanuba recipes in the future. Good luck on your search! 😉

    #128594 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    My friend just asked her vet what to now feed her dog?
    The vet told her that they no longer recommend any grain free dog foods.
    BTW: Her dog has a minor cardiac condition (not diet related)

    He told her to feed whatever brand of dog food that she likes as long as it includes grains.

    In other words, until we know more, don’t overthink it.

    #128595 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    For who,ever would like to reply: what dry foods do you think are good considering all that is going on lately?

    #128596 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    Fromm Classic Adult (1949 recipe), Pro Plan Focus sensitive skin and stomach, Blue Buffalo (grain inclusive).

    PS: My friend decided on Nutrisource (grain inclusive) as per the pet shop’s recommendation.
    We’ll see…..

    I have to add that the dog has been doing great on Zignature for a few years, as have my dogs.

    The vet said don’t throw out the Zignature, just mix it in with the new food.

    #128598 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2018/12/evidence-update-grain-free-and-other-beg-diets-associated-with-heart-disease-in-dogs/comment-page-1/#comment-123037

    We would like a listing of dry kibble that is acceptable for our taurine deficient dog. Obviously the listing must be longer than just Royal Canine and Purina

    skeptvet says:
    December 18, 2018 at 9:05 am
    There is no such list. If you have read my articles on the subject, you know that the relationship between diet, taurine, and DCM is complex and evolving, so there is no way to make a simple “good food/bad food” distinction. I would suggest looking at the resources on the subject available the Tufts University Veterinary Nutrition Service or arranging a personal consult with a veterinary nutrition specialist.

    #128599 Report Abuse

    Bobby dog
    Member

    Awsome post!! Now that is an excellent reply from a Vet with up to date knowledge of the issue because just avoiding GF or feeding grain inclusive diets does not appear to be the answer!! “I would suggest looking at the resources on the subject available the Tufts University Veterinary Nutrition Service or arranging a personal consult with a veterinary nutrition specialist.” ~ Skepvet

    I would be uncomfortable and disappointed with my Vets if their advice were, “…to feed whatever brand of dog food that she likes as long as it includes grains.” Or, “The vet said don’t throw out the Zignature, just mix it in with the new food.”

    #128600 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    “I would be uncomfortable and disappointed with my Vets if their advice were, “…to feed whatever brand of dog food that she likes as long as it includes grains.” Or, “The vet said don’t throw out the Zignature, just mix it in with the new food.”

    Quite the contrary. I am satisfied with that advice. My dogs are doing very well.

    Some of us are on fixed incomes and cannot afford to throw out any food, especially if it has not caused an adverse reaction.

    #128601 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Hi Bobby, I don’t necessarily agree that companies should add taurine, but on their behalf they don’t want to take a chance I suppose. However, I do agree that adding taurine is not quite the answer as I mentioned Purina pro plan don’t add it and the dogs are doing fine. I feed Pro plan myself, and I just wanted to explain that if these dogs are eating pro plan and do not have DCM that raises a question that how can it be a totally taurine problem with these other dogs? I am on Purina’s side with this only b/c I know a lot of Goldens that eat pro plan and were tested for DCM and their test result were clear. So Purina is doing something right without the taurine added. Doesn’t that make people think that it is not just a taurine problem!! It is a shame that these companies are going crazy adding taurine like mad. And CrazyCats I agree the other companies don’t have much of the knowledge they need to make a good balanced dog food, years of experience is key to some of these issues. Also, too much fiber in grain free foods can’t help dogs absorb nutrition like they need to. Like Anon mentioned. I guess the bottom line is grain free foods have not been around long enough and maybe it is a poor diet for dogs in the long run. I myself with chose grain in diets for now.
    All I can say is dogs make their own taurine period!! If the grain free diets are prohibiting taurine absorption then, I would not feed it even if companies are adding taurine that is just putting a band aid on the problem and giving dogs a over load of supplements, I don’t really like that idea. Diet change IMO is key right now! Oh and one more thing, that is like us eating something that steals our nutrition and then taking a bunch of supplements. That is crazy, I would just not eat those foods.

    #128602 Report Abuse

    Bobby dog
    Member

    I am commenting on the topic of this thread not suggesting or directing anyone do something they do not want to or cannot do. 😉

    Absolutely I would be disappointed with that advice and that is my opinion.

    If adverse reaction is in reference to DCM only specific blood work and an echo can determine that.

    #128603 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    Labs are perfect. Physical exams reveal no cardiac issues.
    An echo would be recommended only if anomalies have been detected via routine exam and lab work.

    It’s all good!

    PS: Taurine levels are an expensive lab to have done and not indicated in most cases.
    Again, listen to the vet that has examined your dog, see what has been recommended.

    #128604 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Bobby Dog…..hi! Do you have an opinion on foods?

    (Hope this posts….tried posting a thank you to Anon but it’s not showing)

    #128605 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    @ Inked Marie

    Didn’t see your thank you post, but I appreciate it 🙂

    #128606 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Anon: it didn’t post. Kept loading. Working now. Thanks for the response!

    #128607 Report Abuse

    Bobby dog
    Member

    Hi Marie and Merry Christmas!!!
    I do, I mentioned them above in my post I wasn’t ignoring your question!!

    I’m sticking with the big 3 as of now until it’s figured out. I mostly feed Purina canned & kibble; they fit into my budget more so than others.

    I already had Purina and some SD canned in my rotation. I hope to add a few kibble recipes from Eukanuba and some RC canned in the future. RC kibble is out of my price range!!

    For kibble I had been feeding various Purina lines for about five years along with Fromm, Annamaet, Wellness, and Exclusive. Looked back on a food chart I used to keep!! From that kibble rotation I only kept Purina.

    He does really well on Pro Plan weight management recipes, Beneful Select 10, and Dog Chow Naturals.

    #128608 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Thanks Bobby Dog and merry Christmas! I appreciate your answers!

    #128783 Report Abuse

    HoundMusic
    Member

    “well??? The dogs that were tested including “goldens” that ate Pro Plan by Purina did not have DCM and they DO NOT add taurine in their diets!! What do you guys think about that???”

    I remember hearing from the beginning that this was not as simple as a taurine deficiency issue, because several of the cases included dogs that had non genetic forms of DCM, but were NOT deficient in taurine. Possibly, the ones that were deficient were only so because of the extent and severity of the heart issue? IDK. This whole thing seems to be still up in the air.

    Anyway, here’s an updated article from Tuft’s, discussing the confusion re: grain free & taurine deficiency.

    http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/11/dcm-update/

    #129291 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    My point was that Goldens are prone to this condition, but the ones that were feed Pro Plan DID NOT have DCM. It seems that some of the higher end foods they ate and were tested positive for DCM and low taurine. Are you missing something here? I do understand that it is not ONLY a taurine deficiency. The point is that in some cases dogs were low in taurine, the dogs that were feed Pro Plan did not have low taurine or DCM.

    #131298 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Hi everyone I just found this from the FDA but no outcome yet. This was posted 3 days ago. Here is the link: https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/ucm630993.htm

    #137092 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    I wonder if this investigation is going to last forever. I think it might last long because companies will lose a lot of money if they have to reformulate their food. I also wonder if they will sweep this one under the carpet because of MONEY? I hope not. But I think any FAD diet, including ours, is not good in the long run. So I don’t feel comfortable using grain free at all.

    I just found this on a website check it out:
    Legumes contain relatively low quantities of the essential amino acid methionine (which is found in higher amounts in grains).
    Methionine Functions. Methionine helps produce Cysteine which is used to create protein, taurine, and glutathione. Taurine helps maintain your overall health. Glutathione plays a major role in protein and DNA production as well as metabolizing nutrients inside your body.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  joanne l.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  joanne l.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  joanne l.
    #137112 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    What website? No link was provided.

    Provide link so that we can decide for ourselves if it is a legitimate site. Another homeopathic site?

    Be careful, there is a lot of bogus information on the internet.
    See what your vet advises.

    #137118 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    Yes, Joanne, I hope the investigation into the sudden increase of cases of DCM in dogs would come up with some more concrete answers soon also. However, it seems like it is complicated. Too bad some of the companies whose names keep coming up as having been fed to the dogs being diagnosed would step up and help support the research. They instead are turning their backs and continue to formulate dog food without employing people with the expertise to do so. Also using new untested ingredients without doing any type of feed trials.

    So many people roll their eyes at the “big 3” donating money to the researchers. How would the research get done if they didn’t. I’m sure they would accept money from some of the other pet food companies as well. I’m guessing that Champion, Fromm, Global Pets, and Diamond have enough profits to contribute. They charge enough for their food! Where are their profits going? Not on veterinarian nutritionists, testing, research or feeding trials!

    Not sure if the FDA ever came to a conclusion on what was causing dogs to die from jerky treats. I won’t ever feed those again either. Just like I will only feed foods that meet all the WSAVA criteria from now on.

    You’re right about dogs being able to synthesize their own taurine if the proper precursors are available in their diet. There are several articles to be found on the internet with this information. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am not an expert at analyzing dog food ingredient panels! You just can’t get the whole story from them.

    Btw, Dr. Stern’s peer-reviewed study at UCDavis was privately funded. There was no money taken from any pet food companies.

    My dogs are doing great on Purina ProPlan. Sounds like yours are/is as well, joanne. Best wishes!

    #137184 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    https://www.livestrong.com/article/426939-essential-amino-acids-in-vegetables/
    Here is a link read the paragraph about beans and legumes. This might be very helpful to understand something. As it states how Legumes and beans do not contain amino acid methionine, which is important. I am just doing research to see what I can find. A little bit of picking at it might come down to some kind of understanding. All I know is, what I read about legumes and peas and beans I DO NOT want to give that to my dog. I would NOT feel good about it. As far as my Vet, he mentioned to feed regular grain in dog food. He mentioned to me grain free is not been established to know enough about it in the long run. Bottom line he don’t like grain free diets.
    And thank you crazy4cats for the info.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  joanne l.
    #137310 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    I know that many disparage Susan Thixton on this board. I never understood why that is so. . I think she does hard work and at least woke me up in thinking about what I have been feeding my dogs and the lack of transparency of the pet food industry .(TruthaboutPetFood).”, Susan learned the ‘truth’ about pet foods the hard way. Her four legged best friend, Sam, died from bone cancer.From that day forward, Susan studied the pet food industry. TruthaboutPetFood.com began in 2004; today pet owners from all over the world visit TruthaboutPetFood learning about pet food regulations, ingredients, and recall alerts. TruthaboutPetFood.com provides a free newsletter and hosts a subscription based pet product review publication Petsumer Report. Susan is also the author of Buyer Beware and co-author of Dinner PAWsible.

    So if you read below it says that the FDA is not allowing “boutique” brands to participate in the DCM study. Why is that? Also that Merrick, owned by Purina is also implicated in DCM. Why aren’t they taking Merricks grain free off the market . You would think that since Purina would not want to be associated with foods that are not formulated correctly?

    An email received yesterday emphasized a very real problem of pet food. Yesterday (3/13/19) a 3 year old dog died of diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy). This dog (and another dog in the same household also diagnosed with diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM) was fed Merrick Grain Free Kibble.

    A video attached to the email (sent by the pet owner’s sister) was gut wrenching to watch. It showed this young dog struggling to breath. A ‘Complete and Balanced’ dog food destroyed her heart.

    Another ‘Complete and Balance’ dog food destroyed a family.

    How many dogs have to die before FDA takes action?

    We don’t know. FDA has issued two statements to pet owners; one in July 2018 and another in February 2019.

    Of concern: the FDA has chosen to work ONLY with Big Pet Feed through their trade association Pet Food Institute on the DCM investigation. FDA has refused our requests to involve pet owners in the investigation. FDA has also refused the request of another pet food trade association that represents human grade pet food manufacturers to help aid in the investigation. Instead, FDA is choosing only to partner with feed grade pet food manufacturers (the very same companies whose pet foods have been linked to DCM sick or dead dogs).

    What can you do to protect your pet?

    Veterinarians are tending to instruct pet owners to stay clear of “boutique” (small brands) pet foods and attempting to lead pet owners back to grain based pet foods manufactured by Big Pet Feed. This ‘advice’ is bad for multiple reasons.

    Merrick Pet Food – which was fed to the dog mentioned above – is owned by Purina. Purina or Merrick is NOT a “boutique” brand.

    FDA refuses to allow “boutique” brands (human grade ingredient brands) to participate in the investigation of the diet-related DCM issue.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Patricia A.
    #137718 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Regardless, still grain free dog food is a fad, and it has not been around long enough. To make it easier I just stay away from grain free and exotics meats. Reason being is because legumes and peas prohibits minerals to be absorbed. I never liked grain free anyway. So exotics meats is another story don’t like it, we don’t know what they are preserving it with and where it comes from, if it is safe, even though they can tell you it is. Plus the nutrients are different. I know there is always something with any dog food, but these trendy dog foods , to me, are not worth using for long period of time if you do use it. This is just how I see it.

    #137794 Report Abuse

    hamish
    Participant

    @crazy4cats

    But the big 3 have grain free SKUs with the exact same ingredients everyone is worried about in them. Purina has no less than 14 SKUs loaded with legumes and potatoes in place of grains. Even some of their prescription vet formulated kibble does and they’re still being sold. This is before you branch out to the other brands they own outside of the Purina name. A lot of good the years of canine nutrition and PHD veterinarian nutritionists did. By your logic the fact that Purina puts out those products should be a green light for everyone to purchase grain free dog food. The truth is no company saw this coming or even knows what the exact problem is.

    You’re also not considering any other factors. Here’s one. Grain free foods, especially of the boutique variety, cost a hell of a lot more than a bag of kibbles and bits. Who’s more likely to have pet insurance for their dog? Who’s more likely to spare no expense going down the rabbit hole of their dogs illness when the pup is on death’s door. Who’s more likely to say do whatever you need to do to save my dogs life? Who’s more likely to take their dog to a specialist when a problem arises instead of the town vet? Who’s more likely to say keep going than putting their dog down when the vet says what the problem is and the costs are? Who’s more likely to do each of those things between a person who spends $20 on a 50 pound bag of Kibbles n Bits or someone who spends $130 on a bag of Orijen Tundra half the size.

    We just don’t know yet. Years ago no one had autism now 1 in 60 kids in the USA is on the spectrum. You know why? Not vaccines. It’s because we test for it now and are much more sophisticated in our awareness of it. This could be peas. This could be potatoes. Or it could be that people that buy boutique foods are more likely to have more disposable income resulting in them more likely to have pet insurance or more likely to spend any amount necessary to save their dog. Which would result in bringing the dog to a place that’s going to go down the rabbit hole and ultimately report the issue. How many dogs do you think die of DCM but we don’t know because the owner takes them to the vet, vet has a listen, and says, “I know it’s heart failure but if you wanna find out exactly what’s wrong it’s gonna cost a lot of money. Best to just put the dog down.”

    This is all before we look at who the owner’s got the dog from. Did they get it from a responsible breeder or did they get it from a puppy mill breeder that put on a good show and is pumping out dogs whose parents showed signs of heart failure or was over-breeding dogs from the same line? What else do these people feed their dogs? Are the dogs exercised and taken care of? That’s why this is going to take so long to figure out. There are so many other factors to isolate before we get to the food.

    We just don’t know.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  hamish.
    #137795 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    @ Hamish

    Thanks for posting. I appreciate your opinions.

    #137803 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    That might be so, however I still don’t like grain free long term. I had another post why I don’t like it and it is because legumes and peas prohibit nutrients and minerals from being absorbed. Grains don’t do this. I am not a vegan or vegetarian, but some of my friends are. They know all about beans of all kind. Since they don’t eat meat they need to eat grains with beans to have a balance. Because there is something in grains that beans don’t have. But anyway I am not saying grains are great, but I am saying they are not bad at all. Since I know what legumes can do I avoid it in dog food. Such ingredients don’t even make sense in a canines diet at all period.
    Here is an interesting article, this is one of many. You will see how beans can effect minerals.
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/legumes-good-or-bad#section3
    P.S. I don’t mean to sound like a smart aleck I just want to tell people about my findings, so maybe it could be of help.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  joanne l.
    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  joanne l.
    #137822 Report Abuse

    hamish
    Participant

    Hey I’m right there with you. I prefer grains over peas, potatoes, and legumes. I just wish grain friendly food was made across the board like grain free food is. You’re not doing your dog any favors feeding them a 20% protein kibble with the first ingredients being some combination of corn, sorghum, and brewers rice and effectively giving them meat flavored bread. You’re trading heart failure for other complications that we just write off as oh the dog’s getting old because we’ve been feeding those foods for so long. There have been plenty of posts on here linking to clinical studies of the affects of high grain low protein dog foods that I don;t need to repeat. Farmina has grain friendly products and 90% of the protein comes from animal sources. I guess since they’re from Europe they’re obliged to also put the percentage of the kibble that the ingredients make up. Looking at one label 48% of the kibbles makeup, at least when wet, is meat. Followed by 20% of grains. All in a guaranteed analysis 30% protein kibble. First Mate also makes grain friendly kibble. Their chicken an oats formula has 75% of its protein from animals and 25% from grain in a 28% protein kibble. Dr Tim’s had an ancient grains formula with 32% guaranteed analysis protein that they discontinued right when the grain free news started. I wish they never did it was a great kibble. So there are options out there. They’re just harder to find because they’re not en vogue right now.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  hamish.
    #137843 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    Joanne I believe it’s so much more complicated then peas/legumes causing lack of absorption of taurine. Way over my head with scientific explanations but I get the gist that not ALL grain free is causing DCM. Below is sited from JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE OXFORD:

    Other recent publications highlight the need for careful nutrient formulation.

    Several recent papers, both original research and reviews, likewise highlight the unknowns surrounding grain-free diets (typically legume or pulse-based, but sometimes also with “exotic” ingredients such as kangaroo, bison, or wild boar) and DCM. For example, Adin et al. (2019) examined 48 dogs of many breeds with diagnosed DCM and having a known diet history. Among grain-free diets being consumed in this study, 1 dog was particularly associated with DCM, possibly underscoring the importance of specific diet formulation. Furthermore, 2 dogs switched from that diet to other grain-free diets showed improvement in their DCM; it is unclear if those dogs were taurine deficient or if they also received taurine and/or carnitine supplementation. This suggests that grain-free composition per se may not be the root cause of DCM. Another recently published case series of 24 Golden Retrievers with DCM and known diet histories were evaluated, and an association between grain-free diets and DCM was suggested (Kaplan et al., 2018). Most dogs (15 of 24) were fed a single diet which was significantly associated with low blood taurine concentrations, again suggesting that specific diet formulation may play an important role. However, as in the previous study, soluble vs. insoluble fiber concentrations were not available for the diets, nor were taurine, methionine, or cysteine concentrations, meaning that the true nutrient profiles of the diets could not be assessed and reinforcing the point that diet formulation for nutrients—not ingredients—is essential. It also suggests that nutrient requirements may vary widely based on breed, diet, and other phenotypic data. Indeed, most of the dogs with DCM in the previously described study were consuming less energy compared with their predicted requirements (Kaplan et al., 2018). It also bears pointing out that the numbers in both studies were very low (representing less than 100 DCM-affected dogs between them), which surely represents a fraction of the dogs consuming grain-free, pulse-based diets. A recent thoughtful review supports these conclusions by reiterating the crucial need for plant-based diets for dogs to be formulated with sufficient quantities of bioavailable methionine and cysteine to support adequate taurine synthesis (Dodd et al., 2018). This can be achieved with the addition of purified AAs and other sources that are readily available (Gloaguen et al., 2014). Finally, a recent commentary carefully concludes that a true cause-and-effect relationship between grain-free diets and DCM has not been proven, and other factors may ultimately be more important (Freeman et al., 2018). Taken together, these recent publications may point to faulty nutrient formulation in some, but not all, grain-free diets.

    Effect of Dietary Fiber on Taurine Status and RISK of Canine DCM
    Dietary fiber has been shown to affect the taurine status in dogs. For example, commercial diets formulated with lamb meal and rice bran were shown to cause taurine deficiency in part because of low bioavailable cysteine from lamb meal and possibly more importantly due to the effects of rice bran fiber on gastrointestinal metabolism of taurine (Johnson et al., 1998; Tôrres et al., 2003). It has been hypothesized that high-fiber diets can increase susceptibility to taurine deficiency by 2 mechanisms of action linked to obligatory bile acid conjugation with taurine in dogs (O’Mádille et al., 1965) and reliance on enterohepatic circulation for the reabsorption of bile acids and taurine. First, high-fiber diets may increase fecal output and losses of taurine-conjugated bile. This would require higher synthesis rates of bile in the liver, and consequently, higher utilization of taurine (Story, 1978). Second, high consumption of fermentable fibers may increase the abundance of microbial populations that degrade taurine in the intestinal lumen (Kim et al., 1996a, 1996b). Either alone or together, increased excretion or degradation of taurine from high-fiber diets may decrease enterohepatic circulation and recycling of taurine. Given that taurine is the only AA used for bile acid conjugation in dogs, over time, high-fiber diets could increase the risk of taurine insufficiency in dogs and lead to DCM.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Patricia A.
    #137852 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Well put, I also agree about the fiber, especially rice bran!! If my dog eats a food with rice bran his stools are terrible. I steer clear of that ingredient. Also, yes dogs poop 3 times as much with a high fiber and that is not good. I agree totally. Some of these companies have like 6 to 8 % fiber and that is way too much for us. I go with 3 to 4% for maximum. Too much stool out put more lost nutrients. Like you said.

    I just read about wolves, how they get their fiber. I couldn’t believe it, but they get their fiber from fur and feathers. This is true I will try to post the articles. I checked a few and all said the same. They said, “wolves eat bones with fur on them and there are two reasons fiber and it protects their stomachs from sharp bones. Very interesting. They also eat grass to purge an upset stomach. It is so interesting how natural provides them with everything they need. So wolves don’t eat fiber foods that dog food contains. We would say yuck to feathers and fur, but it is fiber and protection to the wolf.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  joanne l.
    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  joanne l.
    #137855 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    I say companies should throw in the fur and feathers and forgot the other fiber foods. LOL!!

    #137925 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    LOL Joanne…it would take decades for the average pet food buyer to get used to THAT in dog food. Even if one million ph.d’s in vet nutrition said that the more feathers and fur tufts in the food the better. lol.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Patricia A.
    #138618 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    I just found this website https://huffardanimalhospital.com/2019/02/05/an-update-on-boutique-exotic-and-grain-free-beg-diets-for-dogs/
    Maybe you guys already seen it I don’t know.

    #138619 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    It’s getting very repetitive now.

    Same information over and over again.

    Just ask the vet that has examined your pets and knows them best, if he approves of the food that you have chosen to feed.

    If that’s not good enough I don’t know what is.

    Consulting Dr Google all day long will only increase your anxiety and provide you with a lot of bogus information.

    That has been my experience.

    #138620 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    Article in Whole Dog Journal sums it up for now at least.

    Because any or all of these dietary factors could be risk factors for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs, and because peas, legumes, and other ingredients identified by the FDA report have not yet been fully studied, the heart of the matter is that no conclusions can yet be made about the underlying dietary cause or causes of taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs.

    But given what we do know, we recommend feeding a diet that contains sufficient levels of high-quality, animal-source protein, does not include plant-source proteins as primary protein sources, and does not contain high levels of dietary fiber.

    #138621 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    joanne l

    Great article! I have not seen this one. It sums it up very nicely. Glad to see the word is getting out. You can choose to believe veterinarians or bloggers who believe they know more than them. Good luck!

    #138623 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    Regarding the article: “As of today, over 50% of the reported cases are linked to the following brands: Acana, Zignature, 4Health, Kirkland Nature’s Domain, and Taste of the Wild. There are many other brands that have a smaller number of affected pets reported”.

    Oh, okay so 50% of the cases have NO connection to the above brands. Again, no solid information or facts.

    PS: Whole Dog Journal is a homeopathic site. Homeopathic sites often have an agenda.

    Please speak to your vet.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by  anon101.
    #138625 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    LOL! You are something else, anon101. You’re welcome, btw, for giving you a heads up on Zignature. At least maybe we helped your dogs out, anyway.

    #138629 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    @ crazy4cats

    I have no clue what you are talking about.

    Zignature is a good food, sorry but it is true. Just because they fell down the rabbit hole (grain free, exotic ingredients) like a lot of other brands did including the brands that you recommend, doesn’t make them bad.

    Everything isn’t black or white. There is a big grey area.

    #138630 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Anon101: I think you should rethink Zignatures. I say this respectfully, I heard a lot of dogs on this food were in bad shape. I am telling you there were young dogs different breeds as well with full blown DCM and CHF on this food!!! I see a report from an animal hospital, sorry I forgot the name of the hospital. But I WOULD NOT feed this one for sure. The breeds included GSD, Rottweilers, puddles and mix breeds. But if you like it so be it. I just wanted to let you know. I do understand there is a gray area, however if this FDA warning was with our food I know I would stay away from what they think until further notice. Wouldn’t you?

    #138631 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    Again, Dr Google is NOT a reliable source of information.

    Please consult your veterinarian.

    Again, FDA has not advised to avoid any specific brands of dog food.

    Again, WSAVA has not advised to avoid any specific brands of dog food.

    #138633 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    I’m finding out that not all vets are up to speed on DCM. That’s sad so i personally refrain from telling people to ask their vets. If the vet isn’t up to speed, your dog may pay the price.

    Has SkeptVet examined your dogs Anon?

    Didn’t think so.

    #138634 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    Silly, silly people.

    Anonymous strangers on the internet know more than a veterinarian that has actually examined your dogs and knows their history.

    Good luck with that theory!

    #138641 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    YES regarding DCM. Vets involved in this don’t need to know our dogs to know what to recommend until this ism”fixed”, for lack of a better term.

    So…yes, if your local vet isn’t up to speed on DCM, I will definitely listen to the vets on the forefront of this over the local vet. YOU always say to listen to our vet yet you spout Skept Vet constantly and we all know you post to his blog too yet we all know he hasn’t examined your dogs. Might want to practice what you preach.

    #138654 Report Abuse

    Bobby dog
    Member

    I read a comment on Skeptvet’s blog asking for advice from a Vet or two… I assume no one replied because they had not examined the dog.

    Zignature never fell down a “rabbit hole.” Their whole schtick from the beginning was holistic, grain free, exotic meats, and no chicken, potatoes, wheat, soy, or corn that’s what they built their brand on, “Meat first provides the animal protein dogs need to thrive, while our limited ingredient philosophy eliminates allergenic ingredients, such as Chicken, Corn, Wheat Gluten, Soy, and Potatoes. The result is an optimal hypoallergenic, grain free, and low carbohydrate nutrition. We build on this natural foundation by adding vital supplements such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals for holistic pet food that goes beyond nature to become your pet’s signature food for life.” ~ Zignature

    Don’t forget Zig’s endorsement of the Glycemic Research Institute…wonder if the creator of that business ever got their weight loss chocolate off the ground…

    WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT ZIGNATURE® CONTAINS NO POTATOES?
    Potatoes have been identified as a high-glycemic carbohydrate for dog food. Zignature® only uses low glycemic carbohydrates such as whole Chickpeas, and garden Peas which also provide valuable soluble and insoluble fiber. For more details, visit the Glycemic Research institute.
    https://zignature.com/faq/

    #138659 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    Anon Whole Dog Journal’s article regarding DCM sounds pretty science based to me. There are also articles in Whole Dog Journal regarding the negative effects of yearly vaccinations for our pets . Holistic is not voodoo science anyway. Where some vets will push everything the drug salesman brings to their practice, holistic vets questions the need and the worth of giving certain medications when at times the side effects are worse then the problem . Example flea and tick medicines. Some have devastating effects on the health of our pets and the vets don’t find out till it’s too late. Below is full Whole Dog Journals article .
    DCM in Dogs: Taurine’s Role in the Canine Diet
    What is taurine-deficiency dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and how can dog owners prevent it? (Hint: It involves more than just grain-free foods.)

    By Linda P. Case – August 15, 20180

    TAURINE FOR DOGS: OVERVIEW

    Taurine Is Needed For:

    1. Healthy heart function
    2. As a component of bile acids
    3. Retinal function
    4. Reproductive health

    Dietary Risk Factors for Reduced Taurine Status:

    – Low-protein diet (limited taurine precursors)
    – Heat-damaged or poor-quality protein sources
    – High dietary fiber (i.e., rice bran, beet pulp, cellulose)
    – Lamb and rice diets (speculated)
    – Plant-based protein sources (peas, lentils, legumes) (speculated)

    Possible Risk Factors for Taurine-Deficiency DCM:

    BREEDS
    American Cocker Spaniel
    English Setter
    Golden Retriever
    Labrador Retriever
    Newfoundland
    St. Bernard

    SIZE
    Large-breed dogs
    Dogs with slower metabolic rates

    DIET
    Factors that reduce taurine production
    Factors that increase taurine-degrading microbes in the intestine
    Factors that reduce bile acid production

    In mid-July 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an alert to veterinarians and pet owners regarding reports of increased incidence of a heart disease called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This disorder is characterized by weakening of the heart muscle, which leads to a decreased ability of the heart to pump, and if untreated, to cardiac failure. The reported cases occurred in breeds that are not considered to be genetically predisposed to this disorder.

    Further, a significant number of the dogs were found to have reduced levels of circulating taurine in their blood and have responded positively to taurine supplementation. It is speculated that these cases are related to the consumption of foods that negatively affect taurine status, leading to taurine-deficiency DCM. Foods containing high levels of peas, lentils, other legume seeds, and/or potatoes were identified by the FDA as potential risk factors. These ingredients are found commonly in foods that are formulated and promoted as “grain-free.”

    As these things go, there followed a lot of hype and a fair bit of hysteria in response. Let us avoid this type of reaction and instead look at the evidence: What do we currently know about the role of diet and taurine in the development of DCM in dogs – and how is it that “grain-free” foods have been recently targeted as a possible dietary cause?

    grain free dog food concerns
    Signs of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Dogs

    DCM is a disease of the heart, which causes the heart muscles themselves to weaken, which, in turn, reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood through the dog’s body as it should. The heart becomes enlarged and flabby, and fluid begins to accumulate in the dog’s lungs. As this condition progresses, it causes congestive heart failure.

    Early signs of DCM may include:

    – Lethargy, decreased energy
    – A persistent cough
    – Difficulty breathing, rapid or excessive breathing, or seeming shortness of breath
    – Episodes of collapse
    – Anorexia (chronic loss of appetite)

    By the time these signs appear, the disease may already be fairly advanced. That’s why it’s important to make an appointment to see your veterinarian right away if your dog displays any of these signs, or more than one of these signs. Often, owners of middle-aged or senior dogs think that their dogs’ symptoms are “just old age,” but a quick diagnosis and treatment can restore an affected dog’s quality of life to nearly normal – and extend the dog’s life far past an untreated dog’s prognosis.

    Treatment usually involves medications that help the dog’s heart to contract, slow his rapid pulse, help control the accumulation of fluid in his lungs, and dilate his blood vessels – all actions that will improve the heart’s performance.

    What is Taurine? Why Do Dogs Need Taurine?

    The nutrient taurine is a unique type of amino acid, called a beta-amino sulfonic acid. It is not incorporated into proteins but rather is found primarily as a free amino acid in body tissues and circulating in the blood. Taurine has many functions, but two that are important for this discussion involve its role in normal heart function and its presence as a component of bile acids, which are needed for fat digestion. Most animals obtain adequate taurine to meet their needs by producing it endogenously (in the body) from two other amino acids, methionine and cysteine.

    This means that while most animals require taurine physiologically, most do not have a dietary requirement for taurine. The exception to this rule is the cat. Cats (but not dogs) always require a source of taurine in their food. If they do not have it, one of the diseases that they can develop (and possibly die from) is – you guessed it – DCM.

    taurine structure
    Taurine-deficiency DCM is well documented in cats. We also know quite a lot about the dietary factors that contribute to this disease in that species. In contrast, dogs (usually) do not require a source of dietary taurine. However, we know that some dogs still develop taurine-deficiency DCM. Why does this happen? The history of DCM in cats can help in untangling what may be occurring in dogs.

    Taurine-Deficiency DCM in Cats

    Looking back, I cannot avoid a sense of déjà vu. In the early 1980s, veterinarians began reporting increased incidences of DCM in pet cats. By 1987, a role for dietary taurine was suspected. In a seminal study, a veterinary researcher at UC Davis reported low plasma (blood) taurine levels in 21 cats with clinical signs of DCM. 1 When the cats were supplemented with taurine, all 21 recovered from the disease. This discovery led to a series of controlled studies that supported the existence of taurine-deficiency DCM in cats who were fed diets that contained sufficient concentrations of taurine.

    What was going on?

    It has to do with bile acids. Another role of taurine in the body is that it is necessary for normal bile acid function. Taurine is linked to bile acids in the liver to form bile salts. During digestion, these compounds are secreted into the small intestine, where they function to aid in fat digestion. Animals are very efficient at conserving the taurine that is secreted into the intestine by reabsorbing the bile salts back into the body further down the intestinal tract. This occurs through a process called “enterohepatic reutilization” and prevents a daily loss of taurine in the feces.

    Herein lies the problem for cats with DCM: If anything happens during digestion that causes the degradation of the bile salt taurine or that inhibits its reabsorption into the body, more is lost in the feces. If this happens consistently, the cat will experience an increase in his or her daily need for dietary taurine. Simply put – if anything causes the cat to poop out more taurine-bile acid complexes (or their degraded by-products), the cat will be in danger of a taurine deficiency if a higher level is not provided in the diet.

    This is exactly what was happening in the cats with taurine-deficiency DCM – and is possibly what we are seeing today in dogs. The difference is that we know what diet factors caused taurine deficiency in cats during the late 1980s. These factors are not yet fully understood for dogs (but we can make a few guesses).

    What We Know About Diet and Taurine Status

    The studies with cats found that several dietary factors influenced taurine status. These were the level and type of dietary protein, the amount and type of dietary fiber, and the degree of heat that was used during food processing. These factors could affect taurine status in three ways:

    1. Bile Acid Binding

    Certain fibers and peptides (small protein chains) in the food can bind with bile salts in the small intestine and make them unavailable for reabsorption into the body. This results in an increased daily loss of taurine in the feces and a subsequent increase in daily taurine requirement to replace that loss.

    2. Increased Microbial Degradation

    Thermal processing of protein (extrusion or canning) can lead to the production of Maillard products – complexes of sugars and amino acids that are poorly digested in the small intestine. The undigested complexes travel to the large intestine and provide an intestinal environment that favors increased numbers of taurine-degrading bacteria. An increase in these bacterial populations reduces the proportion of taurine that is available for reabsorption and reuse by the body.

    3. Reduced Taurine Availability

    Taurine is found naturally in animal-based proteins but is not found in plant-based protein sources. Therefore, providing diets that include a sufficient level of high-quality animal proteins (that are not heat damaged) should ensure adequate taurine intake.

    However, protein that is of low quality or that has been excessively heat-treated will be poorly digested, reducing the availability of taurine and of its precursor amino acids, cysteine and methionine.

    In the early 1990s, in response to this new information regarding the interaction of dietary factors and taurine status in cats (and their relationship to DCM in cats), the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) increased the recommendations for dietary taurine in extruded and canned cat foods.

    Taurine Deficiency in Dogs

    Unlike the cat, dogs who are fed diets containing adequate levels of protein should be capable of synthesizing enough taurine from cysteine and methionine to meet their needs. Therefore, a requirement for dietary taurine has not been generally recognized in dogs.

    However, there is evidence – evidence that we have had for at least 15 years – that certain breeds of dogs, and possibly particular lines within breeds, exhibit a high prevalence of taurine-deficiency DCM. Genetically predisposed breeds include the American Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, and English Setter.  Although the exact underlying cause is not known, it appears that some breeds have either a naturally occurring higher requirement for taurine or a metabolic abnormality that affects their taurine synthesis or utilization.

    A second factor that affects taurine status in dogs is size. There is evidence that a large adult size and a relatively slow metabolic rate influences the rate of taurine production in the body and may subsequently lead to a dietary taurine requirement. It is theorized that increased body size in dogs is associated with an enhanced risk for developing taurine deficiency and that this risk may be exacerbated by a breed-specific genetic predisposition.

    There is additional evidence that large and giant breed dogs have lower rates of taurine production compared with small dogs. Ultimately, studies suggest that certain dogs possess a genetic predisposition to taurine depletion and increased susceptibility to taurine-deficiency DCM and that this susceptibility may be related to the combined factors of breed, size, and metabolic rate.

    Taurine in Dog Food Diets

    The recent spate of cases and media attention to taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs suggests that this is a very new problem in dogs. However, it is not new. A connection between diet and DCM in dogs was first described in a paper published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2001. What is new is the sudden focus on certain pet food ingredients and the target that appears to have been placed upon the backs of all “grain-free” pet food brands by some bloggers and veterinarians.

    Not to put too fine a point on this, but the 12 cases of taurine-deficiency DCM described in the 2001 paper were collected between 1997 and 2001, years before grain-free dog foods had arrived on the pet food scene. Rather than disparage one class or type of dog food (or pet food company), it is more important to look at specific dietary factors that may be involved in DCM in dogs.

    Generally speaking, these are expected to be the same as those identified for cats, including low protein levels, poorly processed or heat-damaged proteins (leading to Maillard products), and the inclusion of a high proportion of plant-based protein sources such as peas and legumes.

    Over the past 15 years, reduced taurine status in dogs has been associated with feeding lamb meal and rice diets, soybean-based diets, rice bran, beet pulp, and high fiber diets. As with cats, there appear to be multiple dietary (and genetic) factors involved.

    For example, it was theorized that the perceived (not proven) association between lamb meal and taurine status was due to low levels of available amino acids present in the lamb meal, or to excessive heat damage of the protein, or to the confounding factor of the inclusion of rice bran in many lamb meal-containing foods. To date, none of these factors have been conclusively proven or disproven. However, the most recent study showed that three types of fiber source – rice bran, cellulose, and beet pulp – all caused reduced plasma taurine levels in dogs when included in a marginally low protein diet, with beet pulp causing the most pronounced decrease.

    Complicated? You bet. This is why it is important to avoid making unsupported claims about certain foods and brands. Taurine-deficiency DCM has been around for a while in dogs and continues to need study before making definitive conclusions about one or more specific dietary causes.

    Current Considerations of Taurine in Dog Food

    We know that any dietary factor that reduces the availability of taurine precursors, binds taurine bile salts in the intestine, or causes an increase in the bacteria populations that degrade taurine, can reduce a dog’s ability to synthesize taurine or will increase taurine degradation and/or loss in the feces. These changes could ultimately compromise a dog’s taurine status (especially if the dog was genetically predisposed) and affect heart health. In extreme cases, as we are seeing, this can lead to taurine-deficiency DCM (see “A Few Things to Know About Taurine” above).

    The FDA report identified foods that contain high amounts of peas, lentils, legume seeds, or potatoes to be of potential concern. The FDA also stated that the underlying cause of DCM in the reported cases is not known and that at this time, the diet-DCM relationship is only correlative (not causative). However, this has not stopped various bloggers and even some veterinarians from targeting small pet food companies and/or grain-free brands of food, and implying that these foods, and these foods alone, are causing taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs. Their reasoning is that peas and legumes are present in high amounts in foods that are formulated and marketed as grain-free.

    However, the truth is that many companies and brands of food include these ingredients. More importantly, there is no clear evidence showing that a particular dog food type, brand, or even ingredient is solely responsible for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs.

    Rather, it is more reasonable and responsible to speculate that one or more of these ingredients, their interactions, or the effects of ingredient quality, heat treatment, and food processing may play a role. Furthermore, the underlying cause could be the protein, starch, or fiber fractions of these ingredients. As plant-source proteins, peas, lentils, and legumes include varying amounts of starch (both digestible and resistant forms) and dietary fiber. These protein sources are also generally less nutritionally complete and less digestible than are high quality animal source proteins – additional factors that could influence a dog’s ability to both produce and use taurine. Potatoes, in contrast, provide a digestible source of starch in an extruded food but also contain varying levels of resistant starch, which is not digested and behaves much like dietary fiber in the intestinal tract.

    Conclusions on Grain-Free Food and DCM

    Because any or all of these dietary factors could be risk factors for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs, and because peas, legumes, and other ingredients identified by the FDA report have not yet been fully studied, the heart of the matter is that no conclusions can yet be made about the underlying dietary cause or causes of taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs.

    But given what we do know, we recommend feeding a diet that contains sufficient levels of high-quality, animal-source protein, does not include plant-source proteins as primary protein sources, and does not contain high levels of dietary fiber.

    If you are worried about your dog’s taurine status or heart health, whether due to his diet history or physical signs that are of concern, see your veterinarian for a complete physical examination and, if needed, to measure plasma levels of taurine. 

    Cited Studies

    1. Pion PD, Kittleson MD, Rogers QR, et al. “Myocardial failure in cats associated with low plasma taurine: A reversible cardiomyopathy.” Science 1987; 237:764-768.

    2. Earl KE, Smith PM. “The effect of dietary taurine content on the plasma taurine concentration of the cat.” British Journal of Nutrition 1991; 66:227-235.

    3. Hickman MA, Morris JG, Rogers QR. “Effect of processing on the fate of dietary taurine in cats.” Journal of Nutrition 1990; 120:995-1000.

    4. Hickman HA, Morris JG, Rogers QR. “Intestinal taurine and the enterohepatic circulation of taurocholic acid in the cat.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 1992; 315:45-54.

    5. Freeman LM, Rush JE, Brown DJ, et al. “Relationship between circulating and dietary taurine concentrations in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy.” Veterinary Therapeutics 2001; 370-378.

    6. Backus RC, Ko KS, Fascetti AJ. “Low plasma taurine concentration in Newfoundland dogs is associated with low plasma methionine and cysteine concentrations and low taurine synthesis.” Journal of Nutrition 2006; 136:2525-2533.

    7. Ko KS, Backus RC, Berg JR, et al. “Differences in taurine synthesis rate among dogs relate to differences in their maintenance energy requirement.” Journal of Nutrition 2007; 137:1171-1175.

    8. Fascetti AJ, Reed JR, Roger QR, et al. “Taurine deficiency in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy: 12 cases (1997 – 2001).” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2001; 223:1137-1141.

    9. Delaney SJ, Kass PH, Rogers QR, Fascetti AJ. “Plasma and whole blood taurine in normal dogs of varying size fed commercially prepared food.” Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 2003; 87:235-244.

    10. Torres CL, Backus RC, Fascetti AJ, et al. “Taurine status in normal dogs fed a commercial diet associated with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy.” Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 2003; 87:359-372.

    11. Ko KS, Fascetti AJ. “Dietary beet pulp decreases taurine status in dogs fed low protein diet.” Journal of Animal Science and Technology 2016; 58:29-39.

    Linda P. Case is the owner of AutumnGold Consulting & Dog Training Center in Mahomet, Illinois. Linda is the author of Dog Food Logic, has a new book, Dog Smart, and writes The Science Dog blog.

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