While taurine deficiencies are relatively rare, they can be common in certain breeds, and they can have debilitating consequences. The following article discusses the issues surrounding lack of taurine, and what you can do to keep your dog healthy.
Every dog owner is extremely well-acquainted with the quirks of their dog breed. Cocker spaniel owners know that their dogs are extremely loyal; Labrador retriever parents love their feisty and friendly dogs; great dane owners are intimately familiar with their breed’s stubbornness. However, the owners of these breeds might not be aware that their dogs are susceptible to a genetic condition that can compromise their health and even shorten their lives.
Taurine is an extremely important amino acid, as it supports heart, brain, muscle, and eye health. Most dogs don’t need dietary taurine – they synthesize taurine from other nutrients. But centuries of selective breeding in certain breeds have caused a nutritional defect that prevents them from producing taurine on their own. These breeds include:
- American cocker spaniel
- Great Dane
- Labrador retriever
- Golden retriever
- English setter
- Saint Bernard
If you own one of the breeds listed above, talk to your veterinarian about taurine deficiency. Lack of taurine alone doesn’t cause outward symptoms, but it can lead to medical conditions that do have symptoms. The most common taurine deficiency-related illness is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Its symptoms are the following:
- Weight gain
- Lack of energy
- Heavy panting
It is extremely important that you contact your vet immediately if your dog demonstrates any of the above symptoms, as they could be signs of DCM or other potentially serious medical conditions. If your vet finds that taurine deficiency is a concern for your dog, supplements may be necessary, which can be administered either in pill form or through your pet food. Zignature dog food taurine levels are sufficiently substantial to meet most dogs’ nutritional requirements, but talk to your vet about diet programs that meet your pet’s holistic health needs.