Taurine (牛磺酸) is an important amino acid (氨基酸) that impacts on the health of heart and brain tissues.
Taurine deficiency is well documented in cats, which leads to the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (擴張型心肌病). This type of heart disease is rarely a problem with the modernization of cat foods.
Not all food types contain Taurine. As a general rule of thumb, animal tissue, viscera (innards) and brain tissue contains high concentrations. Plants do not contain much taurine.
Recently in the USA, there has been an increase in diagnosis of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs that are not known to be genetically predisposed to the disease.
DCM is most recognized in large breed dogs including:
- Doberman Pinschers
- Great Danes
- Irish Wolfhounds
- Saint Bernards
DCM is diagnosed with less frequency in the small to medium breeds:
- American Cocker Spaniel
- Bull Mastiff
- Portugese Water Dog * (can be rapidly fatal)
It is recently reported by the US FDA that DCM is diagnosed in breed that is not usually associated with the disease. Cases of DCM has been diagnosed in:
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Shih Tzu
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Mixed Breeds
The FDA reports that based on early reports from the Veterinary cardiology community, these patients were fed on predominantly:
- peas (豌豆)
- lentils (扁豆)
- legume seeds (豆科食物)
- potatoes (薯仔, 土豆)
You can click here to check out a basic list of legumes for your reference.
A study published by the University of California, Davis in 2003 compiled a rather comprehensive list of foods and their taurine content. The article is freely available via Google Scholar where you can read in detail at your leisure. We will provide a summary of the basic information gleaned from this very useful article. This summary will hopefully serve as guideline to those of you feeding “gluten-free” diets or “vegan” pet diets.
Blood Taurine level testing is available. If you wish to understand further on this matter, call us on 2915-2095 to make an appointment!