Taurine, a water-soluble amino acid, has recently become the topic of conversation when referring to the nutritional composition that makes up the human and animal physical structure. Once thought of as an unimportant A.A., recent studies (here and here) are proving that this amino acid has metabolic properties that are very beneficial to various components of the mammal skeletal system as well as heart, kidneys and blood.
Taurine: A colorless crystalline substance, C2H7NO3S, formed by the hydrolysis of taurocholic acid and found in the fluids of the muscles and lungs of many animals. (dictionary.com)
Taurine’s main purpose is to act as a catalyst facilitating the flow of vital elements to and from cells. Elements such as Sodium, (Na) Potassium, (k) and Calcium (ca) depend on Taurine in order for them to move from one cell to another.
Taurine has been a present element in cat food due to its vital properties and just recently pet food manufacturers have been implementing Taurine into dog foods also realizing that this A.A. can be very beneficial to dogs as well as cats.
Unlike cats, dogs are able to synthesize adequate amounts of taurine and so are not thought to require dietary taurine. Most dogs with DCM do not have taurine deficiency, but low taurine concentrations have been found in some dogs with DCM, most commonly reported for the American Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Dalmatians, Portuguese Water Dogs, and English Bulldogs.
Taurine deficiency in dogs may be related to dietary factors as it is thought to be more common in dogs eating high fiber or certain lamb and rice based diets and has been induced by feeding a low protein, low taurine diet long-term to dogs. Taurine deficiency also may be the result of increased renal or fecal loss of taurine or other metabolic defects present in certain breeds. Taurine supplementation (with or without carnitine supplementation) may be beneficial in some dogs with taurine deficiency but, even in dogs that respond, the response generally is not as dramatic as in taurine deficient cats with DCM. The exact role of taurine in canine DCM still is unclear and some of the potential benefits may be due to its positive inotropic effects or role in calcium regulation in the myocardium.
is most abundantly found in the retina and cases of blindness have been linked to Taurine deficiency in kittens, however in most cases, the same studies showed a reversal of the blindness when Taurine supplements were administered.
Taurine is also very beneficial for the heart, and cases of dilated cardiomyopathy have been linked to low Taurine levels in kittens. (A disease or disorder of the heart muscle, especially of unknown or obscure cause.)
I know the average pet owner may look at what I’ve written and think, “Why are you telling me this? I’m sure if this Taurine is so important, my dog food manufacturer will add it to my dog’s food.”
Well, since the reality is that dog food manufacturers are out to make a buck, not to make sure that your dog or cat is getting the best optimal diet, doing some research and knowing as much as you can about what you are feeding your dog is important.
Let’s face it, most dogs will usually eat anything that you give them -at least my dog does – which is why I always try to ensure that I familiarize myself with every component that makes up my dog’s food, to ensure that he is getting a stable diet enriched with all the required components to allow him to function at the top of his game.
Research takes time and money. In some cases, to keep up with the competition, dog food manufacturers taking the time and using the resources that are necessary to properly study a potential additive, is just not an option. In today’s world, where manufacturers are vying for your attention, time is of the essence which can be a hindrance when it comes to properly researching and analyzing potential additions to the given product.
So if it’s cold and rainy and you don’t feel like facing the outside world for a few hours, you might find it fun (and beneficial) to Google dog food manufacturers, compare dog food brands and learn about the various ingredients they use. I am certain you’ll find it quite fascinating. I know I did.