Studies in veterinary science have revealed a strong connection between heart disease and taurine deficiency in dogs. The deficiency of taurine can lead to heart failure, enlarged heart, and dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM in dogs and cats.
It is nearly impossible to determine whether a dog is suffering from taurine deficiency, as its diagnosis involves biopsy of the heart tissue, which is not something that is done routinely in dogs. So, the only way to avoid the occurrence of heart diseases in your pet is to add taurine to its diet either through food or by giving it supplements.
Benefits for Dogs
Raw meat is considered a rich source of taurine. Of the various types of meat, chicken has the highest taurine content. As for its health benefits, it …
- Maintains the health of the heart
- Improves the dog’s brain health
- Maintains the health of different organs, like gallbladder and kidneys, and the structure of the body.
- Its deficiency can lead to hyperactivity, blindness, swelling, and even hypoglycemia. A diet rich in taurine though, can prevent the occurrence of all these diseases.
Yet another method of dealing with taurine deficiency is to resort to supplements. The best part about these supplements is that they are entirely safe to be used along with regular medication, i.e., they have almost no side effects. These supplements regulate the heart rate and help in improving the heart function, aid in building lean body mass, and help in improving exercise tolerance.
Benefits for Cats
In cats, taurine deficiency can cause a number of abnormalities, like retinal degeneration, platelet function abnormalities, and dilated cardiomyopathy. In the event of deficiency, the answer is same: taurine rich foods, like raw meat or dry cat foods, that are available in the market.
- Lack of taurine can lead to dysfunctional retinal cells and cause feline central retinal degeneration, which may eventually result in blindness or impaired vision in cats. It is essential for the development and proper functioning of the cells of retina.
- It makes the heart muscles strong, thereby preventing heart failure or other heart diseases in cats.
- Adequate level of taurine in cats during pregnancy, ensures a healthy pregnancy and proper structural growth of the unborn kitten.
A Word of Caution: Taurine supplements should not be given to animals who show an allergic reaction to the same. Similarly, it is known to interfere with medication, like cisplatin and paclitaxel, in rare cases.
As one can see, the benefits of taurine for both, cats and dogs, are immense. Your pet’s daily diet needs to have a sufficient amount of taurine in it to maintain his overall health and to avoid the occurrence of diseases in future.