Objective—To determine taurine status in a large
group of Newfoundlands related by environment,
diet, or breeding to a dog with dilated cardiomyopathy
and taurine deficiency.
Animals—19 privately owned Newfoundlands
between 5 months and 11.5 years old that had been
fed commercial dry diets meeting established nutrient
Procedure—Diet histories were obtained, and blood,
plasma, and urine taurine concentrations and plasma
methionine and cysteine concentrations were measured.
In 8 dogs, taurine concentrations were measured before
and after supplementation with methionine for 30 days.
Ophthalmic examinations were performed in 16 dogs;
echocardiography was performed in 6 dogs that were
Results—Plasma taurine concentrations ranged from
3 to 228 nmol/mL. Twelve dogs had concentrations
< 40 nmol/mL and were considered taurine deficient.
For dogs with plasma concentrations < 40 nmol/mL,
there was a significant linear correlation between
plasma and blood taurine concentrations. For dogs
with plasma concentrations > 40 nmol/mL, blood taurine
concentrations did not vary substantially. Taurine-deficient
dogs had been fed lamb meal and rice diets.
Retinal degeneration, dilated cardiomyopathy, and
cystinuria were not found in any dog examined for
these conditions. The taurine deficiency was reversed
by a change in diet or methionine supplementation.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate
a high prevalence of taurine deficiency among an
environmentally and genetically related cohort of
Newfoundlands fed apparently complete and balanced
diets. Blood taurine concentrations indicative of taurine
deficiency in Newfoundlands may be substantially
less than concentrations indicative of a deficiency in
cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1130–1136)