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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.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—19 privately owned Newfoundlands between 5 months and 11.5 years old that had been fed commercial dry diets meeting established nutrient recommendations.

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 taurine deficient.

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)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To assess effects of deficiency of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) on body condition scores and lean and fat body masses of adult cats.

Animals—12 cats without LPL mutations and 23 cats that were heterozygous or homozygous carriers of the Gly412Arg LPL mutation.

Procedure—Lean and fat body masses were estimated by use of body condition scores and change in enrichment of serum after IV administration of deuterium oxide. Mass spectroscopy and infrared absorbance methods were used to determine deuterium enrichment.

Results—Fat body mass (mean ± SD; 0.2 ± 0.1 kg) and percentage body fat (6.2 ± 1.4%) of homozygotes were significantly less than those of clinically normal cats and heterozygotes (0.7 ± 0.1 kg, 18.2 ± 1.6% and 0.5 ± 0.1 kg, 15.6 ± 1.7%, respectively). Homozygous offspring of homozygous dams had significantly less fat body mass (0.1 ± 0.1 kg) and percentage body fat (2.1 ± 1.0%) than homozygous offspring of heterozygous dams (0.3 ± 0.1 kg and 9.2 ± 1.7%, respectively). Lean body mass did not differ significantly among groups. For all groups, percentage body fat was significantly correlated with body condition score (r = 0.65), and body condition scores supported findings for fat body mass.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Deficiency of LPL activity in cats diminishes stores of body fat. This is consistent with a low rate of de novo synthesis of fat. The effect of dam on body masses in mature LPLdeficient cats indicates nutrient programming of adipose formation during gestation or lactation. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:264–269)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Experimental evidence indicates that maintenance of urinary pH ≤ 6.4 is the single most effective means of preventing feline struvite crystalluria or urolithiasis of noninfectious causes. This may be accomplished by dietary acidification, but must be moderated to avoid potential adverse effects of excessive acidification, including bone demineralization, negative calcium balance, potassium depletion, and renal disease. Effects of chronic dietary phosphoric acid supplementation on acid-base balance and on mineral and bone metabolism were investigated in adult, domestic cats. One group of 6 cats was fed a basal, naturally acidifying diet without added acidifiers, and another group of 6 cats was fed 1.7% dietary phosphoric acid. Changes observed during 12 months of study included development of noncompensated metabolic acidosis, increased urinary calcium excretion, and lower but positive calcium balance in cats of both groups. Urinary pH decreased in cats of both groups, but was significantly (P < 0.05) and consistently maintained ≤ 6.4 in cats given dietary phosphoric acid. Urinary phosphorus excretion increased in cats of both groups, but was significantly (P < 0.05) greater in phosphoric acid-supplemented cats, leading to lower overall phosphorus balance as well. Potassium balance decreased in cats of both groups, but was only transiently negative in the phosphoric acid-supplemented cats midway through the study, and normalized at positive values thereafter. Plasma taurine concentration was not affected by dietary acidification, and remained well within the acceptable reference range for taurine metabolism. Double labeling of bone in vivo with fluorescent markers was followed by bone biopsy and histomorphometric measurement of several static and dynamic variables of bone formation. Overall indices of bone formation decreased in cats of both groups with age and confinement, but were not affected by dietary phosphoric acid supplementation. Dietary supplementation with phosphoric acid used as the principal inorganic P source to achieve moderate and stable degree of urinary acidification, did not appear over the course of 1 year, to have induced adverse effects on mineral, bone, or taurine balance in these adult domestic cats.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research