2250: Diet-Related Taurine Deficiency in Newfoundland Dogs and Associated Cardiac Insufficiency

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $60,750.47
Robert Backus, DVM, PhD; University of California, Davis
January 4, 2002 - December 31, 2003

Sponsor(s): Newfoundland Club of America Charitable Trust

Breed(s): Newfoundland
Research Program Area: Cardiology
Donate to Support this Research Program Area


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common acquired cardiovascular disease of dogs. Of suggested nutritional causes, taurine deficiency appears most evinced. But in dogs, such a need for dietary taurine is not generally recognized. Dogs are known to have the metabolic capacity to synthesize taurine from the dietary sulfur amino acids, cysteine and methionine (Hayes 1988). Diet-related taurine deficiencies and associated dilated cardiomyopathies have been reported in large breed dogs (Torres et al. 2000). The present investigators (Backus et al. 2000) have recently reported taurine deficiency (52 percent) and cardiac insufficiency (10 percent) among a group of 21 privately owned Newfoundland dogs. The proposed research will estimate the prevalence of a possible unrecognized, widespread, taurine deficiency in the Newfoundland breed. This will involve conducting non-invasive tests in a clinical setting. Dogs will be evaluated for heart and retinal disease. In selected normal and taurine deficient dogs, blood and urine will be collected to determine taurine and sulfur amino acid concentrations. Feeding trials will evaluate the effect of diet composition on taurine concentrations and excretion. A possible genetic contribution to taurine deficiencies will be assessed by pedigree analyses.


Backus, R. C., Cohen, G., Pion, P. D., Good, K. L., Rogers, Q. R., & Fascetti, A. J. (2003). Taurine deficiency in Newfoundlands fed commercially available complete and balanced diets. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 223(8), 1130–1136. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.2003.223.1130
Backus, R. C., Ko, K. S., Fascetti, A. J., Kittleson, M. D., MacDonald, K. A., Maggs, D. J., … Rogers, Q. R. (2006). Low Plasma Taurine Concentration in Newfoundland Dogs is Associated with Low Plasma Methionine and Cyst(e)ine Concentrations and Low Taurine Synthesis. The Journal of Nutrition, 136(10), 2525–2533. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.10.2525

Help Future Generations of Dogs

Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.

Learn How to Help

Get Canine Health News:
Please leave this field empty
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc

8051 Arco Corporate Dr.
Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27617

Tax ID# 13-3813813


© 2021 AKC Canine Health Foundation | Privacy Policy | Site Map

Site by Blackbaud, Inc.