Taurine Deficiency in Cats
Taurine Deficiency in Cats Guide: Here you'll find in-depth information on taurine deficiency in cats including its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
What is Taurine
Taurine, also called 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is found in relatively high concentrations in a variety of animal tissues, including muscle, the retina and the central nervous system. It is an “essential” amino acids in cats. Most mammals, including dogs, are able to manufacture taurine from other amino acids, such as cystine and methionine. However, the cat's ability to synthesize taurine is extremely limited. Cats have to get taurine from their food. Moreover, because of a unique metabolic pathway in cats, most of their dietary intake of taurine is excreted by their liver in bile at unusually high levels. For both of these reasons, all cats must have a sufficient amount of taurine in their daily diets to remain healthy.
Taurine is necessary for the normal development of most mammalian tissues and, in cats, is essential for normal vision, heart function and optimal reproductive performance. Low circulating blood levels of taurine – from inadequate dietary intake - can cause a number of reproductive abnormalities, including abortion, reabsorption of fetuses, low birth rates and fading kittens. Feline diets that are deficient in taurine can lead to Feline Central Retinal Degeneration (FCRD), which involves the irreversible and
Symptoms of taurine deficiency in cats are usually associated with visual changes, failure to reproduce, poor oral health, and symptoms that are associated with a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Cats with this condition may also look unkempt and unhealthy and may become depressed or lethargic.Taurine deficiency is a very slow occurring condition that may take many months to years to develop. Symptoms usually appear slowly and progressively worsen over a long period of
Diagnosing taurine deficiency in cats include using outside laboratory blood tests to measure the levels of taurine in the cat’s blood. A physical examination and heart ultrasound may also reveal if the cat is suffering from symptoms associated with taurine deficiency.Symptoms of taurine deficiency can mimic many other types of health conditions, but the history of the cat’s diet can help to cue veterinarians to a possibility of taurine deficiency. If cats are fed home
Treating taurine deficiency in cats includes dietary changes and oral taurine supplements. Monitoring the cat’s heart condition for improvement, or providing supportive care if the heart failure is occurring, are also important to successful taurine deficiency treatment.As most cats diagnosed with taurine deficiency are being fed the wrong type of diet, pet owners will need to change their cat’s diet under the direction of their veterinarian. Many cats diagnosed with taurine deficiency are fed home