How Do Vets Test for Taurine Deficiency?
Veterinarians would first need a thorough history of your dogs health, including a list of symptoms and the diet fed.
Then, your veterinarian would conduct a complete physical examination of your dog and do routine blood work, including:
Blood concentrations of taurine can be measured by a laboratory to determine whether deficiency is likely. There are “normal” ranges for blood-taurine concentrations in dogs, so if the measured concentration is lower than that range, taurine deficiency is probable.
What is taurine?
Taurine (brand names: Formula V®, Dyna-Taurine®) is an amino acid nutritional supplement that is used to treat taurine-deficiency diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease.
It is also effective in preventing retinal degeneration, a disease of the eye.
Although taurine-deficiency occurs primarily in cats, it may also occur in Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Dalmatians, Portuguese Water Dogs, and English Bulldogs. Taurine may also be effective for general heart disease.
Dietary supplements are substances that can be used to supplement the diet, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, botanicals, enzymes, and probiotics. While many supplements are sold over the counter, they still contain ingredients that have biological effects that should be managed by your veterinarian. Follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.
There are differences in how countries regulate supplements. In the United States, these substances are not as vigorously regulated by the FDA as other medications, which means they can be sold without the manufacturer proving their effectiveness, safety, and without a guarantee of consistent or accurately reported ingredients. In Canada, products that have been evaluated for quality, safety, and effectiveness by Health Canada and authorized for sale will have a license number on the label.
Taurine has been proven effective for treating taurine-deficiency diseases and retinal degeneration. Limited studies have been performed regarding the use of taurine to treat general heart disease, but preliminary studies show taurine’s usefulness as an adjunctive therapy in these cases.
This medication should take effect after 1-2 doses; however, it can take up to a few weeks before full effects are noted. Effects may not be visibly noticeable and therefore laboratory tests may need to be done to evaluate if the medication is working.
Taurine is given by mouth in the form of a tablet, liquid, capsule, or powder. It may be given with or without food, but mixing with food may make it easier to administer. If vomiting occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with food. Measure liquid forms carefully.