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A friend's dog almost died during routine dental cleaning when her heart stopped. Two cardiologists have told the dog owner that they've seen heart problems associated with grain free kibbles. They think that certain key minerals (taurine was one) are not being absorbed properly, leading to heart problems that are not detectable except by a specialist.

It's so early, that very few vets, outside of specialists in cardiology, are seeing this connection, and no papers are published.

The dog was on Origen, and is now eating a kibble with grain.

I don't feed grain free food, but am wondering if anyone out there might know more about this? My understanding is that only canine cardiac specialists are seeing this so far, and that the research is in the very early stages.

A few friend's younger dogs have died recently of "heart attack" and I am now wondering if this might be related to diet.
 

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I know UC Davis is doing a study on it. I believe there is a Facebook group dedicated to discussing taurine deficiency in goldens. It is being theorized that peas/legumes block the absorption of taurine.
 

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I was actually just going to post about this! I have a golden, so I’m over on the Golden Retriever Forum as well, and this is a big topic of discussion. Most members there are recommending Purina Pro Plan. Anyone have thoughts on that food? I know a lot of people say it’s low quality.
 

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There was another article I had bookmarked, I'll have to see if I can dig it up....

They were onto a parallel problem way back in the 80's, with cat food. Changing the commercial formulas has almost entirely eliminated the problem in domestic felines.... hopefully follow-up research and information in canines is forthcoming.
 

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Very interesting. Unlike a cat whose body can not produce taurine and must get it from their diet (fun fact. A mouse has more taurine pound for pound than any other animal), dogs make their own taurine as we do. So where is this process being disrupted? And will supplementing help?

Just for the record, I've fed raw for years. I really feel the grain free food is an overpriced marketing gimmick driven by the fear created several years ago with the contaminated wheat.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've heard good things about ProPlan. Right now I feed Canidae All Life Stages, but I wouldn't rule out Pro Plan.

I've known at least 3 healthy, younger dogs that dropped dead suddenly of heart problems, all eating quality grain free kibble. One was a full sister to my female.

Very concerning, and a good enough reason for me to avoid grain free foods. I had no idea there was a link between heart problems and grain free kibble until I heard my friend's story yesterday. Her dog is a lab, the dogs I know who died of heart "attack" were malinois or shepherds.
 

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I'm not sure whether I believe it's linked exclusively to grain/no grain.

Even though lots of kibble includes taurine (especially "better" quality kibble), AAFCO doesn't actually require ANY taurine in dog food. And while there are lots of valid arguments about how canines can self-synthesize, and the USDA has debated the quality of taurine in processed foods, I can't get past the fact that adding it to feline formulas has literally eliminated the resulting cardiac problems. And yet, zero is required for dog food.

Most of us occasionally give our dogs meaty treats. Liver, chicken, chews, minimally processed dehydrated premium treats, you name it. Taurine, taurine, taurine.

But IF all you ever fed your dog was a dry AAFCO approved food without added taurine, and IF the composition of squash/legume/pea/other filler inhibits taurine synthesis or absorption..... I suppose it doesn't sound surprising at all that development of taurine deficiency issues is a real possibility.

I have a big pile of bookmarks on this, don't want to clog up this entire thread but I can pass them along to anyone interested.
 

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Is it okay to link discussions on a different forum (golden retriever NOT a GSD forum) to this forum? @GypsyGhost
Yes. As long as it is not to another GSD forum, you can post links.

19. Since germanshepherds.com relies on advertising revenue to function, posting links other dedicated Germans Shepherd Dog discussion boards, either in the body of a post, or in one's signature is not allowed and will be removed.
 

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I'm not sure whether I believe it's linked exclusively to grain/no grain.

Even though lots of kibble includes taurine (especially "better" quality kibble), AAFCO doesn't actually require ANY taurine in dog food. And while there are lots of valid arguments about how canines can self-synthesize, and the USDA has debated the quality of taurine in processed foods, I can't get past the fact that adding it to feline formulas has literally eliminated the resulting cardiac problems. And yet, zero is required for dog food.

Most of us occasionally give our dogs meaty treats. Liver, chicken, chews, minimally processed dehydrated premium treats, you name it. Taurine, taurine, taurine.

But IF all you ever fed your dog was a dry AAFCO approved food without added taurine, and IF the composition of squash/legume/pea/other filler inhibits taurine synthesis or absorption..... I suppose it doesn't sound surprising at all that development of taurine deficiency issues is a real possibility.

I have a big pile of bookmarks on this, don't want to clog up this entire thread but I can pass them along to anyone interested.
I would be interested as now I’m concerned with those legumes blocking the any taurine from their dry food, their fresh meat and or dehydrated meat they get and taurine they produce. Interesting to see taurine levels can be tested in dogs it’s good to know.
 

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Various members on this forum, one a highly respected breeder, shows her dogs, and actively hunts to title her goldens, recommends Purina Pro Plan. It's so hard to know what to feed!
 

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I would be interested as now I’m concerned with those legumes blocking the any taurine from their dry food, their fresh meat and or dehydrated meat they get and taurine they produce. Interesting to see taurine levels can be tested in dogs it’s good to know.
The thing is.... there is tons and tons of info about taurine from reasonably credible sources.

But, all the info out there right now about the relationship between legumes : taurine seems anecdotal at best. Lots of "maybes". I had a cat with cardiac problems a while ago, and that's what set me off on this.... My cat's problems ended up being unrelated to diet, but the things I read made me question dog food formulas.

Some of the info out there ~

AAFCO has zero minimum requirement for taurine in canine formulas.
https://www.aafco.org/Portals/0/SiteContent/Regulatory/Committees/Pet-Food/Reports/Pet_Food_Report_2013_Midyear-Proposed_Revisions_to_AAFCO_Nutrient_Profiles.pdf

Feline diet supplementation (from back before taurine was required in commercial cat food)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1500324

USDA discussion about synthetic taurine/classification, effectiveness.
https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Amino Acid Pet Food Formal Rec.pdf

AAFCO recently added taurine as an acceptable component for aquaculture (fish food) formulas, because it does increase vigor (and yet - zero is required in canine formulas?)
https://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/news/features/nwfsc_wins_aafco_approval/index.cfm
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0044848614006292

Limited study on taurine status in dogs (fed diet including beet pulp, rice)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4971673/

What happens to taurine when you "cook" (process it)
http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmb/labs/aal/pdfs/spitze.pdf
 
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