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Taurine-deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Golden Retrievers



June 28, 2017

My second golden retriever, Holly, was diagnosed with this and WAS responsive to taurine, L carnitane and Co Q 10.

Taurine-deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Golden Retrievers

In the wake of many Golden Retrievers being diagnosed with taurine-deficient DCM, we have started to collect
information to better understand the condition and help the Golden Retriever community. Unfortunately, many
owners have identified concerns and proceeded with supplementation or diet change without first obtaining
appropriate diagnostic criteria. This approach has led to more confusion and an inability to definitively say
whether some dogs have an inherited cardiomyopathy or a nutritionally derived heart disease. This makes a
huge difference in the prognosis and outcome for these dogs and their possible continuation in the breeding pool.
Please review the following steps regarding evaluation of taurine-deficient DCM. Our group has put this together
to help get to the bottom of this issue as fast and as medically appropriate as possible.

1. If you believe your dog is at risk for taurine deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) and wish to have taurine
levels tested – please request a whole-blood taurine level be submitted (lithium heparin tube) for analysis. The
laboratory that I recommend can be found here:

2. If you believe your dog is showing signs of DCM already – please seek an appointment with a board certified
cardiologist to have an echocardiogram and taurine testing obtained simultaneously – do not change foods, do not
supplement prior to the appointment.

3. If you receive taurine test results that come back as low – please seek an appointment with a board certified
cardiologist to have an echocardiogram performed to determine if your pet needs cardiac medications and the
appropriate supplements to be used (DO NOT SUPPLEMENT OR CHANGE FOODS UNTIL YOU HAVE THE
CARDIOLOGY EVALUATION COMPLETED). If you live in close to UC Davis, we can arrange research-funded
cardiology evaluations for your dog if you contact us via

4. If you receive cardiologist confirmed DCM results, please take an image of the food bag, ingredient list and lot
number. Please also request a copy of the images from the echocardiogram from your cardiologist (ensure that
you have full DICOM image copies on a CD). Please complete a full diet history form found at this link
( Please email the image of food bag, a 3-
generation pedigree, diet history form, copies of the taurine level results and medical record to . A member of our laboratory team will contact you to discuss our thoughts and
possibly request additional information, food samples or blood samples for further testing.

5. If you have any questions on how to proceed please email Dr. Stern at .
Kind Regards,
Joshua A Stern, DVM, PhD, DACVIM

(530) 752-1363
FAX (530) 752-0414


1 Colette R Dishman { 07.16.18 at 1:24 pm }

We just read articles on DCM caused by a taurine deficiency. While our golden retriever (4-1/2 yrs. old) has not shown any symptoms, her diet has been Merricks Lamb and Peas and Pure Balance Salmon. Both kibbles are grain-free and contain lamb, peas, potatoes, salmon and rice. These are all implicated in the taurine deficiency leading to DCM. We do not wish to continue feeding our golden these products until she develops a problem. Your article suggests waiting. Wouldn’t it be wiser to transition her to a diet that is not grain free and does not contain the suspect ingredients sooner than later? We’re considering Life’s Abundance which contains none of the suspect ingredients.

2 pat { 07.18.18 at 8:11 am }

Vets are recommending giving dogs a can of sardines once a week or supplementing with taurine. I personally feed a lot of ground turkey and feed raw food for the morning meal so this is not an issue for me. I haven’t fed kibble since my second golden was diagnosed with DCM over 10 years ago. Fortunately, she was responsive to taurine supplements

3 Hedy { 07.26.18 at 9:04 am }

There are two Facebook groups discussing taurine deficiency. Here is a link to one of them. Lots of information there.

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