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If you own a Golden and are feeding a grain free formula, please read this. Please feel free to share this as well.

The first stages of a study are underway with several related and unrelated goldens regarding low taurine levels and DCM. The study will be looking at any correlation between grain free foods, low taurine and DCM.

At first glance, the issue seems related to grain free foods containing plant proteins, especially peas and other legumes. This lowers the amount of meat protein, which is necessary for dogs to convert the amino acids needed for their bodies to manufacture taurine, an essential nutrient for life. An owner who has two Goldens with low taurine and DCM has stated it is possible the plant proteins attach to the taurine, preventing the dog's body from utilizing it. Some Goldens may be especially impacted by this.

I have attached a copy of the letter from Dr. Joshua Stern.
 

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Puddles
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This has definitely opened my eyes and forced me to look at the indg. list more closely. While we do have peas there are no legumes and as it turns out it's not grain free :) It does not contain wheat, corn or soy but does contain Barley grass and Taurine.
 

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Puddles
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LOL very true... just that I've been looking at different labels and so many of them contain 5 or 6 different legumes not just the peas :)
I was happy to see added iron but still out there reading labels.
 

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Thanks for the information, and making the thread here! People need to know all the info they can get about the food they feed their animals.

I'm very happy I moved my dogs to a raw diet, but Rusty was on grain free kibble for almost 5 years. I hope the damage will be repaired now that he is on a raw diet
 

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Thanks for posting this!
 

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I have been feeding Acana Pacifica (Canadian formula) for 4.5 years and this has got me worried. I read the ingredients and analysis but there is no mention of taurine. I do not know how much of the protein comes from fish or peas, etc. My vet here refuses to do the test as he does not know how to get the results for this. I have tried another clinic with the same reply. I could get a taurine supplement from the uk, they don't sell it here for dogs just small doses for cats. Maybe I should do this. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is the ingredient list for Acana Wild Atlantic

Whole Mackerel*, Whole Herring*, Whole Redfish*, Silver Hake*, Mackerel Meal, Herring Meal, Whole Green Peas, Red Lentils, Pinto Beans, Pollock Meal, Cod Meal, Catfish Oil, Chickpeas, Green Lentils, Whole Yellow Peas, Herring Oil, Sun-Cured Alfalfa, Yellowtail Flounder*, Natural Fish Flavor, Sunflower Oil, Dried Kelp, Freeze-Dried Cod Liver, Whole Pumpkin*, Whole Butternut Squash*, Kale*, Spinach*, Mustard Greens*, Collard Greens*, Turnip Greens*, Carrots*, *Red Delicious Apples, *Bartlett Pears, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product. * Delivered Fresh or Raw.

Bear in mind that whole meats contain a lot of water. There are 6 legumes in the first 15 ingredients. I was told that a rough rule of thumb would be to take those whole meats and move them down 4 slots, to account for the water.

Even if taurine is listed as an ingredient, it may not be available for the dog to use. One owner of two affected dogs said it may be that the plant (legume) proteins bind to the taurine, preventing the dog from using it.
 

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I feed Victor, I think it is okay, it does not have wheat, corn, or soy, but it has other grains, they also add taurine - but with everything I have read, I cannot tell. Nobody is giving enough details to what to really look for. If I called customer service, I would not even know what to ask.

Another question, is this just affecting golden retrievers or all breeds? Pretty scary, because some of the brands I have seen listed are always on the best of the best lists.
 

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I read that Newfies, Cocker spaniels, Rottweilers and Boxers were also affected by this. Speculation, according to what I saw, is that it is larger breeds. Not sure how a cocker spaniel fits into that though.
 

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Thanks for posting the ingredients for the Acana. It is the US formula but very similar to the Canadian one as far as peas, etc. are concerned. I will contact Dr. Stern to see what he says.

I feed this food because of Grit's ichthyosis. I tried many others not necessarily grain free but this was the only one which helped reduce the symptoms significantly.
 

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Some of whose best of the best lists?

I feed Victor, I think it is okay, it does not have wheat, corn, or soy, but it has other grains, they also add taurine - but with everything I have read, I cannot tell. Nobody is giving enough details to what to really look for. If I called customer service, I would not even know what to ask.

Another question, is this just affecting golden retrievers or all breeds? Pretty scary, because some of the brands I have seen listed are always on the best of the best lists.
 

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where the tails wag
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One item of note for me. I would be very interested to know if the fact the formulations are grain free is more indicative of the problem than the reduction of meat is. I believe some grain-free formulations have meat and do NOT have legumes or soy and so may not have the same issues ...

Feeding primarily raw, I do not think this applies to my dogs -- however I do steer clear of ANY occassional kibble that limits meat and has soy or legumes. In my opinion, protein sources do matter and dogs need protein from meat sources.
 

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I have been trying to find a new food which has a fish based protein without peas.
This has come up from the uk (I would have to import it).
Fish4dogs Finest sardine 26% protein
26% fresh sardine
23% sweet potato
19% salmon meal
19% pea flour
Does this sound good - not too much pea protein?
I have such trouble trying to work out the protein in the dog food labels
I have found nothing grain free (Grit cannot have grains) which does not have some kind of pea protein. At least this sardine food gives the percentage of pea flour.
I spoke with the company and they do not know anything about taurine and pea protein. They call it a carbohydrate !!
 

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Where do you see the breakdown of where the protein is coming from? Dory's food just started adding peas, it's listed a few down on the list, and further down garbanzo beans are also listed. I can find the total protein(25%), but I can't see which portion is coming from the salmon- which is the first ingredient.

She needs grain free, chicken free, soy, corn, wheat free.
 

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I"ve been feeding my dog a mix of grain-free Taste of the Wild Salmon & Lamb for 2+ years, I looked at the ingredients, and saw "peas" and "garbanzo beans" as the 4th/5th ingredients on the list after the meat, should I be alarmed???

Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, canola oil, garbanzo beans, salmon meal, smoked salmon, potato fiber, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Lamb, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, egg product, canola oil, roasted lamb, tomato pomace, natural flavor, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, choline chloride, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), dried chicory root, taurine, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
 

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Our girl is on salmon TOTW and previously it wasn't added. I'm going to ask her vet about taurine supplements if need be as I don't want to switch her food if we can avoid it.
 

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Ah ok you have the same kibble! Let us know what your vet says! I don't want to switch either. I tried mixing in a different TOTW flavor once and he stared down at it, looked at me with an expression like, "what is this crap," and walked away.
 
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