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Mom to Sonny and Seamus
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My daughter is a veterinary cardiologist and I called her yesterday regarding this. Here is what she said:

Dogs get their taurine from animal proteins not vegetable. They have seen the most problems with dogs on predominately vegetable based diets or dogs that have gastrointestinal disease and cannot absorb the taurine from their food.

She also told me that if they have a dog with DCM before they do the blood test to determine if it is caused by low taurine or genetics, they would use a taurine supplement. Apparently excess taurine is excreted in the urine.

I feed Orijen 6 fish and while it has a good number of fish in the list of ingredients preceeding legumes, I was worried because they are listed as whole fish and after the fish is processed and the water is removed, they would then show up lower on the list of ingredients. I also feed Orijen Freeze Dried treats. I have fed Duck, Bison and Beef. The dogs love them and they are just dehydrated meat in small cubes.

I also asked my regular vet regarding this and was told that there is enough meat in Orijen 6 fish that I do not need to be worried.

I also sent emails to Orijen asking about Taurine content (and supplementation) in their food and percentages of protein from animal vs. legumes. I'll post what I hear.
 

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I believe you are right, it goes beyond them not being able to synthesize taurine from vegetable protein. I think I read that legumes actually bind to the meat protein, reducing its bioavailability.
Yes, exactly! That is what I was trying to say but didn't articulate perfectly (it was late).
 

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I would love to see "the list" everyone keeps talking about.. I can't find it .. help?
I am keeping a list if you'd like to PM me. I don't want to post it publicly due to possible legal issues with the dog food companies. Sadly some of the companies with foods implicated in this problem are sticking their heads in the sand and not responding well to their customers.
 

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Thanks for the Facebook link. I never use Facebook but I have joined and found it very interesting. Because of comments by one member in particular I have ordered a sack of Farmina grain free fish and orange food. It seems that the pea protein is very small and 90% comes from the fish. I hope they like it. It has to be better than Acana's new formula.
 

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A few weeks back when this first cropped up I called Purina and asked them what the taurine level is in the Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach, salmon formula. The person who answered the phone knew EXACTLY what I was talking about, put me on hold, came back less than 60 seconds later and said it's .11%, which their nutritionists say is more than adequate for normal, healthy dogs. (If the dogs can't properly assimilate taurine, it's a different issue and you need to work with a vet...).
 

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So I am not happy as Luna's dog food has peas as the 4th ingredient, the first 3 being fish and with the high water content this is not good (please correct me if I'm wrong) !!! So now I'm trying to find a good quality dog food without legumes. Has anyone heard of Viand lamb and chicken formula?? It looks pretty good and it's less than I'm paying now for her food from Chewy's.
 

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I looked at that and it's less protein and salmon isn't the first ingredient. So, that's where I become confused.

I'm going to call her food company and ask which percentage of the protein is coming from her salmon vs the twice listed legumes. I think I'm leaning on just adding some fresh salmon to her kibble based on how much extra her vet recommends.
 

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Unless your dog was on a diet I think you would have to give a lot per day. I can't get it here but just wanted to have a look at the ingredients. I have read that lamb is the meat with the lowest taurine which is interesting. It seems that game birds have the highest. It would be interesting to see which meats/fish have the most/least taurine.
 

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Hi HiTide!

I don't have enough posts to pm you....but could you please pm me with the list that you're keeping? THANKS so much!!
 

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1.
I also sent emails to Orijen asking about Taurine content (and supplementation) in their food and percentages of protein from animal vs. legumes. I'll post what I hear.
I feed Acana to my dogs. I e-mailed Champion Foods and these are the responses I received:

1. Thank-you for contacting us. With a focus on meat, almost all of the protein in ACANA and ORIJEN is from animal source, over 97% in ORIJEN and ACANA Regionals, over 75% in ACANA Singles, and 70% and up in ACANA Heritage.

A quick and easy way to determine if plant protein contributes a large amount to the protein content of the diet is to read the ingredient list and see if any amino acids (such as L-lysine and DL-methionine) are synthetically supplemented. These amino acids are supplemented in foods with large vegetable protein contributions (or deficient animal contributions) because plant based proteins are missing many of the amino acids essential for dogs — that’s why you won’t find any synthetic amino acids in any of our foods.

Whenever we make changes to our diets our focus is creating Biologically Appropriate Pet foods from Fresh, Regional Ingredients. We are constantly looking for innovative ways to improve our formulas with better ingredients, that give us an improved glycemic response and ingredients that can be locally sourced and true to what these animals would eat in the wild.

The enhancements we have made to our ORIJEN diets is incorporating more meat ingredients moving from 80% to 85% with 2/3 of the meat ingredients begin delivered fresh or raw and 1/3 dried meat ingredients. The new ORIJEN diets will incorporate more meat ingredients containing 6-10 animal depending on the diet in wholeprey ratios. The top 10 ingredients will be fresh or raw meat ingredients, with these changes the new diets require fewer supplements as the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are coming naturally from the ingredient themselves. There will be less fruits and vegetables at 15% and we have incorporated more variety to better balance the vitamins and minerals.

The enhancements we have made to our ACANA Regional's is incorporating more meat ingredients overall moving from 60% to 70% with more fresh meat moving 35% to 50% of these ingredients and 50% being the dehydrated meals and oils.

The benefit is fresh meat is only cooked once through the extrusion process where as meat meals are cooked twice, once to dehydrate and a second time through the extrusion process.

The new ORIJEN and ACANA diets focus on more meat and less fruits & vegetable overall with more variety. If you have any other questions or I can be of further assistance please do write back.

2. The enhancements we have made to our diets are similar for both the US and Canada. The percentages calculated are the final products after being cooked.

Taurine is not an essential amino acid for dogs (AAFCO, 2017; Waltham pocketbook of essential nutrients 2016).

DCM is a disease of the heart muscle characterized by an enlarged heart that does not function properly. While it may occur in any breed, it is seen more frequently in large breed dogs, specifically Dobermans, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. While the cause of DCM in dogs is largely unknown, we do know that genetic anomalies will determine how prone an animal is to DCM. Nutritional deficiencies of taurine or carnitine may contribute to the incidence of DCM.


Our ORIJEN and ACANA diets are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages. Cysteine and methionine content are available for taurine production in the dog’s body, and taurine itself is naturally present from the meat ingredients we include in the food.

A dog with particular health cases may develop taurine deficiency while being on a complete and balanced food. The food can meet all nutritional minimums (including methionine & cysteine) but something within the dog limits/inhibits the efficiency of conversion of precursor amino acids into taurine. Alternatively, the endogenous and higher than normal/average urinary losses of taurine or its precursors all contribute to development of a deficiency (Fascetti et al, 2003).

These conditions are not normal however, and all life stages foods are not formulated to meet these special needs.

DCM is a slow progressive disease which requires ongoing treatment once developed. It is evident that in canines, DCM is a largely hereditary condition, but the underlying cause of all cases may not genetic and there are multiple factors at play.

For clinically normal dogs, with the ability to efficiently convert amino acids into taurine, there is no concern for development of a taurine deficiency. Our foods are not meant to be therapeutic diets for animals with special needs, and are therefore not formulated with alternative nutritional needs in mind.
 

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Thanks for sharing that. I do want to point out, however, that several of the dogs who were diagnosed (by cardiologists) with taurine deficient DCM were fed Acana foods.
Just in case someone (who is not on the FB group) is reading this and assumes it means that Acana and Orijen are *safe*.
We cannot legally say whether or not the foods are causing the problem. All we can say is that several dogs who were eating Acana foods were diagnosed with both taurine deficiency and DCM.

1.

I feed Acana to my dogs. I e-mailed Champion Foods and these are the responses I received:

1. Thank-you for contacting us. With a focus on meat, almost all of the protein in ACANA and ORIJEN is from animal source, over 97% in ORIJEN and ACANA Regionals, over 75% in ACANA Singles, and 70% and up in ACANA Heritage.

A quick and easy way to determine if plant protein contributes a large amount to the protein content of the diet is to read the ingredient list and see if any amino acids (such as L-lysine and DL-methionine) are synthetically supplemented. These amino acids are supplemented in foods with large vegetable protein contributions (or deficient animal contributions) because plant based proteins are missing many of the amino acids essential for dogs — that’s why you won’t find any synthetic amino acids in any of our foods.

Whenever we make changes to our diets our focus is creating Biologically Appropriate Pet foods from Fresh, Regional Ingredients. We are constantly looking for innovative ways to improve our formulas with better ingredients, that give us an improved glycemic response and ingredients that can be locally sourced and true to what these animals would eat in the wild.

The enhancements we have made to our ORIJEN diets is incorporating more meat ingredients moving from 80% to 85% with 2/3 of the meat ingredients begin delivered fresh or raw and 1/3 dried meat ingredients. The new ORIJEN diets will incorporate more meat ingredients containing 6-10 animal depending on the diet in wholeprey ratios. The top 10 ingredients will be fresh or raw meat ingredients, with these changes the new diets require fewer supplements as the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are coming naturally from the ingredient themselves. There will be less fruits and vegetables at 15% and we have incorporated more variety to better balance the vitamins and minerals.

The enhancements we have made to our ACANA Regional's is incorporating more meat ingredients overall moving from 60% to 70% with more fresh meat moving 35% to 50% of these ingredients and 50% being the dehydrated meals and oils.

The benefit is fresh meat is only cooked once through the extrusion process where as meat meals are cooked twice, once to dehydrate and a second time through the extrusion process.

The new ORIJEN and ACANA diets focus on more meat and less fruits & vegetable overall with more variety. If you have any other questions or I can be of further assistance please do write back.

2. The enhancements we have made to our diets are similar for both the US and Canada. The percentages calculated are the final products after being cooked.

Taurine is not an essential amino acid for dogs (AAFCO, 2017; Waltham pocketbook of essential nutrients 2016).

DCM is a disease of the heart muscle characterized by an enlarged heart that does not function properly. While it may occur in any breed, it is seen more frequently in large breed dogs, specifically Dobermans, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. While the cause of DCM in dogs is largely unknown, we do know that genetic anomalies will determine how prone an animal is to DCM. Nutritional deficiencies of taurine or carnitine may contribute to the incidence of DCM.


Our ORIJEN and ACANA diets are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages. Cysteine and methionine content are available for taurine production in the dog’s body, and taurine itself is naturally present from the meat ingredients we include in the food.

A dog with particular health cases may develop taurine deficiency while being on a complete and balanced food. The food can meet all nutritional minimums (including methionine & cysteine) but something within the dog limits/inhibits the efficiency of conversion of precursor amino acids into taurine. Alternatively, the endogenous and higher than normal/average urinary losses of taurine or its precursors all contribute to development of a deficiency (Fascetti et al, 2003).

These conditions are not normal however, and all life stages foods are not formulated to meet these special needs.

DCM is a slow progressive disease which requires ongoing treatment once developed. It is evident that in canines, DCM is a largely hereditary condition, but the underlying cause of all cases may not genetic and there are multiple factors at play.

For clinically normal dogs, with the ability to efficiently convert amino acids into taurine, there is no concern for development of a taurine deficiency. Our foods are not meant to be therapeutic diets for animals with special needs, and are therefore not formulated with alternative nutritional needs in mind.
 

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The FB group has incredible information along with Dr. Stern actually posting. I have to say I am not sure how much to believe from any dog food company. Our job is to do as much research and listen to the information the medical experts tells us.
 

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I looked at that and it's less protein and salmon isn't the first ingredient. So, that's where I become confused.

I'm going to call her food company and ask which percentage of the protein is coming from her salmon vs the twice listed legumes. I think I'm leaning on just adding some fresh salmon to her kibble based on how much extra her vet recommends.
Don't know if you had a chance to call TOTW yet, but I did. The lady on the phone didn't know what I was talking about (I also wasn't sure what to ask), but told me that 88% of the protein in the Salmon formula is derived from animal protein. In the Lamb which I also feed my dog, it's 80%. Lamb is naturally low in taurine so they add it in to the lamb formula to meet a .05% "guaranteed analysis minimum." Then they got their in-house vet on the line and she knew of the UC Davis study but wasn't able to tell me much else.

I usually give my dog some chicken or turkey or egg on top of his kibble anyway so I guess I'll just keep doing that.
 
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