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J Vet Intern Med. 2001 Mar-Apr;15(2):94-100.

Evaluation of urinary carnitine and taurine excretion in 5 cystinuric dogs with carnitine and taurine deficiency.

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Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, USA.


Five client owned dogs with cystinuria were diagnosed with carnitine and taurine deficiency while participating in a clinical trial that used dietary management of their urolithiasis. Stored 24-hour urine samples collected from the cystinuric dogs before enrollment in the clinical diet trial were quantitatively evaluated for carnitine and taurine. These results were compared to those obtained from 18 healthy Beagles. Both groups of dogs were fed the same maintenance diet for a minimum of 2 weeks before 24-hour urine collection. The protocol used for 24-hour urine collections was the same for cystinuric dogs and healthy Beagles except that cystinuric dogs were catheterized at baseline, 8 hours, 12 hours, and at the end of the collection, whereas Beagles were catheterized at baseline, 8 hours, and at the end of the collection. Three of 5 dogs with cystinuria had increased renal excretion of carnitine. None of the cystinuric dogs had increased renal excretion of taurine, but cystinuric dogs excreted significantly less (P < .05) taurine in their urine than the healthy Beagles. Carnitinuria has not been recognized previously in either humans or dogs with cystinuria, and it may be 1 risk factor for developing carnitine deficiency. Cystinuric dogs in this study were not taurinuric; however, cystine is a precursor amino acid for taurine synthesis. Therefore, cystinuria may be 1 risk factor for developing taurine deficiency in dogs. We suggest that dogs with cystinuria be monitored for carnitine and taurine deficiency or supplemented with carnitine and taurine.

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