If your cat is having trouble seeing, experiencing a loss of appetite, showing signs of weakness, or having problems reproducing, please take your furry friend to a veterinarian right away. These symptoms could be the early signs of a disease, or it could be the results of a taurine deficiency. If the former, an early diagnosis will be able to provide the necessary treatment to ensure your cat gets on the road to a rapid recovery. If your cat is suffering from a taurine deficiency, you need to address it as soon as possible.
What is taurine?
Taurine is an essential amino acid important to both humans and animals. In most species, taurine is manufactured inside the body by using other amino acids. Unfortunately, cats are not able to produce the necessary levels of taurine to ensure healthy eyes, teeth, and hair. Their source of taurine has to come from animal-based proteins found in most cat foods.
How does taurine deficiency affect cats?
Degeneration of the retina in the eyes, weakening of the heart, and digestion issues will develop if your cat has a taurine deficiency. In pregnant cats, a taurine deficiency can affect the mother’s health, and cause developmental and growth problems in the kittens.
How is taurine deficiency in cats diagnosed?
If you suspect your cat has a taurine deficiency, you will need to take it to a veterinarian for a thorough physical examination. Before any tests are run, you will need to provide your cat’s history as well as a list of the types of foods your furry friend eats. Since a cat with taurine deficiency is prone to heart disease, your veterinarian will want to thoroughly examine your cat’s heart. In addition to a physical examination, blood tests, urinalysis, chest x-rays, electrocardiogram, and eye exams will be conducted.
How is taurine deficiency in cats treated?
The most effective way of treating taurine deficiency is through supplementation. Depending on the degree of deficiency and your cat’s ability to maintain proper levels of taurine will determine how long the cat will need to take the supplements. Fortunately, most cat foods contain sufficient amounts of taurine to help your cat maintain proper levels of this essential amino acid.
In some cases, your veterinarian might recommend you give your cat supplements with taurine such as …
Felovite II with Taurine: this is a nutritional supplement formulated to help meet your cat or kitten’s needs for healthy eyes, teeth and hair. Felovite II with Taurine is an easy to administer gel with tuna/fish flavoring.
Taurine Tablets: come in chewable tablets for use as a supplemental source of taurine for cats of all ages.
In conclusion, taurine deficiency in cats is due to a cat’s inability to produce taurine an essential amino acid. Signs your cat may have a taurine deficiency are loss of vision, weak heart muscle, and digestion issues. A thorough physical is required to determine if a cat has a taurine deficiency. For most cats, taurine deficiency can be treated with a diet rich in taurine or through supplements.