Effects of different carbohydrate sources on taurine status in healthy Beagle dogs

Julia Guazzelli Pezzali, Heather L. Acuff, Will Henry, Celeste Alexander, Kelly S. Swanson, Charles G. Aldrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluated the effects of a grain-based (GB) and grain-free (GF) diet on protein utilization and taurine status in healthy Beagle dogs. Two practical dog diets sufficient in crude protein, sulfur amino acids, and taurine content were formulated with the same ingredients with exception of the carbohydrate sources. The GB contained sorghum, millet, and spelt while potatoes, peas, and tapioca starch were used in the GF. A total of 12 Beagle dogs were used in a completely randomized design with six replicates per treatment. The study consisted of an adaptation period of 2 wk followed by an experimental period of 28 d in which GB and GF were fed to the dogs. At the end of the adaptation period and every 2 wk after it (day 0, day 14, day 28), markers of taurine metabolism were analyzed in whole blood (taurine), plasma (taurine, methionine, and cystine), urine (taurine:creatinine), and fresh fecal samples (primary and secondary bile acids). Fecal samples were collected during the last 6 d of experimental period for digestibly assessment using titanium dioxide as an external marker. Taurine markers and digestibility data were analyzed in a repeated measures model and one-way ANOVA, respectively, using PROC GLIMMIX in SAS (version 9.4). Apparent crude protein digestibility was not affected by treatment, but dogs fed GF diet had lower apparent organic matter digestibility compared with those fed GB (P < 0.05). Greater plasma taurine concentrations were observed at days 14 and 28 compared with day 0; wherein dogs fed GF exhibited greater increase compared to those fed GB (P < 0.05). Whole blood taurine concentrations, plasma methionine concentrations, and urinary taurine:creatinine were also greater at days 14 and 28 compared with day 0 (P < 0.05), but no effect of diet was observed. Total bile acid excretion was similar between GF and GB groups, but dogs fed GF excreted a higher proportion of primary bile acids compared with those fed GB (25.49% vs. 12.09% at day 28, respectively). In summary, overall taurine status was not affected by dietary treatments, however, our results suggest that the higher content of oligosaccharides and soluble fibers in the GF diet may alter the composition of the fecal bile acid pool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskaa010
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 24 2020


  • bile acid
  • grain-free
  • legumes
  • oligosaccharides
  • taurine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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