Short-term amino acid, clinicopathologic, and echocardiographic findings in healthy dogs fed a commercial plant-based diet

PLoS One. 2021 Oct 12;16(10):e0258044. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258044. eCollection 2021.


Consumer demand for commercially prepared plant-based (PB) dog food is increasing, but studies evaluating the short- or long-term effects of PB diets on canine health are lacking. The objective of this study was to assess the short-term amino acid (AA), clinicopathologic, and echocardiographic findings in 34 client-owned dogs fed a commercial extruded plant-based diet (PBD) in which pea protein was the primary protein source and 4 control dogs fed a commercial extruded traditional diet (TD). Plasma AA and whole blood taurine concentrations were measured in dogs at baseline and after 4 weeks on the PBD or the TD. Hematologic, serum biochemical, and echocardiographic testing were performed at baseline and after 12 weeks on the PBD or the TD. Four dogs in the PBD group did not complete the study. All essential AAs, except methionine, were higher in dogs after 4 weeks on the PBD compared to baseline. Taurine (plasma and whole blood) was also higher after 4 weeks on the PBD compared to baseline. A meaningful difference was detected in whole blood taurine between the PBD group and the control group at 4 weeks (P = .026) with the PBD group being higher. Median hematologic and biochemical results for the PBD group were within normal limits at baseline and at 12 weeks. In the PBD group, left ventricular internal diastolic dimension (LVIDd, P = < .001) and normalized LVIDd (P = .031) were higher 12 weeks post-PBD compared to baseline. There were no meaningful differences in left ventricular internal systolic dimension (LVIDs), normalized LVIDs, or fractional shortening 12 weeks post-PBD. There was no statistical evidence of difference between the 2 groups of dogs for any of the echocardiographic parameters at baseline or at 12 weeks. Essential AA or taurine deficiency was not observed in this cohort of dogs fed a commercial extruded PBD. Additionally, clinically relevant hematologic, serum biochemical and echocardiographic alterations were not detected. Further research is required to determine if long-term static feeding of PB diets can meet and maintain AA and other nutrient targets in dogs.

PMID:34637461 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0258044


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