Effects of dietary fat and carnitine on urine carnitine excretion in healthy dogs.

S. L. Sanderson, Carl A Osborne, J. P. Lulich, K. L. Gross, S. R. Lowry, Mary Ella M Pierpont, P. N. Ogburn, L. A. Koehler, L. L. Swanson, K. A. Bird, Lisa K Ulrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Turnover of carnitine in the body is primarily the result of renal excretion, and high-fat (HF) diets have been shown to increase urine carnitine excretion in healthy people. Recently, increased renal excretion of carnitine was observed in dogs diagnosed with cystinuria and carnitine deficiency. Carnitine deficiency has been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy and lipid storage myopathies in dogs and humans, and low-fat (LF) diets have been beneficial in some human patients with carnitine deficiency. In addition, HF, protein-restricted diets are often recommended for management of cystinuria in dogs. However, whether HF diets increase renal carnitine excretion in dogs or whether dogs with carnitine deficiency would benefit from LF diets remains unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the influence of dietary fat and carnitine on renal carnitine excretion in healthy dogs. Results from this study revealed that an HF diet increased urine carnitine excretion in dogs; however, carnitine excretion with the HF diet was not significantly different from that in dogs consuming an LF diet. Nonetheless, these results raise the possibility that increased renal carnitine excretion associated with HF diets could be one risk factor for development of carnitine deficiency in dogs with an underlying disorder in carnitine metabolism, and some dogs with carnitine deficiency may benefit from an LF diet. Another important observation in this study was that renal excretion of carnitine exceeded dietary intake in all diet groups, confirming previous reports that concluded that canine renal tubular cells reabsorb carnitine poorly when compared with those of humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalVeterinary therapeutics : research in applied veterinary medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


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