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Taurine deficiency?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have an orphan kitten that the vet has confirmed is blind. She's about 4 or 5 weeks old at this point, I've had her almost 3 weeks now. The first thing that struck me as odd about her is that her eyes are not blue. They are completely dark.

She's missing a hind leg, but it appears to have been removed in some kind of accident/trauma as opposed to being born like that, as the end was open when I got her. It has since closed up and healed. Now that she's finally walking (she seems to be quite behind in terms of development, as compared to a healthy litter of orphans I raised a couple years ago) it appears that her intact hind leg isn't formed exactly right. It's got a serious bow to it.

When I first suspected she was blind, I immediately did some reading on taurine deficiency and found that it can cause hind end deformities (such as the intact hind leg that doesn't look right?) and developmental problems, as well as blindness (which I already knew).

Both my vet and a cat rescue that I have volunteered at in the past think her blindness is a result of the respiratory infection that she had when I got her. I'm thinking it wasn't that bad of an infection, as all symptoms were gone in less than 24 hours on Amoxicillin. Actually I gave her the first dose around 6pm and her eyes were clear the next morning. If she'd had a severe enough infection to cause blindness, I'd think it would have taken longer than 24 hours for ALL the gunk buildup to disappear and the sneezing to go away completely (I did, of course, continue the antibiotics for 14 days even though she was fine).

Anyways, even though the vet and the rescue said it was a waste of my money, I bought a taurine supplement at the health food store. I really couldn't find any information online for dosing, so for the first few days I gave her half a capsule (powder in a plastic capsule, I just pulled it open and sprinkled it in her forumla) a day, and now I give her half a capsule every other day. It's an amino acid, I'm not sure if I could overdose her or not.

Anyways, I've noticed in the past few days (after about 2 weeks on the taurine) that her eyes are starting to have a noticable iris and pupil, where it used to be all black. Her iris is now more of a dark gray, but there is contrast between that and the pupil. Also, my husband was wiggling his finger the other night, not making any noise with it, and she pounced on it! She also will follow motion if you wave your hand back and forth. I don't think she can see all that well, but I think she can see some now.

She also took a really long time to get to eat canned food. I feed all of my cats Felidae dry and canned. At first she'd only eat a bite or two and cry for her syringe, but now she will happily eat her meals from a bowl. The litter I raised before were about the same age as she was when I got her (eyes just opened) and ate formula (the kitten glop recipe you can find online) from a bowl from the start. I've been mixing the glop with the canned Felidae for Tres (Spanish for three, pronounced "trace") and she's been eating it well for a couple of days now. I'm pretty much only using the syringe to give her formula when I want to give her a dose of taurine, to make sure she gets it all.

That got kind of long, I hope I caught all the typos, I'm about ready to go to bed! Anyways, I just wanted to get your thoughts on this since it's something I've never dealt with before. My theory on how she ended up deficient is that maybe her mother was a feral that was getting most of her food from garbage cans, which would contain mostly cooked meat. Since cooking destroys the taurine, she became deficient which in turn affected the kitten.

Oh the capsules I got are 500 mg, so she gets about 250 mg per dose since I open the capsules and give her half at a time. She's also not been back to the vet yet, so I can't confirm if the vet thinks she can see. It just happened the other day and i don't see the point in taking her in if there's nothing wrong. Either she can see or she can't, and obviously the vet doesn't think there's anything that can be done about it. My original plan was to raise her and find her a good home like I did with my orphans before, but we've decided she's just too special and we'll keep her, 3 legs, blind, and all!
post #2 of 9
You're an angel on Earth....

Taurine is an essential amino acid crucial to good heart muscle development and eyesight development. I'm not Dr. or Vet, but perhaps adding it to the kitty's food has brought back her sight....at least well enough to notice moving fingers. It doesn't seem to be hurting her.
On pet food, the taurine is usually in the dosage of 0.2% to 0.05%...but don't ask me what the '%' is being compared to. All I know is that cats cannot produce it themselves and need it for strong hearts.

I hope the kitty continues to do well....it sure sounds like you've brought her from the brink of death into your loving home. Here are some hugs for her.....
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you. My vet told her that she did good on finding a home. I got her after my sister in law found her. She called me to find out how to feed a baby kitten, and after I explained it, she asked if I wanted her. Well of course I do! LOL! The new intern at the vet office hadn't met me yet, and he was like "Wow, I'm surprised you'd be willing to take her..." and I told him "Nothing I do surprises the vets here anymore!" LOL! Two summers ago I raised five orphan babies and adopted 4 of them to good homes and the last one stayed here because he's my baby boy He's very attached to me and will jump up from the floor to give me hugs, but never uses his claws.

In addition to the 6 cats (one is not mine and was kinda dumped on me and is looking for a home where there's no elderly cats for him to beat up, since he's beating up on mine), there are 5 dogs, 5 rats, 2 guinea pigs, a rabbit, a bearded dragon, and a horse that I board at a big stable. Hubby got brave and discovered that we spend over 1/5 of our annual income on feeding and routine vet care for the animals! That was something I could have lived without knowing! But ever since I got into nutrition and such, well you all probably know what I mean. The dogs get Canidae, the cats get Felidae, the GP's and rabbit get Oxbow (although I prefer ZuPreem but can't get it anymore), the rats get what we eat, which is mostly organic, and the lizard gets mostly homegrown greens. My horse is still getting the cheap sweet feed that's included with his board at the stable, but he'll be switching to a good senior feed once I figure out which one I like best (he's 19 and a bit more thin than I'd like to see him, but I just got him a couple months ago).

I enjoy my animals and want to make sure they get what is best for them.
post #4 of 9
got a regular zoo, there, haven't you!
she really was having a good day when you adopted her. glad to hear she's improving!
post #5 of 9
My only concern is that since it's a human supplement it might have some other inactive ingredients that aren't so good for kitties. You could list everything that's in it to see if anyone on here knows.

Run it by your vet, too. You may just help your vet learn something!
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
The supplement is manufactured by Solgar and contains no sugar, salt, or starch. The inactive ingredients are vegetable cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable stearic acid, and water, and may contain vegetable glycerine. I think the cellulose items are what makes up the plastic capsule it comes in, but I open the capsule to sprinkle the powder in her formula so she doesn't eat that. On the jar it also says that the taurine is "free form" so it's more easily used by the body.

I bought it at a health food store attached to my chiropractor's office, and looked at it to see if anything I knew as being not good for cats was in it, and didn't see anything.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrcpr View Post
The supplement is manufactured by Solgar and contains no sugar, salt, or starch. The inactive ingredients are vegetable cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable stearic acid, and water, and may contain vegetable glycerine. I think the cellulose items are what makes up the plastic capsule it comes in, but I open the capsule to sprinkle the powder in her formula so she doesn't eat that. On the jar it also says that the taurine is "free form" so it's more easily used by the body.

I bought it at a health food store attached to my chiropractor's office, and looked at it to see if anything I knew as being not good for cats was in it, and didn't see anything.
NO the cellulose items are IN THE powder ... the capsules are gelatine based
post #8 of 9
Most of the inactive ingredients sound ok - as far as I can tell.
The microcrystalline cellulose does come from wood pulp though.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
I figure this is pretty much the only way I'm going to get taurine. My vet doesn't carry it and wasn't too sure it would even be worth trying, and this was the only form the health food store had. She won't be on it forever. I'll probably continue it for a little while after she's on 100% cat food for her diet.

I really can't find any information on who much to give or how long it takes to tell when you've reached the point of no more improvement. Heck I don't even know if it's "stored" in the body. The most I've been able to find out is that it can take a year or two for a cat to become deficient. But obviously, if the mother is deficient, her kittens will be too, as she will have none to pass on to them. So I guess it's stored in the body somehow. I don't know if it's like some vitamins that can become toxic if you have too much in your body. I know it's an amino acid, but I'm really having trouble finding answers to the many questions I still have! It doesn't help that my computer is kinda screwy and not always cooperative.

I haven't had a lot of time to play with her in the past few days, I'm getting ready for a weekend trip and it's taking a ton of time to get ready for. I don't travel much! But so far she's been holding her own and I do think she can see at least some. I wouldn't say she sees *well* but she'll hop out of her crate when I open the door and go right across the middle of the floor, where she used to creep along a wall and feel around with her whiskers and paws. Whatever sight she has must be better than being completely blind like she was.

My vet was more worried about the blindness than the missing leg, but now I'm thinking my main thing is hoping that her intact hind leg straightens some and that she forms a callus on the stump so it won't need amputated. The vet said if she's continually traumatizing the stump, we'll have to amputate, but she may just form a callus on it and it will be fine. So far so good, but her crate is lined with soft towels and my house has wood floors. She's not big enough to roam the house yet, so we'll have to see what happens when she reaches that stage.

Oh she's also using her litter box! When I noticed that she was starting to go potty on her own, I took a small pie pan and filled it with litter and gave it to her. She IMMEDIATELY started using that for going potty. My litter had it all mixed up when I gave them a litter box, they were pooping on the towels I gave them as a bed, and were sleeping in the litter box! Took forever to get them straightened out on that one!
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