Melamine and its derivatives in dog and cat urine: An exposure assessment study

Environ Pollut. 2018 Jul;238:248-254. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.02.089. Epub 2018 Mar 20.


Melamine is a nitrogen-containing organic compound that is used in a wide range of products, including paints, plastics, and paper, as a flame retardant. A few studies have reported the occurrence of melamine and its derivatives in pet food, following a number of deaths of cats and dogs from kidney failure in 2007, which was attributed to melamine contamination in ingredients used in pet food. Nevertheless, studies that report the occurrence of melamine and its derivatives in pet urine are scarce. In this study, we measured melamine and its derivatives (i.e., ammeline, ammelide, and cyanuric acid) in dog (n = 30) and cat (n = 30) urine collected from Albany, New York, USA, during March through July 2017. The mean (±SD) concentrations of melamine, ammeline, ammelide, and cyanuric acid in dog urine were 21.1 ± 51.2, 2.3 ± 3.8, 9.9 ± 1 0.4, and 79.0 ± 105 ng/mL, respectively; the corresponding concentrations in cats were 21.4 ± 26.1, 1.2 ± 2.5, 6.1 ± 3.9, and 105 ± 94.6 ng/mL, respectively. No significant difference was observed in urinary concentrations of melamine derivatives between cats and dogs. Age and gender were important determinants of the concentrations of the target chemicals in cats and dogs. Cumulative daily intake of melamine and its derivatives was calculated on the basis of urinary concentrations and was found to be 10-500-fold below the tolerable daily intake.

Keywords: Cat urine; Cyanuric acid; Dog urine; Melamine; Pet exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Flame Retardants / analysis
  • Flame Retardants / metabolism*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • New York
  • Nitrogen
  • Triazines / urine*


  • Flame Retardants
  • Triazines
  • cyanuric acid
  • ammelide
  • ammeline
  • melamine
  • Nitrogen