Comparison of echocardiography, biomarkers and taurine concentrations in cats eating high- or low-pulse diets

J Feline Med Surg. 2023 Feb;25(2):1098612X231154859. doi: 10.1177/1098612X231154859.


Objectives: There are ongoing investigations into diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, but there has been minimal investigation into possible diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy in cats. The objective of this study was to compare cardiac size and function, cardiac biomarkers and taurine concentrations in healthy cats eating high- vs low-pulse diets. We hypothesized that cats eating high-pulse diets would have larger hearts, lower systolic function and higher biomarker concentrations than cats eating low-pulse diets and that there would be no difference in taurine concentrations between the diet groups.

Methods: Echocardiographic measurements, cardiac biomarkers, and plasma and whole-blood taurine concentrations were compared between cats eating high- and low-pulse commercial dry diets in a cross-sectional study.

Results: There were no differences between the high- (n = 21) and low-pulse (n = 31) diet groups with regard to age, sex and breed, but more cats in the high-pulse group were overweight or obese (67% vs 39%; P = 0.05). Diet duration was not different in the groups, but the range was wide (6-120 months). No differences were found between the diet groups for key cardiac measurements, biomarker concentrations, or plasma or whole-blood taurine concentrations. However, there were significant negative correlations between diet duration and measures of left ventricular wall thickness in the high-pulse, but not the low-pulse, diet group.

Conclusions and relevance: This study did not detect significant associations between high-pulse diets and cardiac size, function and biomarkers, but the secondary observation of significant negative correlations between time on high-pulse diets and left ventricular wall thickness warrants further evaluation.

Keywords: Cardiomyopathy; cardiology; grain-free; heart disease; nutrition; pulses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / veterinary
  • Cats
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases*
  • Dogs
  • Echocardiography / veterinary
  • Taurine


  • Taurine
  • Biomarkers