Histidine, an essential amino acid for adult dogs

J Nutr. 1981 Jun;111(6):1074-84. doi: 10.1093/jn/111.6.1074.


Twenty-seven adult female mongrel dogs were studied to evaluate whether histidine is an essential amino acid. Dogs were tube-fed isocaloric, isonitrogenous amino acid diets which provided either no histidine or 67 mg histidine/kg body weight/day. The histidine-free diet was fed to 10 dogs for 5.6 +/- 3.6 (SD) days and to six dogs for 59.2 +/- 6.0 days. In the short-term studies, there were no differences between the responses of the dogs fed the histidine-free and histidine-replete diets. In the long-term studies, dogs fed the histidine-free diet developed a significant decrease in plasma and muscle histidine, muscle carnosine, body weight, hematocrit and serum albumin. The dogs fed the histidine-free diet tried to avoid the feedings, and after several weeks, they often manifested reduced activity and listlessness. One dog died on the 72nd day. None of these manifestations occurred in the dogs fed the histidine-replete diet in the long-term studies. Plasma zinc and copper were not different in the two groups of dogs. However, at the end of the long-term studies, the dogs fed the histidine-free diet had significantly lower final whole blood zinc and copper concentrations as compared to the histidine-replete dogs. These findings indicate that histidine is an essential amino acid in adult female dogs. The syndrome associated with histidine-deficiency tends to develop slowly over many days to several weeks.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carnosine / metabolism
  • Copper / blood
  • Dogs / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hematocrit
  • Histidine / deficiency
  • Histidine / metabolism*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Zinc / blood


  • Amino Acids
  • Serum Albumin
  • Histidine
  • Copper
  • Carnosine
  • Zinc