Taurine, an organic acid which is found in all animal tissues, is not degraded by the freeze-thaw process when it comes to raw meats, however it is degraded when it is cooked or exposed to heat of some kind.
Can Ferrets synthesize Taurine?
Obligate carnivores are not able to synthesize all the taurine they need from other amino acids (such as methionine and cysteine) unlike some other carnivores and unlike herbivores or omnivores. This means that it is essential to their diet and must be fed to the ferret.
What is the role of Taurine?
Taurine is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the large intestine. Taurine has many fundamental biological roles, such as conjugation of bile acids, anti-oxidation, osmoregulation, membrane stabilization, and modulation of calcium singling. It is essential for cardiovascular function, and development and function of skeletal muscle, the retina, and the central nervous system.
Is Taurine an Amino Acid?
Taurine is unusual among biological molecules in being a sulfonic acid, while the vast majority of biologically occurring acids contain the more weakly acidic carboxyl group. While taurine is sometimes called an amino acid, and indeed is an acid containing an amino group, it is not an amino acid in the usual biochemical meaning of the term, which refers to compounds containing both an amino and a carboxyl group.
What may happen if Taurine is not in the diet?
A diet that does not have enough taurine is thought to be similar to what happens with cats, it may cause the heart to stretch and enlarge (dilated cardiomyopathy). This can lead to congestive heart failure and in worse cases, death. In the eye, a low taurine diet can cause blindness from central retinal degeneration. There is very limited data and information available to confirm or deny the role of Taurine in Ferret Diets, however it is still probably in their best interest to make sure the diet contains adequate Taurine levels.
In order for any issue to arise, a Deficiency must drag on for a certain length time. It may take months, it may take years, it all depends on the ferret.
Can I feed too much Taurine?
Taurine is a water soluble nutrient, so that makes it incredibly rare that a ferret would overdose on Taurine. If a ferret eats something and there is too much taurine in it, the excess is simply excreted VIA urine.
So where can Taurine be found?
The main source of Taurine for our ferrets in the Frankenprey (Raw Feeding) menu is Hearts. Taurine can also be found in other types of meat, but hearts are essential to insure they get an appropriate amount of Taurine in their diet. If you cannot find hearts or need another option, beef tongue has a high amount of Taurine and makes a wonderful substitute for heart. In fact, Tongue has a higher amount of Taurine than that of Heart and is also quite fatty. If you cannot locate a meat option for taurine like the heart or tongue, Supplementing with a Taurine powder can be used short term until you can find alternative sources for Taurine. Supplementing Taurine with powder is not advised for long term use. A health food store should have Taurine powder. It may be handy to have stored away for emergencies. Supplementing Taurine is 500mg/Day per ferret.
***Even though this is written with Raw Feeders In mind, Taurine is Essential regardless of what diet you feed. You need a diet with high amounts of Taurine to ensure the ferret gets adequate amounts needed for it’s body***