Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Carnitine Deficiency in Dogs


L-Carnitine Deficiency in Dogs


L-carnitine is an important nutrient that acts as a transport for fatty acids, essential for the cellular production of energy.


L-carnitine is an important nutrient that acts as a transport for fatty acids, essential for the cellular production of energy. Deficiency of this nutrient can cause a variety of health problems for animals; most significantly, the association with heart disease (cardiomyopathy) in dogs. The heart and skeletal muscles do not synthesize the nutrient on their own, requiring it to be transported there for use. Because of this, when the body is deficient in carnitine, the heart and skeletal muscles are negatively affected. While carnitine supplements are not always able to reverse the effects of this deficiency, they have proven to be the most successful course of treatment.


Symptoms and Types


The signs of this deficiency may include:


  • Heart muscle failure
  • Enlarged heart (dilated cardiomyopathy)
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weakness (lethargy)


L-carnitine is important for muscle tissue to receive energy and function normally; therefore, a deficiency in this nutrient can create a negative impact throughout a dog's body.




While causes of carnitine deficiency is unknown, it is believed some dog breeds show an increased risk of developing the deficiency, including Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds, and other giant breeds.




In order to diagnose this deficiency, heart (endomyocardial) muscle biopsies must be performed to measure carnitine levels.




Related Articles

Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs
Ascites, also known as abdominal effusion, is the medical term referring to the buildup...
Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis...
The mycoplasma is a class of bacterial parasites belonging to the order of Mollicutes....
Blood Transfusion Reactions in Dogs
There are a variety of reactions that can occur with the transfusion of any blood...
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»

Latest In Dog Nutrition

5 Tips to Keep Your Senior Dog Healthy
Senior dogs have different health requirements than younger dogs. Here are some tips...
Five Life-Lengthening Health Tips for Your ...
Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat wishes just one thing — that he or she has a...
Pet Food Ingredients that Promote Longer Life
Pet foods, in order to promote a healthy long life, must be balanced and complete...
Around the Web