Pet Symptom Checker

Carnitine deficiency

Medical name: Carnitine deficiency


  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry cough
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Lethargy
  • Distressed breathing
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Fainting


Carnitine deficiency in dogs is a condition in which your dog has lower levels of carnitine – a type of amino acid derivative – than normal, and can be associated with cardiomyopathy, or heart disease. Dogs experiencing carnitine deficiency may exhibit lethargy, weakness, or even fainting. You may also notice that your dog shows a loss of appetite or weight loss. Other symptoms of carnitine deficiency may include a racing heartbeat. To take your pet's pulse, with your dog sitting or lying in a relaxed position, locate the heart (on the left side of the chest near the elbow) with the palm of one hand (the other hand can restrain or reassure your dog). Count beats for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get beats per minute. For a small dog (up to 20 pounds) at rest, a normal heart rate is 70-180 beats per minute. Medium- and large-size dogs’ hearts (at rest) beat at an almost-humanlike 60-140 beats per minute. Young puppies (up to 6 weeks) race along at as much as 220 beats. Your dog may also have a dry cough, as if he is trying to relieve some irritation or expel something more solid from his airway. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from a carnitine deficiency, your vet can help to confirm the diagnosis in order to determine the best course of treatment.

Zootoo does not provide veterinary medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition.
If you think your pet may be experiencing a medical emergency, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal care facility immediately.

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