Heart disease in dogs and cats.
Heart conditions in pets occur more frequently the older the pet, especially from 5-7 years. One in ten furry dogs suffers from some type of cardiac pathology. Being valvular insufficiencies and dilated cardiomyopathies more frequent in canines (Keene et al., 2019); and the most frequent myocardial conditions in felines, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (Kittleson & Côté, 2021).
How do I know if my pet has heart disease?
Pets with heart disease may exhibit one or more symptoms at the same time; tachypnea (rapid breathing), dyspnea (respiratory difficulty) due to pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the lungs), cough, fatigue, weakness, exercise intolerance, syncope, cold extremities, pale mucous membranes or the cardiac cachexia (loss of muscle mass). In some cases, heart murmurs, rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias), heart enlargement (cardiomegaly), and/or variations in pulse and blood pressure occur (Keene et al., 2019).
How to take care of my pet with heart problems?
As part of the therapy, nutritional management is very important; as well as improve the palatability of the medicated feed to encourage its consumption. We invite you to continue reading and review with us the main aspects to review when feeding pets with heart disease:
7 Tips for Choosing Food for My Cardiopathic Pet
Wet or dry food.
Offering a moist or dry food can make a difference, as can warming the food (canned or moistened dry) in the microwave. Perhaps it can also be positive to add healthy ingredients that enhance the flavor, such as honey, creamy yogurt or oregano to improve the acceptance of the food by your furry friend. Some nutritional modifications can provide the necessary support for a good quality of life and help slow the progress of heart disease.
Be careful with salt in the diet.
One of the objectives of nutritional therapy in congestive heart failure is based on increasing the excretion of sodium and water, to improve the symptoms that occur, such as pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the lungs). The degree of sodium restriction will depend on the state or severity of the disease.
As heart disease progresses, it is necessary to consider the use of medicated foods for heart patients, due to the control in the incorporation of sodium that they have, as well as other specific nutrients.
We invite you to review the foods for dogs with heart disease that we have at Best for Pets by clicking here
This amino acid is present in high concentrations in the heart (in the muscular zone called myocardium), acting as a cardiovascular protector. Taurine deficiency plays an important role in the development of heart conditions in felines and canines, although it is true that it is only considered an essential amino acid for felines.
However, it has been studied that taurine supplementation in canines, fed on a vegetable protein basis (such as soy), with low contributions of amino acids and with an excess of fiber; It would be useful to produce an increase in the life expectancy of furry dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy (Kaplan et al., 2018; Sanderson et al., 2001).
It should be noted that not all foods have adequate concentrations of this essential amino acid, so choose good quality foods for your michi that incorporate animal protein as first ingredients (including flour and by-products of beef, chicken and/or pork) and quantities adequate levels of taurine, plays a fundamental preventive role.
Finally, mention that, of all the possible conditions, only CMD can be reversed with Taurine supplementation in those breeds that are not genetically predisposed to manifest the disease (FDA, 2019). An alternative that we recommend in supplement form is Beaphar’s Laveta+Taurine
Enrichment of the diet with Omega 3
These fatty acids are found in large quantities in fish oil. Among its properties stands out the powerful anti-inflammatory effect at the systemic level, because they inhibit the production of inflammatory cells called cytokines. This also occurs at the cardiac level, where they reduce the action of harmful compounds (free radicals) and pro-inflammatory heart. Omega 3 fatty acids act on cardiac cells (myocytes), stabilizing cell membranes and regulating cardiac arrhythmias, by decreasing their frequency.
In addition, it has verified a preponderant role in the recovery of furry dogs that suffer from anorexia and loss of muscle mass, because its flavor improves palatability.quality and food intake. At Best for Pets you will find the following supplements with Omega 3 for the different ages of dogs and cats from Drag Pharma.
The importance of L-Carnitine in the diet
It is an essential molecule for proper cardiac function synthesized by the body in the liver
A deficiency of L-Carnitine is capable of causing a myocardial disease, mainly a contractile dysfunction of the myocardium. As long as the dysfunction has been caused by a deficiency of L-Carnitine, it can be reversed.
One of the highly prevalent diseases caused by this deficiency is Congestive Heart Failure, where the heart cannot supply enough blood to the body due to the low contractility of the ventricles.
Oral Carnitine supplementation has been shown to improve myocardial contractility, heart rate, and damage caused by oxidative stress (FDA, 2019). To prevent the conditions mentioned above, we recommend Laveta Carnitina
Good quality protein in the diet
Diets for heart patients must be formulated based on very good quality proteins, highly digestible and in adequate amounts for each species, in order to provide the raw material; that is, essential and non-essential amino acids for the production of Taurine and Carnitine. In addition, we will avoid the loss of muscle mass and weight. As a recommendation, the choice of foods with crude protein inclusion percentages equal to or greater than 20% in canines and 30% in felines will be optimal for proper cardiac function.
Antioxidants are really important.
Patients suffering from congestive and/or degenerative heart failure show a decrease in the amount of physiological antioxidants and an increase in proinflammatory cells, which translates into a higher degree of oxidative stress (Nemec et al., 2021).
This ends up triggering a toxic effect at the heart level, through myocardial remodeling, fibrosis and cell death; which translates into direct negative progress of the disease.
It is worth noting the importance of maintaining and reinforcing compensatory mechanisms to prevent and/or compensate diseases.
Among the elements capable of opposing the effect of RLO are antioxidants such as glutathione peroxidase enzyme, super oxide dismutase and chemical species such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, which can intervene by metabolizing and/or directly destroying the RLOs. In the long term, this will translate into reduced damage to heart tissue.