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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember being so depressed posting about my 6-year-old boy's hip dysplasia/osteoarthritis and cataracts here. Since then, thanks to glucosamine supplements and Ester C doses, his pain is gone. He can jump and run and play. He can also see again, since taking a supplement called Ocu-glo RX. He's been like a new dog, so confident again and happy. We had a 6th birthday party for him at the park, with his doggie friends. He was so happy and handsome.

When we got home, he bolted and got hit by a car. It was a pretty hard hit and he tumbled away, thankfully didn't go under the wheels. He was fine after, behaved normally. We brought him to the vet and no internal bleeding/contusions were seen in his x-rays.

However, incidentally, we saw that his heart was enlarged. That and a "bronchial pattern." The vet explained that some fluid was in the lungs and so he was given furosemide. To be taken for 7 days. He tested negative for heartworm. We're to observe him for a few days to really see if he suffered no injury from the car accident, but I got the impression that the vet was more concerned about the enlarged heart, but she wouldn't speak this soon about it.

I read about enlarged hearts and am so anxious about my boy. He doesn't have a cough, nor does he have difficulty breathing, but his heart rate is fast and he pants a lot. He's a little sore now from the accident and tired from all the activity the past few days.

Some sites say that a dog with an enlarged heart won't live for much longer, but do any of you have dogs that lived for several years more? We won't know until Saturday if it's a heart condition, and how progressed it is. But I would be solaced by stories of dogs making it through this. Thanks.
 

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Snorkels has had an enlarged heart for God knows how long. At least 2 1/2 years, since I got her.

An enlarged heart itself is not a death sentence. You will need to get the tests done to see exactly why his heart is enlarged. He is way too young for all this!! I'm so sorry this has happened.

Snorkels has mitral valve disease and eventually she'll go into congestive heart failure but that hasn't happened yet. What you want to avoid is the congestive heart failure and if there is fluid buildup furosamide will help but if there is a rapid heartbeat you might also need something like benazapril to control it.

some of the heart drugs have side effects, so try to do just the bare minimum. Sometimes it's hard to find a vet willing to do that. The drugs can actually cause more damage than good if given prematurely. When snorkels was first diagnosed they put her on three medications and the cardiologist took her off every one of them.

About the x-ray - Snorkels was misdiagnosed as having fluid in her lungs when she didn't. There wasn't enough contrast on the x-ray and the light stuff in her lungs was not fluid, it was just the x-ray. So make sure there is alot of contrast.

And just a side note - Snorkels has been getting an ultrasound every 9-12 months since she was diagnosed. Her last ulstrasound showed a reduction in heart size.

The only change between the two ultrasounds was raw food.
 

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I just posted about my boy that's in congestive heart failure so I definitely have some experience with heart issues. He has been in CHF for over 3 yrs and it's been controlled with meds. His heart is enlarged and he's starting to have a harder time now and his energy level is low but I've pretty successfully managed it for a while. He's 11 yrs old.
I also had a Chihuahua several years ago that had a severely enlarged heart. I got her when she was 10 and on our first vet visit they had to x-ray her and showed me how large it was then. She lived to be 17. So yes, a dog can live with heart issues, you just have to figure out what the problem is and find the proper way to deal with it.
Good luck with everything. Hoping you'll get good news!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your replies, they've calmed me down somewhat. Could I have a recipe of the raw diet you feed your dogs? What's the appropriate raw food for a dog with heart trouble? He gets a grain-free diet, purely cooked meat and organs, to control his yeast overgrowth. This is supplemented by fish oil, vitamin e, probiotics (for his problem skin), milk thistle (for liver health), ester-C and glucosamine (for his dysplasia) and OCu-glo (for his sight). A lot, I know, but do I have to add in taurine, Co-enzyme Q and others? Thanks so much.

At the vet's, he got a blood test btw, and everything was perfect: liver, kidneys, WBC, creatinine, etc. If he hadn't been hit, I wouldn't have thought to x ray his chest since he doesn't have a cough or cold. Oh man.
 

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here is the raw model we follow:
How to Get Started | Prey Model Raw

And here is a link to the page of natural remedies posted on Donna's thread:
Dog Heart Problems | Natural Remedies for Heart Disease in Dogs
I can't speak to them as I haven't tried any. Seems like you are already doing alot of it.

Good oils and fats are extremely important. I give my dog lots of oily fish, lots of beef and pork heart (grass fed as much as possible) and Inever trim the fat off. Some folks supplement fish oil but I don't.

Even if you don't switch to raw (although I think it would help) you could make sure he is getting that stuff and I believe getting it naturally from the food they eat is the best way.

It sounds, though, that your dog might just benefit from raw food, period. It seems he might have allergies that could be food related, especially the yeast stuff. One of my dogs had really bad yeasty/infected ears on dry food - any dry food - and he's not had one single ear problem since we switched.

My theory is that my dog's body needs to be able to concentrate on helping her heart, without having to digest cooked food, grains, or veggies. And since a dog's digestive system is built to digest raw food I think it's helped tremendously to get her off of dry food.

Since I believe a proper raw diet fills all their nutritional needs, I supplement very little - just some glucosamine. I know others do supplement more than I do.

her heart problem was also diagnosed by accident. The ER vet took an x-ray of her stomach for digestive upset and her regular vet noticed the giant heart in the corner of the x-ray.

and I'm so glad you've helped the dysplasia and the eye problems. We started giving my dachshund laser therapy treatments and I consider that just as much of a miracle as raw food for her spinal arthritis. It's awful to watch them struggling and in pain.

If you stick with dry food, I would continue all your supplements but I would add canned sardines without salt or something similar for the omega-three oils, and I think it wouldn't hurt to also supplement the dry food with some grass-fed raw meat like beef heart. That just has so many good nutrients and enzymes in it and cooking will destroy alot of it.
 

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Gosh i'm sorry to hear about all that has happened, I don't know much about cardiovascular health and canines, but i can chime in about the raw feeding supplements, we just add fish oil for the omega 3's, and that's about it, and we have a very yeasty boy as well :lol: and it helps to stave it off. I hope that everything starts improving with your pup! keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi, everyone. Just came back from the vet and we're in the clear as to injuries from being hit by the car. The heart is still clearly enlarged, and there's still congestion despite the doses of furosemide. The vet definitely suspects heart disease, and he scheduled us for an ECG in 7 days. Meanwhile, my boy is to keep on taking furosemide for another 7 days, plus benazepril (a vaso-dilator), and l-carnitine. I was asked about his diet and when I said that I'd always fed him cooked meat and organs, the vet looked at me askance and said that it was possible that the heart condition resulted from a high-protein diet. He recommended switching to Royal Canin cardiac formula. Clearly, this is a vet who would not recommend raw feeding.

I want to still do the raw feeding and also supplement with this: Hearty Heart, an all-natural cardiac supplement that seems to have a lot of good reviews. Here are the ingredients:

"Hawthorn berries: Helps regulate heart rate, coronary flow and blood pressure.
Balsam Poplar: Helps stimulate circulation and supports blood flow.
Hops: Helps relax tension and anxiety while supporting circulation.
Valerian: Helps manage heart palpitations.
Wood Betony: Mild stimulant for the heart.
Lobelia: Helps relax and expand the respiratory system, helping oxygenated blood flow more freely.
Mistletoe Root: Helps control tachycardia and relax spasms.
Motherwort: strengthening effect, especially on a weak heart. Antispasmodic and sedative effects promote relaxation rather than drowsiness
Pulsatilla: Sedative effect and for easing coughing
Glycerin based"

Here's the site where it's available: Dog Heart Disease - Hearty Heart Treatment for Canine Heart Problems

Have any of you tried this? Like xelil, I really don't want my dog to be on conventional heart drugs forever.

I also want to ask how you modified your dogs' exercise routine. I can see that my dog want to go on his walks (he doesn't yet have exercise intolerance) but the vet said to make exercise minimal. The problem is that this dog always overexerts himself--he gets so excited to go on wallks, and pulls like a plowhorse. How do I make him go on walks calmly?
 

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Hi, everyone. Just came back from the vet and we're in the clear as to injuries from being hit by the car. The heart is still clearly enlarged, and there's still congestion despite the doses of furosemide. The vet definitely suspects heart disease, and he scheduled us for an ECG in 7 days. Meanwhile, my boy is to keep on taking furosemide for another 7 days, plus benazepril (a vaso-dilator), and l-carnitine. I was asked about his diet and when I said that I'd always fed him cooked meat and organs, the vet looked at me askance and said that it was possible that the heart condition resulted from a high-protein diet. He recommended switching to Royal Canin cardiac formula. Clearly, this is a vet who would not recommend raw feeding.
I've lost 2 dogs to heart failure, both had heart murmurs (the 1st I knew about early on, the 2nd was a senior rescue that I had for 3 years and not once did any vet mention the heart murmur until she actually went into heart failure literally overnight .... thanks for that doc!!!), and the heart enlargement was the result of the progression of the murmur and the heart having to work harder to compensate. I'm sure that's not the exact words, but in a nutshell. Of course, I'm sure every case is different.

But what I really wanted to tell you, the first one had been fed Science Diet her entire life (vet recommended and before I knew better). Funny they didn't blame her heart condition on her diet since I fed what they told me to. They just love blaming the diet for everything, unless you feed their garbage. Sorry. Not really helpful. Just not happy with vets at the moment.

I'm sure you'll get some good advice from some very knowledgeable folks here. Best wishes for you and your furbaby.
 

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Let me guess - he sells royal canin Rx foods??

Cooking DOES change the food somewhat. But I willl never in a million years believe that it caused your dog's heart problem. He's a fricken vet, for Pete's sake. He should know better. What an idiot.

Snorkels' heart size was reduced on raw food. Wonder what he would say about that.

I guess - and take this with a grain of sallt - I am kind of scared of some of the holistic treatments. Natural doesn't always mean safe. Natural products aren't regulated and they don't even have to contain what they say they do. I am scared to mess with my dog's heart with an over the counter product meant to effect heart function.

Which is why I'm trying to keep her going with food only.

But, I am sure there are natural meds out there that are safe and do help the heart. I just haven't gotten the guts up to try them. I would trust any brand Liz recommends more than anything else.

As long as she's not breathing really rapidly or overheating the cardiologist told me to let Snorkels exercise if she wants to, rest of she doesn't. he should be fine on walks - snorkels also runs (well she did before it got so hot) but she doesn't overdo.

the pulling is a training issue and there are several people who can help you with that. hard pulling can also cause windpipe damage so that's something you want to address. Since overexertion or pulling might effect his heart you might consider a prong collar but you should also try other techniques - used properly a prong collar will stop the pulling but you need to make sure you are using one properly.
 

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i would not give a dog hops.....nor would i give valerian....they are respiratory depressants...and that can put undo strain on the heart.

liz can better tell you what herbs or homeopathic remedy to supplement with, but a raw diet is not high in protein. it is just right in protein, about 20 - 22%.

i'd start very slowly and before i go on, i am so sorry to hear what has happened...you are such a good dog owner and have addressed every need....and then for this to happen...

but sometimes things do happen for a reason and i know that with heart disease of the beginnings of heart disease the one thing humans do or should do is to cut out all sugar, processed foods, etc.

the same goes with dogs.

the fewer the ingredients and the closer it looks to nature, the better it is for dogs.

right now, the idea is to change his diet nice and slowly so as not to stress him out.

i'd start with chicken backs, skin and excess fat removed so he can adapt....an enlarged heart is not a diseased heart....that's how you have to think right now..and you will be pleased when you make this change...it will help your baby and it will help you treat your dog....

diet is the key to almost everything...what medicine doesn't tell you is that the immune system begins in the gut. feeding a diet that supports the immune system helps the circulatory system and in turn, helps the heart. it's all a wonderful circle....

please ask lots of questions. we are here to help.
 

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I am so sorry to hear about your baby's heart condition. If he were my pup I would be feeding raw. One of the benefits is his body is not struggling to clean his body of the grains, fruits, and veg and other junk in conventional food. When he is fed the appropriate diet his body can use the nutrients and vitamins in the food to heal his own body instead of filtering unprocessable food products. Vaccines are something else I would avoid as they compromise the immune system and cause inflammation of various tissues and organs as well as present a toxicity your dog doesn't need. They also compromise his immune system for a time making him susceptible to other disease and bacteria.

I also looked at that heart med. There are some really good things in it but it is a very confusing combination of calming and stimulating.

"Hawthorn berries: Helps regulate heart rate, coronary flow and blood pressure. (this I would give)
Balsam Poplar: Helps stimulate circulation and supports blood flow.
Hops: Helps relax tension and anxiety while supporting circulation.
Valerian: Helps manage heart palpitations.
Wood Betony: Mild stimulant for the heart.
Lobelia: Helps relax and expand the respiratory system, helping oxygenated blood flow more freely. (* this is another I would give)
Mistletoe Root: Helps control tachycardia and relax spasms.
Motherwort: strengthening effect, especially on a weak heart. Antispasmodic and sedative effects promote relaxation rather than drowsiness
Pulsatilla: Sedative effect and for easing coughing (this is good if there is excessive coughing)

Glycerin based"

I am not saying these are necessarily harmful but I do shy away from multiple ingredient supplements and one of my biggest issues with multiples like this is my dog may need more hawthorne and less or no valerian, he may nee other vitamins that are not in this or not in a useful doseage. Your dog will have certain symptoms and there will be come herbs or remedies specific to his needs - with holistic medicine it is rarely one size fits all. I hope this helps a little. Vitamins A, E, C and B are also very good for heart issues. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"Cooking DOES change the food somewhat. But I willl never in a million years believe that it caused your dog's heart problem. He's a fricken vet, for Pete's sake. He should know better. What an idiot."

I'm inclined to agree. I have a strong feeling that his heart condition is probably genetic--his progressive cataracts, dysplasia are all inherited, and his yeast is really because he's predisposed to skin problems. My other baby, an energetic 8-year-old Lab, has no health issues whatsoever, and they both have been eating the same food (cooked meat) and the same supplements for years. Although every dog is different, I suppose.

I did feel my heart sink when the vet looked at me and said that the food I was feeding him caused it. But I'm still determined to try raw. How soon will I see results? I tried raw feeding a couple of years ago, but stopped because they would vomit yellow liquid (something like bile) in the mornings. I couldn't convince my alarmed husband to continue so we went back to cooked.

The vet also said that he could have a heart attack any time, whether or not his heart condition is in the advanced stage. Xellil, has Snorkels ever had a heart attack? What should I look out for? I really can't sleep thinking of this.

Thank you all for your help and concern. I will be back with updates.
 

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Yellow bile is called "hunger pukes" usually happens early am, 5-6am, or late evening depending on when you feed, they are just expelling the excess from getting into a feeding routine, and not getting fed.. it's really nothing to worry about at all, mine used to and i feed him at random any time of the day i feel i want to... :thumb: It can take some time, we still have allergy problems with mine, some of it could be environmental, and you should be prepared that they might not all magically go away, Raw feeding isn't a silver bullet, but it is a hell of a lot better than many other things! I'm not sure of heart conditions or anything like that so i won't pretend to know, but i wish you and your pup the best!

ETA: to stave off hunger pukes (green bile) just feed a bit here and there, feed 2-3 oz before bedtime just to keep something digesting on the tummy, raw food breaksdown and digests so much faster than kibble and carbs, and even cooked proteins. when we first switched over when mine was about 6 months old, we had hunger pukes every morning... i just fed a bit to him each night as a bedtime treat. eventually when his system got used to it we were done with them, i haven't seen one for over 9 months now.
 
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Like Tobi said hunger pukes are normal and nothing to be concerned about. changing the feeding routine around so they don't know when to expect food will help, as anticipation causes stomach juices to start up and on an empty stomach they will throw up.

Your vet sounds like a total alarmist. Does he even KNOW what kind of heart condition your dog has yet? I don't think so because you don't have the ECG.

IF your dog has cardiomyopathy then yes, he can have a sudden heart attack. It is more prevalent in certain breeds. I have a breed of dog that is prone to it and you are right, that's genetic due to inbreeding. Cocker Spaniels are another breed that has a predisposition.

But you can't get all worried about that until you know for sure - does he have it, if so how advanced, etc etc.

I think raw food should help the heart in that case, and you can supplement with l-carnitine if you want. I add nothing to my dog's diet and I trust the food itself to do its work.

If your dog has mitral valve disease, I think the chances are much less likely that he will have a sudden heart attack. That's a more progressive disease.

When they found Snorkels enlarged heart, I reacted very badly. I thought she was going to keel over dead any minute. I gave her all the very strong drugs they prescribed that were actually hurting her rather than helping her due to side effects. I was a totall basket case.

If you can afford it, I would make an appt. with a cardiologist. I have found that regular vets really haven't been that much help to us. The vet that gave Snorkels the ECG was the worst - just enough knowledge to be dangerous and do more damage to her AND scare me half to death.

Even with cardiomyopathy, it is not a death sentence. The dogs I know of that have had sudden heart attacks have been undiagnosed. Because there are often no outward symptoms, unless like me and you there is an xray for another reason the large heart goes unnoticed.

Of course ANY heart disease is not good. I am very sad for my dog that she has it, especially since I believe it was caused by lack of dental care through the years and was easily avoided. i try not to dwell on her illness, and do what i can to make her as healthy as possible. You are still in the shock stage and you don't really know exactly what's wrong yet. So it will get better.

Now here is information on cardiomyopathy. But don't get all freaked out until you know for sure.
Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in Dogs | petMD
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hello everyone. Things have been stressful since I last posted. My dog had an ECG done, and that day, the vet who interprets the ECG for cardiac cases wasn't around. To make things short, it took me a couple of weeks before I was able to hunt him down, because he was always absent, or unavailable. The other vets couldn't tell me anything conclusive about the ECG since they don't handle cardiac cases. When I did manage to talk to the absentee vet, suffice to say that he wasn't able to explain the results satisfactorily to me either. He said that he suspected it was DCM more than anything else, but he couldn't be entirely sure. And that he prescribes basically the same program for DCM patients and all the other cardiac cases: steady doses of furosemide and benazepril, to be continued for life. So, the vet said, it doesn't matter if my dog has mitral valve or DCM, he will still be prescribed the same thing.

I switched him to the raw diet, and he has been on it for around three weeks now. He suddenly got plump in the first week of the diet, and his fur grew really thick. We noticed that he generally took to it well. I started to exercise him again, for short periods, taking care not to tire him out. He takes short walks with rest stops every few meters. Since the ECG, I have not given him furosemide and benazepril, because I didn't want to continue the meds without a proper diagnosis. So, he's gone three-four weeks without them. The vet kept telling me that it's important to keep giving the drugs--he says that once you put a dog on that program, you shouldn't stop it. But I didn't want to dose him on these heart meds without knowing exactly what's wrong!

Today, we got quite a scare. In the late afternoon, he began throwing up, panting very fast, and drooling excessively. He was trembling and his limbs kept giving way under him until he couldn't stand. He had this terrified look in his eyes and couldn't get up or move; he peed on himself where he sat. I immediately took him to the nearest vet (a small clinic) and he was hooked up on IV and given something to inhibit vomiting. He had a high temp, but they cooled him with ice packs and it did go down. I had to leave him for observation, and when I left a while ago, he was himself again, albeit panting heavily. The vet says it might be heat stroke. Anyway, the labored breathing is still burdening his heart.

I can't find a veterinary cardiologist to really look at his case. I was thinking of submitting his ECG results to one of those internet vet sites; do you think they could help me?
 

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Where are you located? You don't have to post up location publicly but send me a pm and I'll try and help you.

I'm sorry your boy isn't feeling well but glad to hear he's doing better already!
 

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If you're looking for any supplements COQ10, HQII, and taurine help the heart.
 

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So sorry to hear. Our 11 year old Ridgeback Tyler has a grade 3 heart murmur. He was diagnosed last Christmas after we came home and found him on the kitchen floor. He looked like he'd had a stroke and couldn't get up or walk for a time. We got him to the vet, who diagnosed heart failure and prescribed Vetmedin and Frusemide. We were also told he would need to be on these for the rest of his life. He's doing really well on his medication and since changing him to a raw diet, he's doing even better. I do give various supplements to help with the arthritis and my homeopathic vet said he would not change Tyler's meds as conventional meds is the best thing for heart failure. He also has arthritis in his back legs, so walking can be difficult for him. I give him for 3 or 4 short walks a day which he's always keen to do,to keep him moving and he loves life. The vet didn't think he'd be here for long, but he's living life to the max, especially since changing his diet.
I hope you can get a proper diagnoses, and get your baby back to a good quality of life. Thinking of you.

Tracy
xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the good wishes. My boy just had another ECG and the vet will call us with the interpretation on Friday. A different vet who attended to him yesterday said it might have been heat stroke or something related to his enlarged heart. They did bloodwork, checked calcium, potassium, and sodium levels, liver and kidney. Everything is normal. It's apparent to me that the vets at this vet hospital I take him to are really trained in general practice and emergency cases, and cannot finely handle a cardiac case. I don't live in the US, and so far, I haven't found any veterinary cardiologists. I'm thinking of getting an online diagnosis from a vet site by sending his ECG results.
It has been a little humid in our area lately. I plan to shave him to the skin, since these days, he easily gets overheated. Was it heat stroke or a heart attack? I'm so scared thinking it will happen again.
 
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