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February Heart Health Month for Pets-Part II of 12 Months of Solutions for Dogs & Cats

Welcome to our February 2016 Newsletter Edition On HEART HEALTH IN PETS!

Natura Pet Organics Heart Healthy supplements for dogs and cats cardiac supplements for dogs and cats

Since February is a month to celebrate happy hearts and lives full of love, it's appropriate that February's newsletter focuses on supporting heart health in the pets we love, as part II of our 12 Months of Solutions Series.

The heart is at the center of your dog and cat’s cardiovascular system and is the epicenter that fuels the body. The heart requires proper nutrition to support healthy, balanced function but also due to the fact that it nutritionally supports a number of related organs, including the liver, kidneys, and immune and digestive systems.

Proper nutrition also helps support optimal cardiac function and muscle cell healing and regeneration, which is important over your pet's lifetime, but becomes more important for senior and convalescing pets, pets with genetic heart dysfunction or pets who have been diagnosed with a heart condition.

Much is discussed about the importance of nutrition, but many pet parents struggle to understand how they can deliver the right nutrition in the correct ratios to comprehensively nourish all body systems. Generally, a diet which contains a high quality protein (which tends to preclude meat by products and inferior proteins found in much of dry kibble), antioxidants to help scavenge free radicals (such as grape seed extract found in I Want Liquid Immunity)fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6 such as found in Body Bliss); amino acids (choline, L-carnitine and taurine such as found in Super Model in a Bottle), and B vitamins (known as B Complex vitamins, such as found in Baby Love Bits) all of which combine to help build heart health over your pet's lifetime but also may act as disease preventatives for related organs and body functions. 

Because the heart and liver are intimately linked, it also suggested to add in a liver and kidney supplement such as artichoke (such as found in Love Your Liver) since heart heart directly impacts liver and kidney health and function. 

Ultimately, the best solution is a single product that contains species appropriate levels of nutrients, proteins, omegas, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and macro and micro minerals and nutrients. Please check back in our March newsletter, when we will be VERY excited to announce a product that meets/exceeds all daily recommended allowances in all categories of health, whether you feed raw, home cooked or a commercial diet. Our pet meal balancer will have you and your pet covered nutritionally from A-Z!!!

When your dog or cat has heart disease, it causes certain parts of the heart to dysfunction and fail to work properly. The heart stops pumping blood efficiently to all parts of the body, and as a result, blood backs up in the heart, lungs and organs. A consequence of that back up is that is leads blood vessels constrict as well as blood pressure to build, causing fluid to leak out of blood vessels. That fluid then accumulates in the lungs, abdomen and tissue, and usually leads to congestive heart failure. 

To be clear, heart disease does not cause heart failure, but rather, it is the underlying condition that causes it. Heart failure is the result of heart disease. 

For dogs and cats struggling with a diagnosed heart condition or a genetic form of heart dysfunction, adding in a heart healthy adaptogen herb may go a long way to add quality of life, support critical heart, vein and capillary functions, as well as may help limit cardiovascular damage experienced over a lifetime, especially in cases of genetic defects.

Horsetail (from a plant and not from a real horse tail) is valuable adaptogenic herb (found in Hepa Protect) to add into your pet's diet, regardless whether the condition is genetic of a result of conditional factors.

What exactly is an adaptogen? Adaptogens are highly specialized plants which contain natural plant chemicals that perform critical and unique functions not shared by other plants Adaptogens have the ability to identify dysfunction in the animal body and then work nutritionally to bridge the deficiencies or gaps. To make it simple, adaptogens help carry out a read, repair and restore function in the body. 

Adaptogens are greatly prized for their ability to read all types of irregularity, to help encourage the body to repair the problem nutritionally, and then further, to help restore balance in all body systems. Only adaptogens are tasked with these unique features, and for pet parents, adaptogens may help deliver peace of mind because they also help address the unknown; that is, unknown diseases and conditions in your pet's body. And for any pet struggling with heart related conditions, adaptogens are valuable because they help assess the needs of the body as a whole, assisting areas of deficiency and then nudging all body systems toward balance.

Heart disease is common to both dogs and cats, but it is especially seen in older dogs and cats. However, it's important to know that dogs and cats experience different types of heart disease. 

For dogs, the most common heart conditions include:

Dysplasia (valve malformation)

Stenosis (narrowing valves)

Septal defect (abnormal opening in the heart)

Patent ductus arteriosus (blood vessel that does not form completely during development)

Mitral insufficiency (leaky valves)

Heart failure (heart muscles that stop working).

Unlike humans, heart diseases like arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), myocardial infraction (heart attacks) as well as plague formation are uncommon in dogs. 

In cats, the most common heart conditions include:

Hyperthrophic cardiomyopathy (thickening of heart muscles)

Heart worm infestations

Heart failure.

For cats, rare heart conditions are related to restrictive cardiomyopathy (stiffening of the heart walls) and dilative cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart and heart chambers.) 

As a pet parent, you can be vigilant in looking for common symptoms related to heart problems/heart disease, including:

Fatigue

Lethargy

Muscle weakness

Lack of interest in walking, running and playing

Chronic cough (more persistent at night, in the morning and during physical activity)

Shortness of breath

Difficulty breathing

Rapid breathing

Heart murmur

Gums that are blue in appearance

Lack of appetite (known as cardiac cachexia)

Weight loss

Bloated abdomen (related to fluid build up)

Sudden paralysis of hind legs (not previously seen and/or repeated)

Consistent veterinarian care and check ups are vital to maintaining overall health and wellness in your fur babies. But as a pet parent, there are simple things you can do daily to help build on a lifetime of wellness, including: 

Feed your pet high quality, home cooked, raw or premium all natural diet that contains the proper ratio of proteins, essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients for daily health and for any known conditions. 

Provide clean, filtered water daily. Most tap water contains fluoride, pesticides and other chemicals that create toxic burdens in our pets.  

Encourage moderate, regular exercise to keep your dog and cat active which also helps stimulate the lymphatic system and helps encourage detoxification.

Limit treats and restrict table scraps as well as reduce sodium in the diet.   

Maintain a healthy weight in your pet. Overweight and obese dogs and cats are at a greater risk of heart disease, just like people.  

Limit toxin exposure to smoke and chemicals in your house found in candles, dryer sheets, candles, room fresheners, laundry detergents and chemical cleaners.  

Make and take time to show love and praise to your dog and cat and reduce stress and anxiety in your pet's daily routine. 

Add an immune boosting/balancing to your pet's diet to encourage immune health. 

Consider adding an adaptogenic herb, which helps identify dysfunction in body systems and helps nutritionally bridge health deficiencies. 

Make sure that your pet is treated for heart worm infection. 

Check and clean your pet's teeth regularly, as dental health is tied to cardiovascular, digestive and immune health.  

Visit your vet regularly for routine checkups. 

In holistic, veterinarian medicine and traditional medical systems, herbs and supplements are used as adjunctive therapies to help address varying forms of heart disease and dysfunction. Some herbs are used as potential heart disease preventatives, while others are used more prominently once heart disease has been diagnosed. 

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets)

Herbal remedies have been used for millennia as a cardio tonic for all types of heart disease, because many herbs are “tonic” in nature, meaning that they may help tone and balance the cardiovascular, circulatory and nervous systems; may nutritionally help strengthen and support healthy heart function, including heart muscles, heart valves, cell walls, veins and arterial function; adaptogenic herbs may help identify heart dysfunction and work to nutritionally address the deficiency toward balance; may help promote cell healing; may help support healthy blood pressure; may help protect cell walls and may help improve healthy circulation.

Kick Start My Heart – (learn more)  is used holistically as a cardio tonic to help address symptoms related to all types of Heart Disease once diagnosed, including Cardiomyopathy, Valvular Heart Disease, Congestive Heart Disease; may help to improve the heart and circulatory systems by strengthening heart muscles and blood flow throughout the body; may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by maintaining heart health, including muscle and cell healing and support of cell walls and arterial blood pressure, for all parts of the body including the brain; may help to protect cell walls and to support strong blood vessels; may help to support the strength of veins and arteries and as a cognitive tonic; may help to stimulate alpha brain waves, critical to heart function; and for its overall toning effects on the heart, circulatory and nervous systems. 

That’s A Nice Looking Bone – (learn more) used holistically to help address all types of Heart Disease (Cardiomyopathy, Valvular Heart Disease, Congestive Heart Disease), for all types of arthritis, osteoporosis, Degenerative Joint Disease and Intervertebral Disk Disease; for its genistein and daidzein isoflavone content which has a stimulatory effect on osteoblastic bone formation and an inhibitory effect on osteoclastic bone resorption and for bone mineral density, thereby increasing bone mass, for its ability to help restore lost cartilage and to support veins and arteries and to help increase vascular elasticity.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart  (learn more) is used holistically as an adjunctive and preventative to heart disease, helping provide nutrients that reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of coronary cardiac heart and coronary disease; removes fat from arterial walls; may help combat degenerative diseases including arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis; helps support cardiac and circulatory function; helps support the strength of veins, arteries and healthy blood circulation to the brain; helps balance blood sugar levels, critical for pets with diabetes; for hypertension; used holistically to help address Heart Disease, Congestive Heart Disease (CHD), Cardiomyopathy, Valvular Heart Disease, Endocardiosis, Ischemic Heart Disease, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and as a stroke preventative.

Shake Ur Groove Thing – (learn more) promotes healthy bowel function, purification, gentle parasitic detoxification and body clarification; waste and toxin removal, including pesticides, environmental toxins found inside and outside the home, chemicals related to flea and tick products and drugs regimens such as NSAID’s and synthetic glucosteriods and corticosteroids; helps remove inorganic synthetic and derivative compounds from an animal’s cell walls to help reduce toxic load in the body; also used for cramping, pain, constipation, gas and bloating; helps support a correct balance of native intestinal flora and helps calms the digestive system; promotes immune balance and helps to limit inflammation, which is important in disease prevention; used holistically for anal fissures, fistulas, hemorrhoids, food allergies and hypersensitivities and as a general skin support. 

Conventional Remedies:

The diagnosis of heart disease is based on your pet’s symptoms, a thorough physical examination, a review of the medical history as well as may include x-rays, ultrasound and ECG (electrocardiogram) to determine the cause of heart disease.

If you suspect your pet has a heart problem, there is a simple blood test called the Cardiopet proBNP test, which may help determine if your pet's heart is stressed beyond capacity. The test can't diagnose specific forms of heart disease, and does not replace veterinarian care. including screening tools such as a physical examination and diagnostic tools such as thoracic radiographs, EKG (for arrhythmia evaluation specifically) and echocardiography may confirm a specific diagnosis.

Your vet may prescribe certain medications depending on the type of heart disease, cause and your pet’s overall health. Medications such as diuretics and vasodilators may be recommended  to help reduce fluid build up in the chest and lungs and increase blood flow and volume pumped, to help address rhythm abnormalities. 

A special diet and nutritional supplements may be recommended for your pet as part of a well rounded treatment plan.  

  

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