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Heart Disease (general)

Heart Disease

Herbal treatments for cats and dogs to relieve symptoms related to heart failure, also known as canine and feline congestive heart failure (CHF).

The heart is at the center of the cardiovascular system providing nutritional support to the cardiovascular system and other organs including the liver, kidneys, and digestive system, supporting optimal cardiac function, muscle cell healing and regeneration.

Congestive heart failure in dogs and cats is a serious problem that especially affects older animals.  Heart disease should not be confused with heart failure. Heart disease is the underlying physical problem. Heart failure is the consequence of heart disease. Although congestive heart failure is not curable, early detection and herbal treatments can greatly improve your pet’s quality of life.

Congestive heart failure is a heart condition that affects both cats and dogs of any age or breed. In congestive heart failure, the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood through to the body and often leads to an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, chest and abdominal cavity. It results from the condition of severe heart disease or a genetic malformation of the heart muscle. 

Unlike heart attacks in people, heart failure rarely results in the heart stopping to function suddenly. Congestive heart failure in dogs and cats is a relatively slow and progressive process with the heart condition worsening over time.

Heart disease affects almost every part of the body. When a dog or cat has heart disease, certain parts of the heart cease to function properly. As a result, other parts of the heart have to work extra hard to compensate for improper function. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of a pet’s body.

Because the heart is not pumping effectively, blood may back up in the heart, lungs, or other major organs. Blood vessels constrict and blood pressure builds. As a result, fluid may leak out of the blood vessels (especially blood vessels of the lungs and liver), causing congestion of the lungs, or fluid accumulation in the abdomen and/or other tissues. This condition is called congestive heart failure.

The symptoms associated with congestive heart failure vary depending upon the type of the underlying heart disease, and sometimes animals with heart problems show different symptoms.

However, there are specific symptoms that are common to many different forms of heart disease and the symptoms can be considered warning signs. If your dog or cat is displaying any of the following symptoms, be sure to consult your veterinarian immediately and have your pet undergo a medical examination:

Unproductive coughing, especially during the night or first thing in the morning

Difficulty breathing; increased panting and puffing

Shortness of breath leading to breathing difficulties

Weakness

General fatigue and lethargy

Abdominal distension

Swollen, puffy legs

Bluish discoloration on lips and mouth

Fainting

Exercise intolerance

Appetite and weight loss

Fainting

Distended abdomen

Gray or bluish gums

Dogs and cats suffering from heart failure may stand with their front legs spread wide apart and their necks lowered and extended to let more air into the lungs.

If the right side of the heart is affected, your pet will have a swollen abdomen due to a fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity, caused by a backup of blood within the abdominal vessels.

All these signs and symptoms start off subtly and worsen gradually as the heart disease progresses and failure begins.

There are two broad categories of heart disease - acquired heart diseases and congenital heart diseases:

Acquired Heart Diseases

Acquired heart diseases are those that a pet acquires over its lifetime, due to normal wear and tear, bacterial infections, injury, etc. Acquired heart diseases are quite prevalent and amount to about ninety-five percent of all cases of canine and feline heart disease.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart diseases result from a birth defect of the heart. This type of heart diseases is rare and only accounts for about five percent of all canine and feline heart diseases.

Common congenital heart diseases include dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), atrial septal defect (hole in the heart), and mitral dysplasia (leaky mitral valve).

Many things can cause acquired heart diseases in dogs and cats. The most common causes are:

Bacterial Infections

Bacteria from the mouth, due to diseased teeth and gums, enter the blood stream and attach to the heart valves, causing inflammation in the lining of the heart or in the valves, resulting in initial mechanical obstruction and possibly damaging to the valves themselves. It is important to regularly brush your pet’s teeth to prevent dental problems that may eventually lead to heart disease.

Heartworms

Heartworms can mechanically block the valves, and if a dog or cat is heavily infested, the heartworms can clog an entire heart chamber.

Parvovirus

The parvovirus often infects the heart muscles, and the resulting death of the heart muscle cells can sometimes cause acute heart failure in dogs and cats.

Hormones

Hormones, especially of the thyroid, also affect heart function and performance. For example, a dog or cat with hypothyroidism usually has a slower than normal heart rate.

Nutritional Deficiencies

A lack of Vitamin E or selenium is known to cause damage to the heart muscles.

Herbal Remedies:

Herbal remedies can be used as stand alone therapies or as adjunctive addition to conventional therapies, depending on the health and wellness of your animal. Herbal remedies have been used for millennia as a cardio tonic, to improve the heart and circulatory systems, including healthy circulation and strong blood vessels, to support healthy blood pressure, and for their benefits to the heart, circulatory and nervous systems.

Kick Start My Heart – (learn more) is used as a cardio tonic to improve the heart and circulatory systems, to strengthen heart muscles, to reduce the risk of heart disease by maintaining heart health, to support muscle and cell healing for all parts of the body including the brain, to protect cell walls and to support strong blood vessels, to support the strength of veins and arteries and as a cognitive tonic to stimulate alpha brain waves, to promote healthy brain function and for its benefits to the heart, circulatory and nervous systems.

That’s A Nice Looking Bone – (learn more) used holistically for 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, and to support veins and arteries and to help increase vascular elasticity.

Shake Ur Groove Thing – (learn more) promotes healthy bowel function and purification, gentle parasitic detoxification and body clarification, used for cramping, pain, constipation, gas and bloating, supports correct balance of intestinal flora and helps calms the digestive system, for anal fissures, fistulas, hemorrhoids, food allergies and hypersensitivities, as a general skin support, and provides a healthy solution for waste and toxin removal, includingpesticides, environmental toxins, chemicals related to flea and tick products and drugs regimens such as NSAID’s and synthetic glucosteriods and corticosteroids.

There are a number of things that you can do to support heart health in your pet and these include:

Feed your pet high quality commercial food or all an natural diet that contains the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients

Encourage moderate exercise and make sure that you do not over-exercise your pet

Maintain a healthy weight in your pet – overweight and obese cats and dogs are more at risk of heart disease

Always provide fresh, clean water

Incorporate an immune booster to your pet’s treatment plan to boost their immune system

Make sure that your pet is treated for heartworm infection

Visit your vet regularly for routine check ups

Reduce stress and anxiety in your pet

Related Products:

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – (learn more) provides nutrients that reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of coronary cardiac heart and coronary disease, removes fat from arterial walls, for arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis; supports cardiac and circulatory function, supports the strength of veins, arteries and healthy blood circulation to the brain, balances blood sugar levels, for diabetes, for hypertension, combats degenerative diseases including arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis, for Heart Disease, Congestive Heart Disease (CHD), Cardiomyopathy, Valvular Heart Disease, Endocardiosis, Ischemic Heart Disease and Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Yelp for Kelp - (learn more) provides critical trace nutrient support for the endocrine system, to energize the body, for building and toning enzymes, tissues, hormones and bones, for enhancing natural cleansing and detoxification, for anemia, as an osteoporosis preventative, to promote immunity and for metabolic disorders, including the thyroid gland and other glands and tissues that affect the thyroid, for thyroid disorders, to cleanse the lymphatic system, to maintain healthy levels of TSH, T3 and T4, and for metabolic disorders.

Conventional Remedies:

The diagnosis of congestive heart failure is based on the symptoms present, thorough physical examination and review of your pet’s medical history. Additional diagnostic tests such as blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound of the chest, heartworm test, fluid analysis and ECG (electrocardiogram) may be performed to rule out any other conditions and confirm the diagnosis of congestive heart failure.

Treatment for congestive heart failure involves various procedures and medications to help the heart pump more effectively. In more severe cases, certain procedures such as tapping or thoracentesis are performed to remove excess fluid from the chest as well as oxygen supplementation and surgery may be required.

Medications such as diuretics, ACE enzyme inhibitors, a digitalis-type drug, low-sodium diet with supplements and drugs to prevent heartworm infection will be prescribed. Your vet may also recommend a special diet to reduce sodium (salt) intake to control fluid retention. Although congestive heart failure cannot be cured, with proper treatment and management, your pet can continue to live a longer life.

There is a simple blood test called Cardio pet proBNP that measures the circulating levels of NTproBNP (B-type Natriuretic Peptide) in the blood. BNP is a peptide hormone released by the heart muscle (myocardium) when it is overly stretched, an indication that the heart is working beyond its capacity. If this peptide hormone is detected circulating in the dog's blood, it means that the dog's heart is overworked and heart disease may be imminent. This Cardio pet proBNP blood test is simple to do.

If you know that your dog is predisposed to heart disease (e.g. because of his breed) or if you have an older dog and you want to make sure that his heart is healthy, ask your vet about this test.

The underlying heart disease per se is rarely curable. However, there are treatments for heart failure to help dogs extend their lives and hopefully improve their life quality.

Success of treatment congestive heart failure in dogs depends on such factors as:

The underlying heart disease

The severity and progression of the disease

The age and general health condition of the dog

 

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