A moderate degree of Heart failure in dogs are fairly common, many dogs are forced to live with it just because of lack of awareness among pet owners. It is estimated that 10% of all dogs seen in primary care veterinary practices have some degree of heart failure.
How common is heart failure in dogs?
According to one estimate conducted by IDEXX laboratories, nearly 7.8 million dogs in the United States have heart disease. That means approximately 10% of all dogs in the United States have heart disease.
According to Dr. Bonagura, a professor of veterinary clinical sciences at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and also associated with AVMA "Nearly 60 percent of aged dogs are at risk for developing Congestive Heart Failure, which makes this an important condition for practitioners to effectively address,".
Despite these facts veterinarians as well as pet owners are unaware of how gross the situation is. It is not unusual for people to ask "Do dogs get heart attacks?".
Let's understand the disease
If you want to skip details and want to know only the steps to prevent heart diseases in dogs Click here.
What Causes Heart Diseases in Dogs?
Smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, eating too much fatty food, eating too much red meat are some of the caused of heart failure in case of human.
The main cause of heart failure in dogs is we human.
According to a recent study by FDA Grain free diet has raised the chances of heart disease or dilated cardiomyopathies in dogs. FDA issued warning to pet owners and veterinary professionals about reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. Grain-free potato food is considered most dangerous.
Dog food companies don't want to credit this fcact. They are saying that this study is inconclusive.
There are certain breed specificities with heart disease. Dog Breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers are more prone to heart diseases. These dogs are more prone to heart failure.
It has been observed by scientist that Vitamin D deficiency leads to congestive heart failure in dogs.
That's not all:
Amino Acid Deficiency
Studies show low levels of certain amino acids such as Taurine and l carnitine has been found in dogs with heart failure.
Dogs born in July are at greater risk of developing heart diseases later in their life. There is more dust particle in the air during this month.
There are other causes also such as genetic factors, anatomical problems, obesity, and age.
What are the symptoms of heart failure in dogs
Recognize these signs of heart disease in your dog early
A. Excercise intolerance, panting, and cough(all together)
B. Distended abdomen- in right-sided heart failure, Potbellied appearance.
C. Panting with short and frequent breathing is more pronounced with left-sided heart failure.
D. Rapid weight loss - In the span of a few weeks
E. Fainting- resembles seizures
Types of Heart Diseases in Dogs
There are two main types of heart diseases in case of dogs:
A. Those affecting valves- Lesser blood is pumped.
B. Weakening or Thickening of Heart muscles:
Dilated Cardiomyopathies comes under this.
Fluid accumulation in sac covering the heart.
Life of a Dog with Heart Disease
Coughing all the time, sometimes unable to walk, panting - These are some of the things that a dog with heart failure has to live with.
Life expectancy of a dog with heart failure
Thanks to modern day technology treatment of heart failure in dogs is now possible with medicines such as Cardio canine or Safe-heart, dogs with heart disease can live a bearable life. These modern day medicines are highly expensive.
So, Why not prevent it?
Steps to Prevent Heart Diseases in Dogs
If you have reached here by reading my article, you probably have got an idea to prevent heart disease in dogs.
Here are the steps to prevent heart disease in dogs:
a. Feed your dog a balanced diet. This means not only good commercial food but also add some fruits, raw vegetables in your dogs daily food. homemade raw food can also be given.
b. As your dog crosses the age of 7 years add a vitamin supplement containing L- Carnitine, and taurine. This will protect your dog's heart. There are many over the counter food supplements available such as Beaphar Top 10, Cardio Support. Many food companies such as Royal Canin has started blending taurine in their adult dog food. In my clinic, I prefer prescribing Intaspharma Zipvit syrup which contains both L-Carnitine and Taurine.
c. Get your dog's vitamin D serum level estimated by a qualified veterinarian. If it is low, your vet will prescribe a suitable drug. Recent studies show dogs with low vitamin D are at risk for cancer. Therefore, it is a good idea to give a food containing vitamin D in your dog's daily diet.
d. Prevent obesity- give ample exercise. Half day fasting once a week is good for an adult dog.
e. a regular health check-up