Valve disease is common in dogs, particularly as they get older, and is the commonest cause of heart murmurs.
In some breeds, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for example, 50% of dogs over 5 years of age have a detectable murmur, and this rises to almost 100% in those who are 10 years and older.
In the early stages, there is often little to see.
Later on however, as the condition progresses, the circulation becomes increasingly affected, resulting in a lack of oxygenated blood flowing through the lungs, kidneys, liver, brain and other parts of the body.
Signs that this is occurring typically include one or more of the following:
- a persistent cough
- excessive panting
- An unwillingness to exercise
- tiring quickly
- general slowing down
- mental dullness
- changes in activity and behaviour
After a thorough physical examination and any appropriate investigations, which can include an ECG, X-Rays, Ultrasound and blood pressure measurement, medication is typically prescribed to support the heart and ease the ill-effects of congestive failure.
After this regular monitoring should be carried out.
Stage 1 - No Signs
- Feed Vince the Vet Raw to provide the perfect nutritional foundation for supporting heart health (the high quality meat and offal used is rich in Taurine).
- Give 2-3 drops of Heart Support 3 times daily to help maintain cardiac function.
- Add Vitality to the diet to protect heart muscle against the ill-effect of impaired blood flow (oxidative stress) and aid tissue regeneration and repair.
- Avoid non-organic fruits / vegetables and pet foods which include these (kibble, tinned and raw), as the pesticide residues present in most of these can significantly harm health.
Stage 2 - Mild Signs
A slight or intermittent cough.
Panting more than usual after light exercise or minimal activity.
Tiring quicker than normal.
In addition to Stage 1 support:
- Give a high quality salmon oil (the Grizzly brand is exceptional) to provide a rich supply of omega 3 fatty acids which are important for healthy heart cells and blood vessels.
- Add Immunity to the diet to help the body prevent infections in the lungs, as they become more congested.
- Give 2-3 drops of Kidney Support 3 times daily (at the same time as Heart Support is fine) to help maintain renal function which often suffers as heart disease worsens.
Stage 3 - Severe Signs
A severe or constant cough.
Breathless after normal activities or at rest.
Exhausted most of the time.
Mentally dull or depressed.
In addition to Stage 1 and 2 support:
- Add pure, organic virgin coconut oil to the diet to aid cognitive function and improve awareness.
- Give 2-3 drops of Liver Support 3 times daily to aid hepatic function and help the body cope with the prescribed drugs.
Natural support using a combination of dietary changes, supplements and remedies are an aid to maximising well-being and quality of life. It is not a substitute for appropriate veterinary investigations and care where necessary.
If you are unsure about how to best help your pet naturally, use our contact form to ask for expert advice.