Jeff Feinman VMD, CVH — Weston, Connecticut — Call: 203.222.7979
Over 75 articles on why your pet might be sick, written by qualified vet and leading veterinarians including homeopath Dr Jeff Feinman.
In these accessible and authoritative articles on pet illness, Dr. Jeff and guest writers cover important issues including:
Pet Allergies & Auto-Immune Diseases • Pet Cancer & End of Life Care • Cat & Dog Metabolic & Heart Diseases • Pet Arthritis & Bone Diseases • Animal Gastrointestinal Diseases • Pets Infectious Diseases • Brain and Nerve Diseases
Although general recommendations follow well-established guidelines developed to meet metabolic requirements for normal health, there is little information regarding altered requirements in animals that are ill. Consequently, recommendations for animals have been derived empirically from studies completed in humans, most work having been done in patients with end stage cirrhosis or liver failure complicated by hepatic encephalopathy. This is problematic because most veterinary patients with liver disease are not in hepatic failure and do not suffer from hepatic encephalopathy. Iatrogenic malnutrition can develop in patients when protein-restricted diets are inappropriately recommended. Insufficient energy intake and negative nitrogen balance can complicate a patient’s condition, impairing tissue regeneration and recovery from disease. This paper reviews strategies that can be used to individualize nutritional management in small companion animals with hepatobiliary disease. Consideration is given to both the known and controversial issues regarding energy requirements, dietary energy distribution, vitamin and micronutrient supple- mentation, the special requirements of the cat with hepatic lipidosis, as well as strategies effective for palliation of hepatic encephalopathy. J. Nutr. 128: 2733S–2746S, 1998.
The heart, blood and blood vessels make up the system that supplies the body's tissues and organs with oxygen and nutrients.
Oxygen-depleted blood comes from all parts of the body to the chambers on the right side of the heart. The blood is then pumped through the lungs, where oxygen is added to it.
Oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs to the left side of the heart and is pumped out, delivering oxygen to all the body's tissues.
There are two types of heart disease: congenital and acquired. Congenital heart disease is present at birth and is rare. Acquired heart disease develops over time, usually beginning during middle-age and affective many older dogs.
The most prevalent type of acquired heart disease, Chronic Valvular Disease (CVD), is also known as mitral regurgitation, mitral valve disease and valvular insufficiency, among other names. In CVD, the heart valves gradually lose the ability to close effectively, which causes abnormalities in blood flow.
The second most common kind of acquired canine heart disease, Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) , caused the muscular walls, of the heart to become thin and weak, and the chambers to dilate.
Both CVD and DCM result in the same serious condition which is called heart failure .
Heart failure occurs when the heart cannon pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.
Because the heart is not pumping effectively, blood may back up in the heart, lungs, or other organs. Blood vessels constrict and blood pressure increases. As a result, fluid may leak out of the vessels especially of the lungs and liver and cause congestion of the lungs, or fluid accumulation in the abdomen and other tissues, or both.
The early signs of heart failure are hard to detect. A decrease in activity or coughing during periods of exercise or excitation are both early signs of heart failure, but owners may consider these normal signs of aging. It is difficult to tell without a thorough examination. As heart failure progresses, however, these early signs become more severe. In addition, your dog may develop other signs such as rapid breathing, abdominal swelling and weight loss.
Heart disease can develop in any breed of dog or cat. However, some breeds are more susceptible to certain types of disease. As a rule, breeds such as Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Chihuahuas, and Lhasa Apsos have a greater incidence of Chronic Valvular Disease , while larger breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes and Boxers are more prone to Dilated Cardiomyopathy . However, English Cocker Spaniels are also susceptible to Dilated Cardiomyopathy .
First, you'll be asked to provide background information about your animal, along with your observations about any problems you've noticed. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination:
A number of procedures may then be recommended by your veterinarian to evaluate your dog and determine the best treatment. These can include:
Yes. Although there is no cure for heart failure, new treatments are helping dogs enjoy longer life with better quality. Success of treatment depends on such factors as:
A complete evaluation of your pet sill help your veterinarian determine what medications, dietary changes, or exercise restrictions are necessary. Periodic examinations will enable your veterinarian to modify your pet's medication as needed. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend a consultation or referral to a veterinary cardiology specialist.
As in many other diseases, early detection of heart failure provides the best chance for successful treatment. If you follow your veterinarian's treatment recommendations, your pet can live a longer more comfortable life.
The signs of heart failure include the following:
Although the signs of heart disease may appear mild at first, and may be mistaken for signs of aging, heart failure is a serious, progressive problem and can be life-threatening. Not all signs may be present at the same time. Some signs may also be cause by other serious conditions.
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