Cardiac diseases in dogs | Royal Canin Club Malaysia

Cardiac diseases in dogs

Dogs with Hearty Diseases and Their Specific Set of Nutrition Required    

What do we know about heart diseases in dogs?     
Among the many, the most commonly seen heart abnormality in dogs is Chronic Valvular disease. This is a type of acquired heart disease (which is not a condition the dog is born with). The heart contains valves which are key in ensuring blood is efficiently and adequately pumped in the right direction to the rest of the body, and in this condition the valves deteriorate and become stiff, allowing blood to flow backwards as the heart functions. Dilated cardiomyopathy is probably the second most common heart abnormality seen in dogs where the heart muscle thins out, dilates, and reduces its ability to contract efficiently to circulate blood.     

Both these conditions and in fact many other abnormalities in dogs leads to one common condition called Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) at the end. This is where the dog is no longer able to efficiently pump oxygenated blood to the rest of the body and the compensatory mechanism to this deteriorating condition fails which could eventually result in death of the patient. It is worth noting that nearly one-third of dogs over the age of 10 have some level of heart or heart associated disease, and this is seen more in small breed dogs compared to medium to large breed dogs.    

How can I determine the right set of nutrition for my dog with a heart disease?    
Firstly, ensure you are working closely with your veterinarian to determine what, if any, other medical conditions might be present in your dog. Examples of these other conditions are chronic kidney disease, obesity, and hypothyroidism. For heart failure patients in particular, there are some key nutritional factors to consider. Congestive Heart Failure is associated with retention of sodium, chloride, and water, making the salt (sodium chloride) content of the dog’s food very important in the disease management. 

The association tells us that, the amount of sodium in the dog’s diet is to be controlled-restricted to a certain extend to help manage this condition. However, the amount of sodium restriction can vary depending on the stage of the heart disease. Besides sodium, there are many other nutrients may benefit the patient from being restricted such as Phosphorus and some nutrients benefitted from being provided in addition such as Potassium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Here is where your veterinarian’s advice comes in again, where he/she will help you determine the most appropriate nutrient profile at each stage of your dog’s heart disease progression.