Canine Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

Last Modified on May 22, 2014

Congestive Heart Failure Treatments in Dogs

In both human beings and animals, the heart sends blood throughout the body and back in a process known as circulation, providing oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and organs so they can function properly. Congestive heart failure in dogs is a weakened heart's inability to pump blood effectively to meet the demands of your dog's body.

Causes of canine congestive heart failure can be hereditary, heartworm – parasites that lodge in the heart and cause massive interference, chronic valvular disease – which causes the heart valves to contact poorly and may even “flap” and affect cardiac function, and dilated cardiomyopathy- which is an enlargement of the heart ventricles and a thinning of the heart walls.

Because blood is no longer circulating properly or efficiently, blood becomes backed up around organs and increases the pressure on veins and arteries. The heart is divided into two halves, left and right, each with two sections, atrium and ventricle. Depending on which part of the heart is weakened can affect the symptoms. Fluid can leak into the lungs and cause coughing, or pulmonary edema which involves coughing up bubbly red fluid; and is symptomatic of left ventricle failure. Failure of the right ventricle will cause fluid to leak into the abdomen, sometimes the legs and chest, giving a swollen belly appearance. Because all organs of the body are affected, symptoms of congestive heart failure are usually lethargy, weakness, difficulty breathing or shallow breaths, heart murmur, rapid irregular pulse, and fainting may occur from stress or exhaustion.

Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

Treatment for canine congestive heart failure typically involves low-salt diets and keeping your dog stress free. On this page you can discuss and read what strategies and home cures people are using to help heal their dogs' hearts naturally. Let us know what you try for your dog's heart.

Additional Pages of Interest:
Heart Murmur Remedies

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YEA (2)

[YEA]  01/23/2012: Deborah from Chino Valley, Az: "My 12 lb. Pekingnese recently went through some very frightening and life-threatening health issues related to his heart. He is doing terrific now, however I want to share a bit about what symptoms were manifesting and how we've managed to stop them.

In September of 2011, our sweet dog Mocha began having something akin to night screams/seizures. In the middle of the night, normally between 1 - 3am, he would wake from sleep with a horrific scream, then go immediately into a seizure. In all of our years with him he had never shown anything like this. His seizure would then last 7 -8 minutes. It was a terrible scene to witness and watch him endure. It happened again a month later, and as we began the process of veterinary visits, tests, etc. and were coming up with no answers. The veterinarian said these were not epileptic seizures, but he did not know what they were or where they were coming from. From his model of medicine he only had Phenobarbital to offer as a means to get control of the seizures. Although we took the advice at the time, my family and I all felt this was still an undiagnosed condition and the Pheno would at best offer us some time to get things figured out. We had to bring these episodes to a halt as soon as possible as each episode seemed to erode his overall health. We were watching our beloved pup drift away from us with each episode.

As we began our research, I started online with researching 'dog screams'. Although the veterinarian said perhaps this was a dream, or anxiety, he didn't feel the dog was in pain at the time of his episodes. We wholeheartedly disagreed. Although Mocha may not have felt pain during the actual seizure, the scream occurred just before and was absolutely horrifying. It was CLEAR that he was in wrenching pain before falling into a seizure. I was amazed to find online assorted threads of pet owner conversations on the topic of dog screams... Most of which indeed were followed by seizure activity, involuntary defecation, etc. In almost each case, the dogs in question were small dog breeds, just like Mocha. Also in each case, the owner knew the dog had a diagnosed heart murmur, as we did with Mocha.

Following this thread, I started to research heart remedies for dogs. Some were specific to murmurs, others were more generalized and in each small dog case, there was also an issue with keeping blood sugar balanced. We began putting together a small grouping of supplements to put Mocha on based on the information we were finding online.

At the same time that we were doing this research, we were giving Mocha the Phenobarbital. He had a terrible time adapting to it. Aside from being basically unconscious 90 minutes after the dose for approximately 9 hours, he was starting to urinate excessively and also to pant exactly 90 minutes after each dose. Sometimes the panting was excessive and frightening. We brought all of these topics up to the veterinarian who said that small dogs tend to adapt the least to this medication, and that whatever adaptation was going to happen would happen within the first two weeks. We were a month into it at this point and becoming very concerned. In addition, it was not stopping entirely his concerning episodes. We had his blood tested to see if he was at 'therapeutic levels' of the Phenobarbital and he was not. The veterinarian wanted us to go up in dose, but our instincts told us 'no'. This dog was losing quality of life on the dose he was already on, and we felt certain that increasing his dose would decrease his life expectancy and quality of remaining life. We decided at that point to trust our instincts and begin tending specifically to his heart.

I am happy to report that since we began adding in his natural heart and blood sugar supports, there have been no screaming/seizure episodes (6 weeks now). This is SIGNIFICANT, as Mocha had gotten to the point where he was screaming/seizing several times per day before beginning his holistic treatment. We have also decreased his Phenobarbital very slowly and safely and this, also, has improved his overall health and vitality. At this point we know we are substantially below 'therapeutic levels' and that the medication is doing next to nothing for him. We are taking him off slowly simply to be safe and gentle with is system. He should be off it entirely over the next week.

I am sharing this information because I know there are others out there who may have dogs with heart murmurs, small dogs, screaming/seizure dogs and the like. I was amazed at how frequent this problem presents based on what I found online, and yet could find NONE of this information via veterinarians or veterinary sites. It all came from pet owners who have had to research and address the issues themselves based on what others were doing. Thank goodness for sites like this one... I truly have no idea what Mocha's future would have been without them.

As for what supplements we have found which address his issues:

Hearty Heart (liquid drops) from Pet Wellbeing: Dosage is determined by pet's weight. This product has been developed by holistic veterinarians and veterinary herbalists. It is absolutely fantastic and useful for dogs and cats. Our 14 year-old cat has Cardiomyopathy and this has helped him so very much as well. Can't recommend it highly enough.

L-Carnitine (liquid) from Pet's Choice Pharmaceuticals: An essential amino acid designed to assist both the heart and blood sugar levels. Very helpful in healing the heart after functional disturbances and preventing future problems. Especially recommended for small breeds. Dosage determined by pet's weight.

FortiFlora (powder) from Purina Veterinary Diets: Probiotic supplement with beneficial strains of good bacteria designed to balance the digestive system and strengthen immunity. Excellent for blood sugar issues, allergies, skin and coat issues, etc. Mocha has been on this for years, as he has a long history of highly reactive/allergic skin, itching, blood sugar issues, etc. As a 12 lb dog, we give Mocha half a packet twice per day with his meals.

Magnesium mixed with Vitamin C: Both of these nutrients are excellent for the heart and safe for dogs. We buy tablets and then powder them together in our mortar and pestle. This allows us to sprinkle them onto his food. Again because Mocha is small, he only get 2 pinches of this mixture once per day. The ratio of his Magnesium to Vitamin C is 2:1. The dose, ratio, form of the nutrient may be specific dog to dog but there is helpful information online about dosing them.

Ubiqinone (CoQ10): An important antioxidant which helps with energy and heart function. It is potent so again, read up on dosage for your pet or consult with a holistic veterinarian. For Mocha, he only takes 1 drop from a 30mg capsule. Any more than that is too much, but we notice a difference when he doesn't have it at all.

D-Ribose: This is a metabolic sugar which is found within the body, but can also be supplemented. It is excellent for the heart, for recovery of the heart and for energy production... Of of which Mocha needed. Because of his small size he only takes 200 - 300 mg day. This product can be found in most healthfood stores.

So there you are. I hope you find this information helpful if you are searching for help for your dog. Most important lessons we have learned from the experince are 1) trust your instincts and 2) do your homework. If something doesn't sound right to you in terms of diagnosis, treatment, etc. , or if you simply feel you have not gotten sufficient answers, trust your instincts. There is an abundance of information available on the web today and tho, yes, sometimes that can be misleading, when you read over and over from owners about what works/doesn't work, TRUST it. In our case we were not able to get any answers from the veterinary community (in person or online) and ALL of Mocha's help came from dog owners like you. And, do your homework... Research what is going on with your pet, what others are doing for the same issues, safe dosage amounts, etc. Take charge of what is going on, have confidence in yourself and your instincts and take one step at a time. Don't wait passively for answers and don't continue with anything that just feels wrong or is causing clear harm... Even if that information comes from the medical community. They, like us, are all still learning but sometimes the life of a patient (human or animal) can't wait and you must strike out on your own. Work closely with professionals when and how you can, but don't linger with anyone who isn't providing help or cooperating with your desire to work holistically. Put your pet and his/her life first.

Good luck to you and I hope some little puppy dog and his family out there can be helped just like we have been. We are tremendously grateful to have been steered by others to the help Mocha needed and are enjoying seeing our sweet pup return to us in every way.


Deborah, Mocha and family...."

01/24/2012: Timh from Louisville, Ky, Usa replies: "Deborah, thanks for this detailed and informative post; and congrats on Mocha's recovery. If I might add the importance of omega 3 fatty acids like Flax and Fish oils for health of every cell in prevention and recovery of illness."
01/27/2012: Deborah from Chino Valley, Az replies: "Thanks Tim, indeed. We did have Mocha on fish oil at different time periods... Sometimes he did well with it, other times not so much. We switched his diet to a more fish-rich diet (fresh cooked fish) and that seemed to do the trick. Flax oil makes him itch terribly so we avoid that in his case. But excellent advice to others who may be researching for their own pets."
02/03/2012: Ros from Tewantin, Qld, australia replies: "Hi Deb, My 15 yr old chihuahua is now on the journey of heart murmur. Thank you so much for your in depth sharing of what you did. It was so informative and I am inspired. Thanks!"
02/09/2012: Deborah from Chino Valley, Az replies: "My pleasure, Ros... Best wishes to you and your pup!"
02/23/2012: Kickdiver from Wilmington, Nc replies: "Thank you for the detailed info. I have a 12 year old Great Dane on various heart meds due to near Heart Failure and enlarged heart with atrial fib/dilated cardio myopathy. He's on Vetmed, Diltiazem, Benazepril and Digoxin, since our emergency visit at the Cardiology Clinic, where his heart beat was measured 250 bpm.... He is stabilized now, and I also give him Omega 3 fish oils, CQ10, and looking into carnitine and taurine, and I did come across the site for Hearty Heart, but it says NOT to give this natural remedy WHILE on heart meds.

But... How can I stop the heart meds, when they just now kicked in after 2 days of horrible heart racing and my poor dog being miserable? Can I trust the reviews on line? They all seem great , but... One never knows if they are just bloggers paid by the company... Anyhow.. I'm willing to give it a try, yet, I cannot take him off the heart meds right now... I'd rather give him half a dose of the Hearty Heart along WITH the meds and then slowly go down with the dosage..

Worst of all, I am supposed to move to the Middle East with my 3 beloved K9s in April, how in the world am I going to get my boy there in this condition? I cannot leave this companion behind, he's my kiddo! I know his heart situation is a serious thing, but apart from that he has NO health issues, all blood work was good and all organs perfectly intact, as a matter of fact, the Vets at the clinic told me that he was the healthiest and oldest Dane they have seen!!! (thanks to Raw Diet and NO vaccines, I guess... ) I do have a professional pet handling company hired, still... My holistic vet said St John's Word could help him as well. I have a few more weeks to see how he develops, in the interim, any input helps.. I'd love to give Hearty Heart a try, but.. There is NO way I can stop the meds right now... What to do??"

02/23/2012: Deborah from Chino Valley, Az replies: "Hi Kickdiver, thank you for your post. How great that your Great Dane is so healthy at the age of 12! You've obviously done so much to get him there.

I totally understand your concern about mixing the HH supplement with the heart meds. This is indeed a conundrum and I don't know the answer for you. This has to be an individual decision. I personally would not mix them as the HH is developed by holistic veterinarians and they so strongly advise against it.

I know in our situation, we had to make the difficult choice between medications vs. Supplements. It's so much easier when one can blend both and not make such a difficult and scary decision, but sometimes this is just not safe. So what we did was begin with supplements that did not have contraindications with the medication we used at the time. The HH came in toward the end of that supplement list, as we did everything else first to stabilize him supplement-wise. As Mocha grew more and more stable on the supplements, we gradually began moving him down on his medication dose AND began putting the HH in separate feedings from his medication. So breakfast/dinner had medication, lunch snack and evening snack (9pm) had HH. This worked for him but we were ever so careful. The medication he was on could not safely be stopped abruptly, so we had to wean him down on it while slowly adding in the supplements where we could. This took time, patience, faith and much care to get right but like for you, he is our 'kiddo' and we just wanted him better. However he was not on heart meds, he was on Phenobarbital and that is a big difference between your picture and mine. Had Mocha been on heart meds, I'm not sure if we would have gone forward with the HH in this way. Like you, we would have had to sit with the different choices in front of us and find the safest, best long-term plan for our pup.

So for now, since your pup is newly on all of these meds and just coming out of an acute situation you may want to continue as you are doing. Simply add safe supplements with no contraindications. If I were you, I would add the L-Carn as that has profoundly good impact on heart function and in general is very safe. Not sure the Taurine is a fit or a priority in your pup's case.

As for the HH, I recommended it because I use it for my pup and it works brilliantly. It is also safe for cats, and we gave it to our 14-year old cat who was having wobbly, at times screeching, seizures and who had previously been diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy. Since starting him on the HH, no wobbling, no screaming, no seizures. I don't work for the company, am not a paid blogger, etc. I'm a user and this product is the real deal in my experience. Is it the best fit for your sweet Dane? I don't know. But it was the fit for our Pekingese and tabby.

Seems the safest short-term approach would be to find the combination of supplements (and possibly meds) that work for your Dane and then move in whatever direction you can from there for a long-term plan. Most important is to a) stabilize acute symptoms and then b) find long-term solutions which often need to be at least partially natural so as to 'do no harm'. If some meds need to be part of that picture for your Dane going forward, so be it. Most important is to keep him healthy, happy and strong for the longest amount of time you can. We HAD to move our pup off of meds because they were doing more harm then good, far more so. With that, we still had to do it gradually to keep him safe. If the meds had been significantly helping with no serious side effects, I may have considered keeping him on them along with supplements but that was not what was happening.

So, you have a bit of a process in front of you but I know you will find the right solutions for him. Just please don't mix HH with meds if you have been outright cautioned against doing so by the product maker. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our sweet animal friends' lives, I know you agree."

06/11/2012: Marilyn from Pembroke Pines, Fl replies: "Yogi, is 1/2 st bernard 1/2 golden retriever, 9 yrs old. As a result of elective surgery gone bad he developed seizures which he is taking phenabarbital. 30 mg. 1 1/2 in pm. Helping. From onset of seizures causing anxiety vet told me he has enlarged heart. Beats so fast his chest beating with it. Dr. not familar with heart. Not taking meds for that. Afraid he will have heart attack!!! Comes to us when this starts to happen, drooling all over himself. Please help. Been to so many drs. Can't afford anymore."
06/18/2012: Nh Gardener from Sanbornton, Nh, Usa replies: "For Marilyn from Pembroke Pines, FL for dog Yogi--Please give him food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) in his food dampened with raw apple cider vinegar, starting with 1 tsp. DE once a day, increasing gradually to heaping tsp. 2 X/day. Also add gently melted coconut oil to his food, starting with 1 tsp. Once a day, increasing gradually to 2 or 3 tsps. 2 X/day. I've seen testimonials that seizures have decreased or disappeared with both these supplements. His heart racing may normalize with the ACV. Also give him 1 kelp tablet, crushed, in his food, said to strengthen heart. One site that sells DE has esp. Good human and pet testimonials. Check Coconut Research for seizure info. Bach Flower Remedies may help racing heart also. All good wishes for dear Yogi."
10/01/2012: Suji from Cochin, Kerala, India replies: "Katie from Newport, is there anyway to communicate with you directly by phone?

My dog has been diagnosed with weak heart beat and fluid retention. When we tried lasilactone he got too exhausted. I started him on homeopathy, he already gets magnesium, I have bought the l-carnitine from NOW and ubiquinol, scared to start and scared to not start, please I need your help and advise. He is 9 years old, spitz, has been on magnesium and enalapril 2.5 1/2 tab twice a day for over a year now. Please help."

10/04/2012: Suji from Kochi, India replies: "Katie from Northport, please can you email me. I would like to get in touch with you to discuss my dog's supplements. Why did you stop the first set of supplements? Did you not get the desired results. Please help."
10/27/2012: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Suji, I just noticed your post today. You placed your post under someone else's post, not mine, which is why I didn't see it. The reason I stopped the magnesium, carnitine, ribose and CoQ-10 was because I started to worry that it might have stopped working for my dog. I kept my dog on these supplements for a year and my dog was examined by 2 cardiologists in that time and they both confirmed that he had no murmur. However on the last visit, the third cardiologist told me he had a grade 1 murmur. This really concerned me --- so I started to research more and found out that taking "isolated" supplements such as the above can cause imbalances in the body. I found out that calcium is equally necessary to the heart (along with magnesium and many other nutrients, including omega 3s), but that they must be in balance with each other and in a form that the body can utilize. Too much calcium can cause a magnesium imbalance and too much magnesium can cause a calcium imbalance, etc. These minerals and vitamins must also come along with all their cofactors, enzymes and other things that appear naturally in nature in order to really work.

I also noticed that my dog appeared to start having some bone issues. I wondered if I was creating a calcium deficiency in him, by giving him the magnesium. Now the bone issues may be completely unrelated and just purely coincidental..... I just don't know. But, that was enough for me... I felt that I needed to look into this a little further and that's when I started him on the phytonutrients.

You mentioned homeopathy and I'd like to tell you my experience with it with my now deceased dog. I consulted with a vet who I believed was also knowledgeable homeopath and she recommended remedies for him, which I gave to him (away from meds) but they did not work. I now know the reason they did not work -- and a true homeopath will tell you this --- is because the drugs are so strong that they will cancel out the effects of the homeopathy.

Unfortunately, I realized this too late because I trusted this doctor. I have since found out that this vet was not an accredited classical homeopath and did not have the in-depth training and knowledge and experience with homeopathy - rather, I believe she only took a weekend course and claimed to be one.

Thankfully I have found a "real" classical homeopath who is wonderful and I use him for many things (mostly short term illnesses and other problems) --- but I WILL NOT use him for my dog's heart problem. I have learned that you MUST address the underlying nutritional problems in any longstanding chronic condition first. If you don't, I believe you will not get the results you are looking for. This is why he is on the phytonutrients.

You asked if there is a way that we can speak directly but that would require that we would have to post our email addresses here -- and I'm not sure that I am comfortable with that."

05/03/2013: Sara from Newbury Park, Ca replies: "Hi Katie! I have just read all of your posts on supplements and feel that the Universe brought me to this site after hours of crying and pleading! I have three Chihuahuas (my babies) since they were pups and are now 6 years old. Candy (the brightest and most inquisitive) was diagnosed with a grade 2 heart murmur 2 years ago. The vet put her on 1/4 pill of Enalapril twice a day and she had been doing fine. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that her heart was beating unusually hard (I could hear it from a few feet away) and sometimes feels sluggish in the mornings with a lack of appetite. No other symptoms yet thank God. I took her back to the vet today and she says that the murmur has escalated to a grade 5. She recommended a cardiologist. We have an appointment next Tuesday. I switched my dogs' diet to raw a couple of years ago and have been giving them Dr. Becker's supplements (digestive enzymes, probiotics, Krill oil, Spirulina, Ubiquinol) as well as bone meal, glands powder and coconut oil.

I am devastated about my baby's prognosis, as the vet says her condition will get worse, her heart is working very hard and there is no surgery or cure. She is 6, beautiful, smart, funny and a great loving doggy! I refuse to think that there is nothing that I can do for her. I am so sad and helpless. Candy is only 5 pounds and I don't know if some of the supplements will benefit her or what dosage I should use. I beg you to please help me come up with a good alternative option for her. I don't care if I have to go to the end of the world and back, if it means a long, happy and healthy life for her. Thank you so much!!!"

05/04/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Sara, Do not give up hope on your dog. I would start your dog on the Cardio-Plus and the Canine Whole Body Support immediately. I would give these supplements away from the Enalapril. (Note: Do not stop the Enalapril immediately - your dog will need to be slowly weaned off of it once her heart starts to get stronger. Stopping this drug immediately can cause a setback. ) I would recommend that you stop all of the other supplements though- and I don't even think that the ubiquinol is necessary as the Cardio-Plus contains about 25 mg. of natural CoQ10 per tab.

The Cardio-Plus and the Canine Whole Body Support are the only supplements that my dog is currently on. And, as you will see from my previous posts, my dog's heart is strong now and is pumping at 100% - and his heart shrunk back to the size of a what a normal, healthy Cavalier should be. The reason why my dog still has a murmur right now is only because his valves are still a little leaky, but my vet feels that they will also improve, if not heal themselves too, in the near future. I am planning another echo at the end of the summer.

As far as dosages go, I would probably recommend 2 to 4 tabs a day of the Cardio-Plus, at least initially (because of the severity of your dog's heart issue). If possible, I would try to give the Cardio-Plus throughout the day (away from the Enalapril, though) in order to keep the nutrition consistently in his system. Then, as the heart improves, I would probably cut back to 2 tabs a day. The Canine Whole Body Support is dosed by weight, so for a 10 lb. dog the dosage would be 1/8 tsp once a day.

I would also recommend that you find a good holistic vet who can help work with you and monitor your dog and his progress and then help you get him safely off the Enalapril as her heart starts to improve."

05/04/2013: Sara from Newbury Park, California replies: "Thank you Katie for your concerned and quick response. You are definitely an angel from Heaven! I will order these supplements today and start her on them. When you say "away from the Enalapril", do you mean I should administer them at a different time of day? I give her the Enalapril with each meal (am/pm) so as to not upset her stomach. Is it ok to give her the Standard Process supplements on an empty stomach?

During our visit to the Cardiologist next Tuesday, I am sure that he will want to put her on additional meds (some I have heard from your followers are Vetmedin, Benazeprill and Furosemide). Shoud I refuse?

Katie, you have no idea how much we appreciate your kindness, support and knowledge. It is people like you that makes me not give up on "two-legged animals."!!!!!"

05/04/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Hi Sara, Yes, give the Cardio-Plus and the Canine Whole Body Support at a different time from your dog's meds so they don't compete. I would continue giving the Enalapril with his meals, and would give the Cardio-Plus and the Canine Whole Body Support at any other point during the day – but, I would want to space them out. If you choose to give closer to mealtime, I would allow at 1 or 2 hours before a meal or 2 to 3 hours after a meal. Also, these phytonutrients don't need to be given with food.

Most likely, your vet is going to want to put your dog on additional meds (as they did with my dog). In my experience, I found that every time they added another drug, his heart issue became more dire and his heart continued to weaken further and faster. These drugs created all types of terrible problems with my dog. And, it ultimately became more and more complicated to try to wean my dog off of his meds after being on so many of them (he was on 6 or 7 meds in the end). So, my advice would be to try to keep him off the additional meds, if possible, and give these supplements a chance to start working. However, if it's unavoidable, try to get her off of them ASAP, once the heart strengthens.

By the way, you might also want to keep some magnesium on hand (only in the beginning though). Once, when my dog was very sick, his heart was beating out of his chest and I was rushing him to the cardiologist. Before I left the house I gave him a small spoonful of the liquid magnesium, and in less than 5 minutes his heartbeat returned to normal again. Now, I wouldn't recommend the magnesium long term (or as a regular supplement anymore) because it is an "isolated" supplement --- but you might want to keep some on hand just in case…in an emergency."

05/06/2013: Sara from Newbury Park, Ca replies: "Got it! Thanks Katie! I will post an update as soon as Candy and I visit the cardiologist tomorrow. Please everyone, keep her in your prayers!"
05/07/2013: Sara from Newbury Park, California replies: "Hi Katie. Candy and I are back from the Cardiologist. $1000 later, she has been diagnosed with Myxomatous Mitral and Triscuspid Valve Degeneration. Left atrial and ventricular dialation. Mild left-sided congestive heart failure. She said the condition is moderate and that the prognosis is 1 to 2 years. They performed an echo, electro and blood panel and prescribed Lasix and Vetmedin (which I bought). She wants to see her again in a week to determine if her body is accepting the meds with more lab work and another electro.

Katie, I am so confused! Candy seems to be doing better and only coughing a little bit at night. Her heart beat is still elevated and very loud but other than that her appetite is good and so is her energy level.

Should I start her on the meds (I know you hate Vetmedin and I did read about it) or should I not? I have order the supplements (the isolated as well as the Standard Process ones) but have not received them yet. So far I have spent over $1500. When the supplements arrive and I get her on them, how will I know if she gets better that it was the supplements and not the meds or the other way around?And if I don't start her on the meds, what if she gets worse? I very much want to do what is best for Candy and I don't know what that is. I am heartbroken, nervous and very confused.

I would really appreciate your input! Please help me!!!!!"

05/07/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Hi Sara, Did the cardiologist mention if Candy's heart is enlarged (cardiomegaly), and if so, did he mention if is it mild, moderate or severe? Or if she had any fluid in her lungs? Or, if she has any pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)? Also, do you know what her heart rate is? Did he mention what grade her murmur was -- or anything about her mitral regurgitation? (Murmurs are graded from 1-6 and regurgitation is graded from is 0-4. ) Also, what were the recommended dosages of each of her meds?

Also, when do you expect to receive the SP supplements?"

05/08/2013: Sara from Newbury Park, California replies: "Hi Katie, I feel like I did not ask the right questions. She did say that her heart was enlarged but only the left side and moderately. She did have fluid in her lungs (thus the Lasix) but she did not mention heart rate or pulmonary hypertension. She explained that the top part of her left valve is not closing properly any more. The murmur is a grade 5 but do not know the regurgitation grade. I am expecting the supplements around the 14th. I just measured her heart rate myself and counted 67 beats per minute (very loud beating). What do you think?

Her medications are: Enalapril 2. 5 mg. - 1/4 tablet twice a day. Lasix 12. 5 mg. 1/2 tablet twice a day and Vetmedin 1. 25 mg. 1/2 tablet twice a day. She has been taking the Enalapril for two years now."

05/08/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Sara, can you give me your e-mail address so we can speak directly."
05/08/2013: Sara from Newbury Park, California replies: "Yes, Katie. Thank you! It's sdwilken(at)gmail(dot)com"
05/23/2013: Deborah from Chino Valley, Az replies: "Hi all, Just wanted to send an update our our Mocha. I had originally posted about him in January of 2012; we were in the process of bringing him back from a very difficult experience of heart-related 'seizure-like' episodes and I wrote at that time to share what we found to be working for him in terms of supplements.

Mocha is still with us (yay!) and doing well. As with any healing, it has been a journey. He did really well on the previous supplement schedule for some time, however he is in his later years and like any body - animal or human - it has its ups and downs. But dramatic decrease in the episodes we were so afraid would take his life. And after having so many of them, we were afraid he would not come all the way back.

He has recovered so well, and we continue to 'tweak' his supplements as Katie from Northport mentioned doing herself over time and with research. We also were blessed to have a wonderful holistic veterinarian move to our area so that we didn't have to figure so much out on our own.

Mocha is currently on:

1. Canine Cardiac Support by Standard Process. Great product, can't say enough about it.

2. CoQ10 for pets by Rx Vitamins - this is created exclusively for pets

3. Forti Flora by Purina - A probiotic supplement for dogs, and I believe they have a version for cats.

4. A Chinese herbal formula called Ding Xian Wan by Jing Tang to balance the liver, which in Chinese Medicine is responsible in part for keeping the heart balanced. This was very interesting to me, as Mocha had a long history of liver imbalance before his heart symptoms ever showed up.

5. CAS Options by Resources - this is an immune and antioxidant support.

All supplements were provided by our holistic vet, who also determined doses for our 9 lb boy.

We also give him 1 tsp of organic sweet potato baby food (great for easing constipation - also associated with the liver) and 1 tsp of fresh wheatgrass per meal which has really improved him overall. A bit of 'live food' in his baked chicken or white fish has made a lovely difference.

In his case, he did not do well on raw foods but as we've learned, there is no 'one size fits all' for people or for pets. This combination has been working beautifully for him and we are deeply grateful that he is here with us and has quality of life. He was, unfortunately, a 'puppy mill' puppy - something we weren't aware of until years later and with that, did not come from a healthy background. Health issues have surfaced throughout his life despite us giving the best care we could at the time, and in this way, his little body has been a great teacher to us.

Hope a bit of what we all have learned and shared here with one another continues to help other dear pets out there.

Best wishes, Deborah"

07/29/2013: Brenda from Las Vegas replies: "Hi Katie, I bought the angstrom magnesium. It says on the bottle derived from magnesium chloride when I recieved it in the mail today. Mag chloride from my research is in ice melt products and I dont think is safe for dogs? Is this the same product you are using for your dog? please let me know. I dont want to give the angstrom mag if it will hurt my dog."
08/17/2013: Phillip from Olympia, Wa replies: "I have a 9 year old Jack Russell that has a level 3 murmer and I need help on what supplements may work. I wanted to know how your dog has done on Dr. West protocal? Can you share any insight? Thank you. Phillip"
08/18/2013: Katie from Northport, NY replies: "Brenda, I just noticed your question regarding the angstrom magnesium today. The angstrom magnesium I purchased was from and I just checked the label but it doesn't mention anything about it being made by magnesium chloride, so I'm wondering if you have the same product as me? FYI, I did give the angstrom magnesium safely to my dog for close to a year, before I switched him over to a whole food supplement protocol.

This is just a general FYI for any readers considering using magnesium therapy. Magnesium therapy should not be used if your animal has kidney failure. With kidney failure there is an inability to clear magnesium from the kidneys."

08/18/2013: Phillip from Olympia replies: "What is the whole food supplement protocol? Please help. Any link to what you bought?"
08/19/2013: Shannon from Houston replies: "I found the ingredients for the two products mentioned in the blogs. I was trying to understand the difference between Cardio-Plus and Canine Cardiac Support. Both appear to have a lot of the same ingredients with a few differences:

Canine Cardiac Support:


L-carnitine, bovine liver, bovine heart PMG™ extract, rice bran, bovine kidney, bovine and ovine spleen, bovine orchic extract, beet root, defatted wheat germ, buckwheat leaf juice and seed, high selenium yeast, ribonucleic acid, wheat germ oil, bovine pancreas Cytosol™ extract, veal bone PMG™ extract, alfalfa juice, mushroom, calcium lactate, Crataegus oxyacantha, nutritional yeast, carrot, pea vine juice, Tillandsia usneoides, para-aminobenzoate, chlorophyll extract, inositol, choline bitartrate, oat flour, and porcine brain.


Proprietary Blend: 650 mg Bovine heart PMG™ extract, bovine liver, choline bitartrate, calcium lactate, porcine stomach, bovine orchic extract, Tillandsia usneoides, defatted wheat (germ), para-aminobenzoate, nutritional yeast, allantoin, inositol, bovine spleen, ovine spleen, porcine brain, oat flour, and bovine adrenal Cytosol™ extract."

08/19/2013: Shannon from Houston replies: "I need some clarification on something. The blogs mention Canine Cardiac Support by Standard Process and Cardio-Plus (also by Standard Process?) What is the difference between these two products? I have the Canine Cardiac Support which is a powder which I put in my dog's food. The Cardio-Plus are tablets. What is the difference between the two?"
08/21/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Shannon: I don't know the difference between the two supplements, sorry. I know a lot of the ingredients look the same but it could be in the formulation or the amounts used that make the difference in the product. I do know that Cardio-Plus is a combination of four SP products – Cardiotrophin PMG, Cataplex G, Cataplex C and Cataplex E2 and that it was formulated by the founder of Standard Process about 50 years ago so it has a long track record. It's also one of the main supplements that Dr. West uses with his human heart patients, so I stick with it for that reason. Also, my vet seems to prefer it, but he usually gives it in combination with other supplements based on a patient's need.

I noticed on the Standard Process website that they recommend that Canine Cardiac Support be given along with Cardiotrophin PMG and Canine Whole Body Support as part of a balanced protocol for animals with heart conditions."

10/05/2013: Brenda from Las Vegas replies: "Ok, I bought mine from angstrom as well. Its the only magnesium supplement I believe on their website so I thought I got the right one? Under the information label their is a small asteric and it says derived from magnesium chloride."
10/06/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "When I was first started looking into the use of magnesium for my dog, I turned to Dr. Carolyn Dean’s books for direction on this subject. She is both a medical doctor, a naturopath, a homeopath and a clinical nutritionist. She is also a bit of an expert on this subject and well versed in its use for various health conditions and for overall general health.

I do (and did) trust the recommendations made by this doctor. As mentioned, I did give the Angstrom magnesium to my dog safely for over a year. If Angstrom magnesium is made from magnesium chloride, it obviously had no detrimental effect on my dog – and I have no concern with it. In Dr. Dean's book she mentions the use of magnesium chloride supplements as one form of magnesium which is used for various health concerns. Her preference however is for angstrom-sized magnesium which are much more absorbable, such as angstrom magnesium. I believe these angstrom-sized minerals are able to bypass the digestive system and be absorbed immediately by the cells. Thus, you will not have the laxative effects you might see with other forms of magnesium.

I did a quick google search and have attached an article by Dr. Dean in which she discusses magnesium with a reader. You’ll see that the reader himself is using magnesium chloride supplements. She also mentions at the end of the article her preference for Angstrom magnesium.

Hope this helps."

10/18/2013: Lisac107 from Port St. Lucie, Usa, Usa replies: "Hello, I have a 14 1/2 year old Pekingnese that has a 5-6 grade murmur. I have not taken him to a cardiologist due to not being able to afford it but I have taken him to the vet who does some holistic.

I gave him the Canine Cardio Support and Bio Cardio, both in small amounts at different times and each time, it made him cough where he wasn't normally coughing. I stopped the supplements and now, am wondering what I can give him to support his heart and help him feel better.

He faints at times, the last day, after feeding him 1/3 of a hot dog which I don't usually do, he has been coughing and fainted a few times. His diet is usually an organic chicken that I boil and give him that with the broth and Wysong dog food.

I think he may have some fluid retention but it seems like when I give him anything, he doesn't do well. I don't want to just do nothing, does anyone have any suggestions as to why the cardio supplements would make him worse or what I could with food maybe?

I am trying to figure this out and I only want him to feel better.

Thank you in advance,


10/19/2013: Katie from Northport replies: "Lisa,

It is difficult to know what might be causing the coughing and fainting spells your dog is experiencing without having a full cardiac exam. It’s possible that he may have an enlarged heart, like my own dog did, which is pressing on his trachea and causing the cough. I don’t know why the food or supplements would bring on a cough though.

My (deceased) dog also started experiencing fainting spells when the cardiologist increased his meds. He would start having what appeared to be seizures with loss of awareness and stiffened limbs. I was told this is called “syncope”. Once the the new “offending” med(s) was removed, howevdr, the episodes stopped."

10/19/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Lisa!

I have limited experience with grade 5/6 heart murmurs but I hope this is helpful.

I agree with Katie; without knowing more- *why* the heart murmur is present - makes recommending any treatment option difficult.

That said, nutritional support is important and must consist of a low sodium diet to help lessen fluid retention. Some heart conditions can be attributed to vitamin deficiencies, such as L-carnitine, Taurine, Coenzyme Q, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Your veterinarian may be able to guide you in what supplement may apply to your dog, and assist in recommending a low sodium diet.

I have lost all my dogs at 9 or 10 or 12; to have a 14-1/2 year old senior is amazing, and a testament to your good care."

10/21/2013: Sasho from Bg replies: "Katie,

I have a dog with enlarged heart, doctors said his hearts Is beating with very high rate. They said that dog has dilated cardiomyopathy and prescribed Furosemide (Furantril), Enalapril and Vetmedin (Pimobendan)

I don't want to give chemical products.

would you please recommend alternative treatment? Can you please contact me at sashonk at yahoo dot com. Regards"

10/21/2013: Lisac107 from Port St. Lucie, Usa replies: "Hello Katie and Theresa,

Thank you for your replies. I took him to the vet, he said there was a small amount of fluid on the right side and gave me Lasix to give him. I will give him a small amount mainly because he said there wasn't much change since the last time he saw him in July.

My dog is sensitive to most things, I have been giving him CQ10 the last two days, about 30 mg in two divided doses of 15 each, he weighs about 14 lbs.

I know without the cardio visit it is difficult to suggest anything, I just don't know why he seems to get worse with the supplements that are designed to help.

The vet was the one that suggested Cardio Support and then Bio Cardio, both made him cough when he hadn't been.

He still isn't back to where he was before I gave him the hot dog, I am afraid to give him the Lasix and anything at this point.

I'll keep him on the CQ10 if he is okay on it, I would like to give him one of the other supplements for the heart support, just don't want him to get worse.

Other than organic boiled chicken, broth, carrots and Wysong, which is a dry food but if he doesn't eat it, his stools aren't formed well. Is there any other foods I can give him that would be of benefit?

Thank you again for your suggestions.

Sincerely, Lisa"

10/22/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Lisa!

Did the vet grade your peke's murmur? How bad was it?

In a grade 1-2, no sweat; you have time to poke around and see what works best in both western and alternative approaches.

In a grade 5-6, you likely are dealing with less than 6 months of time - perhaps with the right drugs up to 1 year. Very honestly in this situation the long term effects of diuretic drugs like Lasix won't be an issue.

The Lasix is a diuretic and its effective. It *should* help with the cough your boy is experiencing.

The loose stools could be diet, could be parasites, could be ?? - it would not hurt to read up on the Activated Charcoal in the discussions below. You can buy it most anywhere, and put it in your coffee grinder to get it to a powder form, and add one half teaspoon to your dog's food/roll it up in a ball of cheese, etc; this will help with any enteritis type viruses that may be present in his GI tract. Dose the AC a couple hours inbetween any other meds.

If this were my boy I would keep feeding a home diet of whatever he wants to eat, skipping the salt. If you boil the chicken at home, you can make your own low sodium broth. Fried egg sandwiches were always a big hit with my senior pit bulls, but at that age anything on my plate was theirs - ya know?"

10/22/2013: Shannon from Tx, Usa replies: "Could someone summarize what regime to put a dog on with a low number heart murmur? It seems that the suggestions are scattered throughout the various posts. I'm seeing magnesium, ribose, Canine Cardiac Support, Cardio-Plus, CoQ10, etc. Could someone put together a list and how much of each per 10 lb weight of the dog. I think that would be extremely helpful for those coming to this thread."
10/22/2013: Lisac107 from Port St. Lucie, Usa, Usa replies: "Hi Theresa,

I have been giving him CQ10 which seems to make him breath harder. I have not given him the Lasix, I would like to find a natural diuretic, I've read about a few homeopathic ones here as well.

After reading this page, the Lasix depletes the body of minerals just like it does in people, those minerals are essential for the body/heart. Pottassium being the one it depletes the most, I will be looking to get a natural one, adding spinach and sweet potatos to his diet and finding the best, "natural" CQ10 out there.

I appreciate your reply.



10/23/2013: Sasho from Bg replies: "My dog has enlarged heart, high beating rate, problems with breathing. It Is diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and prescribed Vetmedin, Enalapril and Furosemide I look for a natural herbs which can support heart and do the job Instead of the above pharmaceutical chemicals. Anyone experienced with and their healing programs?"
10/23/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Lisa!

Please do share if you find successful natural diuretics. I've poked around for Sasho and the most promising homeopathic remedy appeared to be hawthorne - but I did not have time to delve in to all the potential remedies in the materia medica I linked in the reply to Sasho. The herbs that were suggested required brewing up teas and drinking large quantities, however herbal dandelion comes in capsule form and may prove helpful as a natural diuretic.

My experience with lasix and CHF is by proxy; my friend just lost a dog to this, and like many such cases the time from diagosis to loss of life was just under 4 months; there was no time for any side effects :-( There appears to be a great desire to use alternative diuretics to the lasix for canine congestive heart failure; one online vet when posed with the concern over side effects from lasix responded:

" Side effects of Lasix are minuscule compared to drowning in one's own fluids. Lasix is effective and well tolerated when dosed properly."

Gah. He did go on to say "Current trends for management of pulmonary edema due to CHF include reduced Lasix doses and using Spironolactone to give additional diuretic effect, while minimizing potassium loss."

I will continue to search for effective, natural diuretics and if you find something effective please share.


10/23/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

I took a peek at the website you linked - it looks like they have produced an effective product, going by the user reviews. I then saw an asterisk at the bottom and lost some of my enthusiasm for the product; the asterisk indicated that "*Testimonial results not typical; your results may vary." - and wouldn't you know it ALL the testimonies had asterisks by them.

I looked at the ingredients in the formulas; you can piecemeal your own formulas but you might end up spending just as much money putting together your own formula as their dearly priced preparations.

One single ingredient that appears promising and may prove helpful is homeopathic Crataegus oxyacantha. It is available in the pill form or a liquid tincture and must be used for a while for good results.

You might check out this online Materia Medica and see if there are remedies that resonate with you:

Check out these pages to read up more on dilated cardiomyopathy:

[Read to bottom to see possible remedies]"

10/23/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "An excellent resource for learning more about homeopathic remedies that are helpful for heart disease is a book called "Dogs Homoeopathic Remedies", written by veterinary surgeon George MacLeod, DVM. There is a section in the book on treating cardiovascular diseases with remedies such as crataegus, adonis ver, among others and the indications for their use. There is also information on treating congestive heart failure and ascites (which is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity) and another section on treating pulmonary edema (which is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs). Note that the reason these fluids accumulate in the body is because the heart is weak and is unable to pump properly. However, once the heart is strengthened, it will start to pump properly and the accumulated fluids will then disburse and will no longer be a problem.

If it were me, and my dog was faced with a serious heart condition such as congestive heart failure or mild congestive heart failure (such as fluid in the lungs, a racing heart, or fluids in the abdomen), I would probably do the following:

(1) Nutrition. Give my dog the Standard Process protocol which I outlined previously so I could get the correct nutrition into him. This will help to strengthen and rebuild his heart. Once the heart gets the right nutrition, it will shrink back to its normal size.

(2) Edema. If my dog was suffering from any kind of edema, I would do what it takes to get rid of the fluid so that he could breathe easy and lay down comfortably. I would either consult with a homeopath for remedies to clear the fluids and ask for further guidance on remedies which will further help his heart's function. There are many remedies indicated for this purpose such as Crataegus Q, Lycopus, Adonis Ver and a number of others, but they really should be prescribed by a professional homeopath to be truly effective.

(3) Or, if my dog had bad edema I might just give the Lasix to him temporarily or for the short term until I could find another safer long-term alternative that works for him - or until my phytonutrients and homeopathy kick in and my dog's heart gets stronger. Note that if you're giving Lasix long term there is a huge loss of magnesium and potassium, among other nutrients. So, if you have to keep your dog on this for a while you might want to think about giving extra magnesium to offset the loss from the body. The long term use of Lasix also puts a terrible strain on the kidneys and will affect them negatively in the long term too. And if you choose not to do the Standard Process protocol (which is what I currently give to my dog), I would suggest that you research the heart protocol that Dr. Stephen Sinatra recommends to his heart patients. Not only does he recommend magnesium, ubiquinol, carnitine and ribose to his patients, but he says that they need to be taken with other vitamins to "round out" his protocol. He also recommends a good multi-vitamin.

(3) Ubiquinol. I would definately give additional ubiquinol to my dog if he had a serious heart problem. However, I would not use regular coQ10 or ubiquinone. Patients with end-stage heart failure do not absorb these standard types of CoQ10, but they do absorb the ubiquinol formulation.

(4) Ribose. I would also give my dog ribose, because it is indicated for severe heart conditions and congestive heart failure.

(5) Magnesium. I think I would also probably give with magnesium to see if it is helpful to my dog's condition.

(6) Hawthorne. If my homeopath didn't recommend the Crataegus homeopathic remedy for my dog (which is made from the hawthorne berry), I would give my dog Hawthorne (the herb) as a supplement. This is supposedly a very effective cardiac herb. You should know, however, that if you're taking digitalis and hawthorne, that your vet will likely need to lower the amount of digitalis. The reason being that the hawthorne does the work of digitalis so effectively that less digitalis is needed. If the vet isn't aware that the patient is taking hawthorne along with the digitalis, the patient might actually be overmedicated.

(6) Once the serious heart condition improves, I would slowly wean my dog off any drugs he might be on with the help of my vet. I would then take him off any of the isolated supplements mentioned above once he's ready, with the exception of any prescribed homeopathic remedies, ubiquinol, hawthorne and (of course) the SP products."

10/24/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Thank you Teresa for reply

I will see information you provided

unfortunately I started to give Hawthorn and Dandelion by Amber Tech! /~/product/category=1964585&id=8417024 and the next day dog condition worsense - there are difficult breathing almost all the time, gain at chest and abdomen

so I stop that supplement and started Furantril (Furosemide) and Enalapril

that was yesterday but today condition Is not better

so I have ordered Vetmedin (Pimobendan)

the above pharmaceutical drugs were prescribed month ago and I didn't supply them - dog condition was like Class 2 CHF and now Is like Class 3 - 4

I will need your help to start an additinal healing In combination with pharmaceutical drugs

BTW month and half ago dog undergo aa hirurgical treatment and was put on a Lidocayne - I guess that Is main reason to worsen heart

there Is another hope treating DCM - It Is oxygen therapy - you can read dr Terry Wood treatment at the beginning

also I have found that when curing human DCM It can be used MSM (don't know what Is) and chromium

anyone experienced with either treatments


10/24/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

I'm sorry to hear the upgrade to CHF 3-4.

This info is relevant:

"With failure of the right ventricle, fluid leaks into the abdomen, giving the belly a characteristic swelling or potbellied appearance (called ascites). This may be accompanied by swelling of the legs (dependent edema). An accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity (pleural effusion) also occurs with right-sided heart failure.

In the late stages of congestive heart failure the dog sits with his elbows spread and his head extended. Breathing is labored. The pulse is rapid, thready, and often irregular. The mucous membranes of the gums and tongue are bluish-gray and cool. A thrill may be felt over the chest. Fainting can occur with stress or exertion."

All drugs and remedies need *time* to work. The prescription meds you just started need time to work; if they do begin to work it may buy you more time to try the alternative therapies you are researching.

Bach Flower Rescue Energy may prove helpful here, and Rescue Remedy wouldn't be amiss for the BOTH of you during this stressful time."

10/25/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Katie and Theresa thank you for replys

that CHF classification Is based only on mine own perception

since 2 days on Renetec (Enalapril malaete) and Furantril (Furosemide) dog Is now better then what was before 2 days. The effect of diuretic Is that dog started to pee much much more - so I hope that gain at abdomen will be fixed somehow. I am waiting for Vetmedin to receive and will add It like doctors prescribed

Does anyone here got a Vetmedin experience

I also give Cardiovet - polish product to support heart

I also give Bomazeal Sinior - a great natural supplyment - I can recommend It - I use It from more than year because of a neurological deficiency

One big concern Is that dog lost apethite when I started drugs - I need to know how I can feed dog as I know that theese drugs are dangerous for kidney and liver at least

What would you advise to add to the above mentioned to compensate vital minerals extraction caused by diuretic

I am thinking also about some kind of Vitamine B complex - natural form Is best but do not know which product

Later I plan to start buying Standard Process products recommended by Katie and used from dr West

anyone subscribed for his newsletter"

10/25/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

I think with the cocktail of drugs and supplements you are giving your dog, you really need a veterinarian's imput - particularly so with the side effects of loss of appetite and the concern over liver and kidney damage.

That said....

Feed your dog whatever he wants to eat. Keeping a low sodium requirement, many canned products for seniors may fit the bill but do read labels on all prepared diets for sodium levels. Check these out for help on low sodium kibbles and treats:

A few of mine have loved fried egg sandwiches with runny yolks; sometimes we just skipped the bread and they had eggs over easy. Another loved canned cat food; given that her remaining time was very limited she got all the cheap, sugar laden, crappy canned cat food she wanted. I don't know the age of your dog, but feeding mine 'junk food' in the form of cheap cat food certainly wasn't going to kill her before her medical conditions took her out and at least she was eating and feeling comfortable; with end stage disease sometimes all you can do is make them comfortable. Home made diets have always been a big hit with mine also; if you go home made consider supplementing with the supplements Katie has outlined in related posts to Lisa. Also consider tempting him with raw, ground sirloin or hamburger or raw ground chicken; for some of mine it was all they would eat in the end. So find out what your dog will eat, and feed it.

If you are concerned over water intake try making a low sodium broth, or a sweet water with a few drops of honey; if your dog isn't willing to drink then use a syringe and tip his head back and slowly ease the liquid into his mouth. Start a diary and keep track of water intake and food consumption so you know for certain just how much he is eating and drinking.

I am glad to hear the pharmaceuticals are working; fingers crossed that you can gain enough ground to wean him onto the more wholistic and natural approaches to treatment that you desire!"

10/27/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Thank you very much for reply Teresa. You have provided great resources

I appreciate very much your support I tried once again to give a dose of Amber Tech Hawthorne and Dandelion and result once more was very fast breathing for few hours.

I am very curious Is anyone have an experience with mentioned product?"

10/27/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

Homeopathic hawthorn is 'Crataegus Oxyacantha'; homeopathic dandelion is 'Taraxacum officinale': please read up on these remedies here:

While you are using a tinc rather than the homeopathic sugar pills I think the homeopathic indications still apply. From what I have read in both reviewing your boy's symptoms [right side affected] and the crataegus [applicable for left side] it doesn't appear to be the correct remedy. Same for the dandelion/taraxacum. As Katie advised, its best to use a trained homeopath- and in an ideal world we all would. But sometimes the 'cook book' approach to homeopathy - pairing general symptoms to general remedies - does provide a direct hit, and when homeopathy works, it tends to be evident rather quickly. [And that said the materia medica info indicated the hawthorn must be used for some time for results - and it would seem you do not have the luxury of time at present.]

So, it sounds like the Ambertech product is a miss - a shame, because they do make great products.

Are you continuing with the pharmaceuticals? If so what results are you seeing?

How old is your boy? Have you been back to the vet since the first diagnosis 6 weeks or so ago?


10/28/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Hi Theresa,

dog Is 10 yr - 2 months

The main problem Is enlarged heart which can not pump effectively

month ago - the last time I have been to vet for a relatively light surgery of other disease the pulse was very high - doctors said 220 - one of the reasons Is that he Is very emotional

that was where heart disease were finded - but because surgery dog was under local anasthesia when cardio examine was done - don't know If that might change something

from all of the prescribed pharmaceutical drugs - Enalapril, Furosemide, Vetmedin I am giving only light doses from Enalapril and Furosemide and I had to started because of the worsened condition after giving Hawthorne and Dandelion by Amber Tech

I am very scared to start with Vetmedin - If I do that I am scared that there Is no way of turning back

prior to that I have not given any meds because dog condition was relatevely good and stable

At Hawthorne and Dandelion brochure Is writed that there might be breathing problems because It containes Ethyle Alcohole

I have read description from and I think that Hawthorne - Crataegus Oxyacantha Is one of the supplements I need because It lower blood pressure and lower pulse - Enalapril equivalent

Dandelion must have diuretical function from what I know - Furosemide equivalent

I have noticed that when I supply a fresh air at room or when outside dog condition Is bettered

I have to find a way to supply an oxygen to his body, one of the options Is OTT Therapy but I am scared If I can mix two components or that there might be side effects

I am searching now trying to find other suppliments - like Vitamine B complex and etc which might energized heart and higher oxygen flow

I plan also to add D ribose, Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamine D and Calamari - fish oil."

10/28/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Look here about Hawthorn

It has all the effects I look for - that Is why I bought Amber Tech suppliment

may be I have to find other brand which contains other than powder - to exclude Ethyle Alcohole"

10/28/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

I think you need to go with your gut; if you feel the hawthorn is indicated, then you should pursue it.

I think you are on the right track with the nutritional supplements.

I am worried over your 'light' use of the pharmaceuticals; dabbling in dosing without the supervision and feedback of your veterinarian just raises red flags all over the place for me. But I again encourage you to go with your gut; you see your dog in real time, and I am only reading your interpretations of his condition on my screen and sometimes the written word fails to describe exactly what is going on: a picture paints a thousand words, yes? So again, you need to do what you feel is right.

The OTT offered by First Choice Naturals looks promising; rather than worry and speculate on side effects for mixing treatments, why don't you give FCN a call? They offer telephone consulting: Nutritional Consultations - 1-877-343-0724

Please keep us updated on your boy!"

10/28/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Hi Theresa,

Cratageus is included In Canine Cardio Support by Standard Process also. Too bad they do not ship outside US"

10/28/2013: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Thought I would post the following info here. This was taken from the website. Note their recommendation that these supplements only be prescribed by a holistically trained vet.

--- natural alternative diuretics

Natural diuretics include urea (AC Carbamide) by Standard Process, and Wu Ling San by Mayway and Alisma by Seven Forests, both traditional Chinese herbal medicines (TCM). Other Chinese herbal alternatives include Salvia Shou Wu, a Seven Forests patented supplement which consists of Salvia extract, and several other herbs and flowers. Holistic supplements should be taken only if prescribed by a licensed veterinarian who also is holistically trained in TCM. A search webpage for finding holistic veterinarians in the United States is located here.

-- natural alternatives to ACE-inhibitors

A natural supplement as an alternative to ACE-inhibitors is a combination of active fish petides, including LKPNM, from the bonito fish (Sarda orientalis), such as Vasotensin, manufactured by Metagenics, Inc., and PeptACE by Natural Factors. Holistic supplements should be taken only if prescribed by a licensed veterinarian who also is holistically trained in TCM. A search webpage for finding holistic veterinarians in the United States is located here.

Other Chinese herbal alternatives include Salvia Shou Wu, a Seven Forests patented supplement which consists of Salvia extract, and several other herbs and flowers. Salvia Shou Wu encourages blood circulation.

--- natural alternatives

In addition to the natural alternatives to diuretics and ACE inhibitors and arteriolardilators described above, natural supplements which may help to strengthen and energize the heart of a dog with severe MVD include D-Ribose (Corvalen Ribose or Pure Encapsulations Ribose), also known as alpha-D-ribofuranoside, which reportedly improves ventilatory efficiency in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). See this 2004 report and this 2009 report. It also reportedly boosts the energy level of heart muscle cells, improving cardiovascular function and the flow of blood. Holistic supplements should be taken only if prescribed by a licensed veterinarian who also is holistically trained in TCM. A search webpage for finding holistic veterinarians in the United States is located here.

A good general health supplement for older dogs in congestive heart failure is N, N-Dimethylglycine (DMG). Vetri-DMG is a pure DMG product offered by Vetri-Science Laboratories of Vermont ( DMG is said to support the immune system, promote oxygen utilization, improve cardiovascular function, support liver function, and support ocular health."

10/29/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho! Standard Process products are only available through veterinarians and doctors. Have you tried your vet? Perhaps your veterinarian can obtain the cardiac support for you."
10/30/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Thank you for reply Theresa.

I live outside US and Its difficult to get Standard Process products"

11/01/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Anybody know what Is normal dog blood pressure and heart beat rate and how can I measure both?"
11/01/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

The easiest way to check the blood pressure of your dog would be to see your vet - simply because they are trained and will have all the necessary equipment. That said...

You will need a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff; in the US these can be obtained local drug stores starting under $20.00.

The average or 'normal' blood pressure varies by breed:


Systolic Pressure (mmHg)

Diastolic Pressure (mmHg)

Pulse Rate

Labrador Retriever


66 ? 13

99 ? 19

Golden Retriever

122 ?14

70 ?11

95 ? 15

Great Pyrenees

120 ? 16

66 ? 6

95 ? 15

Yorkshire Terrier

121 ? 12

69 ? 13

120 ? 14

West Highland

126 ? 6

83 ? 7

112 ? 13

Border Collie

131 ? 14

75 ? 12

101 ? 21

King Charles Spaniel

131 ? 16

72 ?14

124 ? 24

German Shepherd

132 ? 13

75 ?10

108 ? 23


136 ? 16

76 ?12

104 ? 16


134 ? 12

77 ?17

122 ? 6


134 ? 9

84 ? 12

109 ? 12

Miniature Breeds

136 ? 13

74 ? 17

117 ? 13


136 ? 12

76 ? 13

131 ? 14


140 ? 15

79 ? 13

104 ? 16


142 ? 10

85 ? 15

98 ? 17


143 + 16

88 ? 10

98 ? 22


149 ?20

87 ? 16

114 ? 28


145 ? 17

83 ? 15

102 ? 14

The normal values for dogs are breed-specific. Those for Golden Retrievers, Labradors and giant breeds tend to be lower than the overall average, and those for greyhounds and in general racing hounds tend to be higher. The “average” varies by the source – some indicate normal dog values are about 112 systolic and about 75 diastolic and others indicate the average canine blood pressure is 133/75. So use the chart and look up the breed [or perhaps size] of your dog and do some figuring.

Blood pressure is often measured in pets in the same manner as in humans. An inflatable cuff will be placed on the dog's paw or tail, and standard blood pressure measuring instruments will check the pressure. It is important to keep the dog still long enough to get an accurate reading.

The standards for dog blood pressure are:

  • 150/95 – at this reading or below, there is minimal risk and treatment is not recommended
  • 150/99 to 159/95 -- intervention is rotuinely not recommended at these readings
  • 160/119 to 179/100 -- treatment should be sought to limit the risk of organ damage
  • 180/120 -- immediate treatment should be sought to limit the degree of other more severe complications

Five to seven measurements are generally taken. The first measurement will be discarded, and the dog's excitement level during the procedure will be taken in account. If the results are in dispute, the procedure will need to be repeated.

For the procedure or “how to” it’s easier for you to view the link than for me to post the entire article here.


11/01/2013: Lisac107 from Port St. Lucie, Usa, Usa replies: "Hello,

I started giving my dog Ubiquinol, about 15 mg, he is 14 lbs, is that the right dose?

I have been very busy with family issues, my Mom went in the hospital, I am driving back tomorrow, 18 hours straight and taking my dog with me. I want to get him on the right supplements and doses but don't have a vet to work with. The one I took him to says he is holistic but just gave me the Lasix which I am giving him 1/2 a pill either once or twice a day which helps but, I don't want it to deplete his minerals.

There is an "isolated mineral" supplement that is mentioned but not the manufacturer, could someone tell me which one to get, please?

I make him organic chicken broth and chicken, I add spinach and carrots to the broth, tried to feed him sweet potato but that didn't go over well.

I will try giving him the Cardio Support again but I stopped last time because two days into giving it to him, he was coughing bad when he hadn't before. I know they say a supplement shouldn't do that but if he is allergice to one thing in it, I don't know.

Also, what brand of Ubiquinol is best? I saw one from Swanson's that is water soluable.

I will be checking this board even when I am back in Ohio for a week.

Thank you in advance! Sincerely, Lisa"

11/01/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Lisa!

The dosage for Ubiquinol on the site sourced below is as follows:

"According to Karen Becker DVM, a good heart healthy maintenance dose is:

About 10 mg per day per 10 lbs of body weight
(for small dogs and cats you can cut the capsule, put a drop or two in food and take the balance of the capsule yourself so you don't waste it)"

Interestingly enough, if you follow the link to her article on a test for canine heart disease she states the dosage as follows:

"CoQ10 supplements come in two forms: Ubiquinone and Ubiqunol. Ubiquinol is a reduced form of CoQ10 and is the supplement I recommend for my dog and cat patients. A good heart-healthy maintenance dose is:

  • 50 mg per day for cats and small dogs"


I cannot make a recommendation as to which is the best brand; there appear to be many good choices out there.

I find your comment about your holistic vet prescribing Lasix curious: why ever would your vet NOT prescribe Lasix? Any good vet, holistic or 'western' [as my holistic vet calls it] uses the full range of available therapies to heal and support an animal, and Lasix is the "go-to" treatment drug of choice. Remember, all diuretics by their very nature - naturally derived or not - risk depleting potassium levels in the body.

I really like this site for how well it covers topics; this is their page for Lasix:

They recommend compensating for the possible depletion of minerals by giving your pet a mineral supplement. It might just be that easy, to offer your pet the "go-to" drug of choice [Lasix] and avoid mineral depletion by upping the nutrition in the diet you feed. And I am sorry if it appears I am trying to push you into using this drug. Its just that your boy is 14.5 years of age, in a breed where the median lifespan is 11.4; his long life is a testament to your very good care! But I would hate to see him fail to live out his life to the fullest in comfort and breathing with ease, for fear that the conventional treatment will cut his lifespan.

I do think you should give your holistic vet another chance when you get back to town. Bring up your concerns over using Lasix, and that you are have modified the prescribed dosage; discuss the most effective schedule for dosing based on what you have seen in your pet. Check out the heart murmur to see if it has changed from 5-6; has it improved under your current therapy? Ask for his opinion on dosage for Ubiquinol. Scan through the pages here and list out all the supplements and their dosages provided by Katie and other posters, and show this list to your vet and ask if he would recommend additional nutritional supplements for your boy.

Sending prayers for you, your mom and your boy~"

11/03/2013: Lisac107 from Port St. Lucie, Usa, Usa replies: "Hi Theresa,

I appreciate your reply and suggestions, thank you!

My comment about the vet and holistic was based on him not even offering something natural to go along with it if nothing else. Nothing about the potassium loss, etc. Agreed that sometimes you need to use meds but there are usually other more holistic ways that either compliment or do the job.

I am giving him 1/2 Lasix in the morning and the other half at night. Also giving him the organic chicken broth cooked with spinach, carrots and potatoes to help replenish the potassium.

Reading a comment about homeopathy on this page, it was said that it didn't work because of the meds out-doing the benefit. Now I'm not sure if finding a homeopathic vet will be of benefit or not.

I am overwhelmed with all that is going on. Thank you again for your reply.

Sincerely, Lisa"

11/04/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Lisa!

I can't fault your vet for prescribing the Lasix; 14 year old geriatric senior dog with severe heart murmur = Lasix in *any* vet's book. The herbal diuretics can take weeks to show their effects and their efficacy is far out shadowed by the Lasix.

That said, you paid good money for a visit, and you should provide your vet the feedback; dosing Standard Process Cardio per his advice and the dog is coughing - the vet needs to hear that and offer his take on it.

Its true that other remedies can negate a homeopathic remedy; you may be able to work around this by dosing the homeopathic remedy 4 hours before or after the other remedies or medications.

I know funds are limited, but it might be worth your while to consult with a different vet. I do think you should provide feedback to the first vet and allow them an opportunity to remedy your disappointment in their treatment plan. But its certainly possible you got a bum [quacks are found in all fields of medicine, yes?] so consider calling and interviewing these holistic vets in this search of your area:

I did search the site of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association

There is one vet in Miramar - almost 2 hours from you - that does have a mobile practice. It might not hurt to call this vet as well for an opinion: Jeanette Basto 305-467-4185.

And, if your boy has an appetite, then the laundry list of nutritional support Katie has posted is in order. Read all the posts and jot down all the nutritional remedies and the doses. See what you can include in your boy's diet to help support his heart.

Keep us posted on your boy please!"

11/04/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Incorrect title for this post. Should be: Re: Supplements for Dog's Heart Murmur

Thanks! "

11/12/2013: Lisac107 from Port St. Lucie, Usa, Usa replies: "Hi Theresa,

I appreciate your suggestions and research, thank you kindly.

I have been giving him the Lasix, 1/2 and 1/2 but in quarters if I can. I make the organic chicken broth, add organic spinach, carrots and celery and let it cook for 4-6 hours. I give him some of that broth every day which should have some minerals in it but for the replacement of the potassium and magnesium, I can't find how much to give. Anything I've read, for dogs, is in micrograms.

I ordered a homeopathic supplement that is a diuretic, also got Apis Mel 6c to try but have to wait a bit before I give it him since I gave him the Lasix less than four hours ago.

I really want to try him on the Cardio Support again but the last time I tried, it made him cough hard when he hadn't been coughing. Maybe it wasn't the supplement but he did the same thing when I gave him Bio Cardio instead.

Does anyone know how much potassium and magnesium I can give him or is the broth enough? As I mentioned, I tried the sweet potatoes, not going to happen, he did not like them at all. I could add more potatoes to the broth when I cook it, did the the other week.

Thank you in advance for any input and/or suggestions.

Sincerely, Lisa"

11/13/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Lisa!

You have probably already seen this, but in case not, here are some home made diet ideas - scroll down for the one for cardiac issues:

When supplementing potassium for dogs with CHF, the form used is potassium gluconate; this is available as an OTC supplement.

If you feel you are observing the side effects of low potassium - hypokalemia - in a pinch you can give him banana.

I cannot stress enough the need to work closely with your vet on this; blood levels should be monitored regularly -its possible that at this point no potassium or mineral supplementation is needed.

Another thought is to ask your vet about using spironolactone instead of lasix - spironolactone is a potassium sparing diuretic.

This is the dosage for supplementing potassium for dogs I found searching online:

The typical dose would be 468 mg per 10 lbs of body weight - adjust as needed.

Question: when you dose the Standard Process Cardio Support or Bio Support, how much do you give - the whole table in one go, or do you break it down?


12/10/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "I am looking for best substitute of Standard Process Cardio Plus and Cataplex B. What do you think about Garden Of Life Vitamin Code Raw B Complex or NOW B 50. I will appreciate help to buy Standard Process outside USA"
12/11/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

I am not the best one to comment on the products you wish to compare, so I will leave that to those with more experience.

I did find this link that compares SP products and equivalents that you may find helpful:"

12/12/2013: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Thank you for reply. Among Ingredients content of certain product practical experience Is Important. Can I try to substitute all Ingredients of mentioned products with other relative and also vegetables and fruits. Is wallnut food that dog eat?"
12/12/2013: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

Please take a peek at the link I researched for you. It appears to offer the equivalent of the SP products that you are seeking. Click this link:

Look on the left hand side and scroll down - its kind of hidden but it has a link for purchasing these products. Unless you are super skilled at mixing and balacing herbs and vitamins to recreate the SP products you seek, it might just be far easier and safer to try the equivalents.

I did a quick google peek for you; it appears walnuts may be problematic for dogs."

[YEA]  01/22/2014: Susanl from Port St Lucie, Fl replies: "Hi Lisa, I also have a 14 yr. old, 45lb. Standard Poodle, I was told by vet that he has a #4 Heart Murmur. Thank God he is doing very well but he is now starting to cough. I have him on a Raw Food Diet, Olive Oil, Probiotics, Ester C, Mush (mushrooms), Ubiquitol (very important, it's CoQ10) & 400mg Vitamin E. He still looks and acts like a puppy, thank God!!

Never give any dog with a Heart Murmur anything with salt. My dog is also on "Young at Heart" for Dog Heart Disease, which is working out fine. But I think I will try the EarthClinic."

01/24/2014: Lisac107 from Port St. Lucie, Usa, Usa replies: "Hi Susan,

Thank you for your reply, I hope your dog is still doing well! I see you live in PSL as well, may I ask if you take your dog to a holistic vet?

I am still giving my dog who just turned 15 this month, one Lasix a day, Obiquinol, magnesium and potassium along with his organic chicken broth and grass fed beef, just a small amount for the amino acids in it.

I am also using a homeopathic supplement that is a diuretic, I would like to try the Hawthorn and even Dandelion versions of the homeopathy but have to order them.

I'm adding 1/4 tsp of organic apple cider vinegar to his water for potassium as well. I need to get his blood work done and see how everything is but when I take him to the vet, the gets so worked up, it frightens me and he doesn't do well after for a while. I will ask them if they can just take him in the back, draw the blood and get him out of there quickly instead of him seeing the vet which is what works him up. At this point, I do not want to stress him if I don't have to.

Let me know if you find anything else that can help and thank you again.


02/09/2014: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Katie, you mentioned that coq10 have to be ubiquinol not ubiquinone. I see that dr Sinatra uses Ubiquinine by Tischon - In that would you aproove using Q gel Ubiquinone by Tischon? What are your best favorites for L carnetine and CoQ10?"
02/09/2014: Katie from Northport, Ny replies: "Here is some information I gathered while looking into CoQ10. What I found out was the following:

Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol are both forms of CoQ10. The difference between the two is that ubiquinone is the oxidized form of CoQ10, this is the form that has been studied for more than 30 years. The drawback for ubiquinone, is that it needs to be converted by the body into ubiquinol and not everyone can make this conversion. In addition, it's not very absorbable. For young, healthy individuals, they say it’s probably not a problem but for older individuals and those with chronic disease (such as heart disease) it is said that they usually can’t make this conversion, so ubiquinol is usually recommended for them.

Ubiquinone, which is a fat soluble substance, was then made more advanced about a decade or so ago, when a company called Tishcon patented a delivery system which made ubiquinone water-soluble and therefore more absorbable by the body. This is the Q-Gel? formulation by Tishcon you were asking about.

Then more recently, a company called Kaneka Corporation of Japan perfected an even more advanced form of ubiquinone (or CoQ10) called ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is pre-converted and ready for immediate use by the body, unlike ubiquinone. Since Kaneka Corporation created and patented ubiquinol they are the only company to sell it. It is sold under all different labels by different supplement companies but the trademarked name for their ubiquinol is KanekaQH™.

Now, an even more advanced form of ubiquinol has been created by Tishcon Corporation. They succeeded in making Kaneka’s ubiquinol water-soluble for even better absorption. So, now the body no longer has to convert it, and it’s more easily absorbable. They say this form (which is the most expensive) is the form that is best for those with serious health and heart issues. This is the one I decided to give to my dog – it’s called Quinogel?.

So, to answer your question, my favorite would still be the Quinogel?. If I couldn’t get the Quinogel, I think I would consider using the Q-Gel? ubiquinone formulation by Tishcon, since it is the advanced form of ubiquinone. However, I would never use regular ubiquinone as it is very hard to absorb into the body. Attached is a short piece I came across explaining some of the differences with some CoQ10s.

As far as the Carnitine goes, I gave my dog a liquid L-Carnitine made by a company called Lonza. Different companies sell Lonza’s carnitine under their own labels (e.g., NOW). If you look on the back label and you see Carnipure™ you will know this is Lonza’s carnitine, as that is their trademark. I don’t know if this is the best Carnitine, but I was told that it was so I decided to stick with it. I read that absorbability can be a problem with carnitine and I was told that this was highly absorbable. The draw back is that they might only make it in fruit and citrus flavors now which dogs might not like."

02/10/2014: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "Thank you very much for reply Katie. I will look for your recomendations about CoQ10 and L Carnetine as my dog Is In very serious condition - dilated cardiomyopathy CHF 4. I will appreciate If you can give me some additional advice about treatment or supplemeny that I still have not on protocol. I cannot receive such info where I am located - doctors are using traditional methods using drugs which does not heal that Is to say Please If anyone got ability please ask your trusted doctor about treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy. At the moment dog Is on following drugs: Enalapril maelate, Furosemide, Vetmedin. I also give Standard Process Cardio Plus Tabs and Cataplex B tabs and also N Acetyl Cystein, D Ribbose ans EFA and Omega 3 fatty essential."
04/10/2014: Sasho from Bulgaria replies: "What would be your recommendation on a specific brand for a proper food for dog with CHF?

I like tthe quality of Orijen and Acana grains free dry foods but they are not low sodium foods although salt are 0.3 - 0.6 %. Anyone used Orijen Senior or 6 Fish?"

04/10/2014: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey Sasho!

I have no advise on diets as I am very unfamilar with them. I do know that many prescribed low sodium diets seem to taste awful and dogs do not want to eat them. You may wish to consider a home made diet as it very well may be the best you can get.

This may be a site you have seen before, but it looks to have helpful information suggests a few low sodium brands:"

Vaccinations and Congestive Heart Failure

08/12/2010: Pad from Berwick, Pa: "Approximately 5 weeks ago my 6 year old Doberman had his annual vaccinations. The vet said he was in perfect health and weighed 95 pounds. I feed him
Nutro and Freshpet dog food and he is very active with our lab-mix dog. About 2 weeks ago I gave him a rawhide chew which I very rarely give him but thought I would give him a treat. The next day he started gagging and coughing as if something was stuck in his throat. I took him to a different vet because his normal vet wasn't in. The new vet felt around and after listening to his heart expressed concern over his heart rate. After an x-ray she informed me that Magnes had an enlarged heart (dilated cardiomyopathy) and his lungs were full of fluid and that is why he was gagging. She started him on Lasix and Enacard which really made him stop eating and lose weight. I took him to his regular vet the next day who said he scratched his bowel and that is why his heart was under stress. He gave me an antibiotic for a bacterial infection. The following Friday I had an echocardiogram done and an x-ray of his stomach which showed and enlarged liver. A blood test came back okay except for elevated liver enzymes and cholesterol. He had a rough weekend last week, his gums were white and he fainted once. He was started on an additional heart medicaine called Vetmedin on monday and seems to be stabilized. He still won't eat that much and needs the food broken up into small pieces. I guess I am writing all this because 2 weeks ago he was a normal healthy dog and now he is in stages of congestive heart failure? Does this happen all of a sudden or is something else wrong or did the vaccines or rawhide cause all this mess?

In my gut I have a very hard time believing that he got this sick this fast from something that should take years to develop. If anyone has any insight or recomendations please help. Thank You, PAD"

08/30/2010: Jordan's Mom from Lansing, Mi Usa replies: "Thuja 30c is recommended for vaccine issues. I saw one recommendation of giving it 3x's, once every 12yrs. It is good to give shortly after vaccines, as well. Most health food stores carry this. It is tiny pellets. I was trying to find some other info I had about giving thuja, then giving, ?silica I think or another remedy after that. If I find it I will reply again. If you can afford it you may want to consult a homeopathic vet since this sounds rather serious."
05/06/2014: Theresa from Mpls., Mn replies: "Hey April!

The post you replied to is over three years old; in case the original contributor doesn't see your post I will chip in.

Occasionally, DCM-like heart muscle dysfunction develops secondary to an identifiable cause such as a toxin or an infection. a breed that likely has a genetic component to the condition, it's more likely the dog had the condition that was undiagnosed until it developed to the point where it could no longer be missed, and perhaps the rawhide chew irritating the bowel was what it took to put it over the edge.

In the case of your chi, it's hard to know why the seemingly sudden onset of severe symptoms. These are some conditions and diseases that may bring on murmurs:

Systolic Murmurs

  • Anemia
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Heartworm disease
  • Mitral and tricuspid valve heart failure
  • Cardiomyopathy and aortic valve insufficiency
  • Mitral and tricuspid valve dysplasia
  • Systolic anterior mitral motion (SAM)
  • Dynamic right ventricular outflow obstruction
  • Dynamic subaortic stenosis
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Atrial and ventricular septal defect
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Mitral and tricuspid valve endocarditis (inflammation of the inner part of the heart)


Please keep us posted on how your boy does on the meds! "

05/06/2014: April from North Carolina, US replies: "I'm interested in an answer to the last question. is this something that can just happen overnight? I have a 6 year old chihuahua that was diagnosed yesterday with a stage 3-4 systolic murmur on the left side and fluid in the lungs. He was prescribed lasix and a follow up appointment.

He has been perfectly fine and perfectly normal until 2 nights ago when he woke up coughing and gagging and the next morning he could barely move. Now his body is swollen, he sleeps all day and he can barely walk 20 feet without simply falling over from exhaustion.

I'm heartbroken and I hope I see big results after the Lasix kicks in. He's never been sick and never shown any signs of anything being wrong. This is a complete shock."


DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.


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