Species affected: Cats, Dogs
Background: Any condition in which the heart is unable to pump the blood through the circulatory system adequately to meet the metabolic needs of the patient is considered CHF. This disease is more common in older animals but can occur in young animals that have heart damage or congenital disorders. It also occurs secondary to heartworm disease, lung disease, valvular disease, or wasting of the myocardium.
Symptoms: Pulmonary edema and coughing or dyspnea, ascites, exercise intolerance, and collapse.
Diagnostics: Cardiovascular workup, radiology, echocardiography, and EKG.
Special Notes: CHF in dogs and cats stems from differing disease processes. Dogs commonly develop CHF secondary to valvular disease, backward failure due to lung disease and heartworms, congenital outflow obstructions and other abnormalities, and dilated cardiomyopathy. Cats commonly develop CHF secondary to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and to a lesser extent, dilated cardiomyopathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Vascular disease such as atherosclerosis is extremely rare in dogs and cats.
Principles for Supplementation: Improve myocardial function with antioxidants; improve oxygenation, blood flow to myocardium.