|Barked: Sat Sep 20, '08 9:13pm PST |
|Hi, Louie! I also have heart disease, but with meds and diet and such, you wouldn't know there was anything wrong with me. Pupster had good advice: stay on your meds, don't overstress the heart (or the kidneys), go for low sodium diet, and you should do well for possibly quite a while. Good luck! Oh...and keep Louie's teeth clean. Will try to talk "Mom" for ya!
Basically, heart disease in small dogs is usually a result of mitral valve dysfunction. Often, this is closely related to gum disease as bacteria from the mouth easily get into the bloodstream and attach to the heart valves resulting in infection called endocarditis. (This is why it's really important to keep those pearly whites clean and healthy.) Anyway, the valves malfunction often leading to mitral valve regurgitation where the valve doesn't work right and blood flows backwards back into the lungs. This results in fluid build-up, also called pulmonary edema. It also results is less oxygen-filled blood being pumped to the rest of the body. This left-sided murmur is called a systolic murmur. In the case of a right-sided murmur (which involves the tricuspid valve and is also called a diastolic murmur), the fluid backs up into the abdomen instead resulting in ascetes or a distended belly. In humans, usually fluid builds up in the feet and hands as well. When there is significant edema, diuretics are prescribed to prevent congestive heart failure. Usually, some sort of ACE inhibitor is prescribed to lessen the amount of work the heart is forced to do by lowering the blood pressure. Overtime without such a blood pressure med, the heart muscle increases in size which puts pressure on the trachea making any evidence of congestive heart failure even worse in terms of lung function. Read: more coughing, wheezing and less ability to get around without overexertion due to less oxygen. When medication is prescribed it's really important to make sure that a dog's kidneys are functioning up to par because some of the work that the heart has been failing to do gets shunted to the kidneys instead. And of course diuretics are kinda hard on the kidneys as well. This is why it's so important to regulate sodium. The more salt a person (or dog as the case may be) takes in, the more fluid is retained. So, you can see why sodium must be restricted when there is evidence of edema, especially pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs causing congestive heart failure). You want to reduce fluid, not increase it. Most prescription heart diets and also most senior dog foods are lower in sodium and higher in easily digestible protein which makes managing heart disease and kidney function a lot easier.
Good luck! Hope this was a more "mom-friendly" explanation than the medical texts you've encountered. Mom knows a WHOLE lot about this because she has a history of mitral valve disease in addition to me being diagnosed with it a little over a year ago.
|my posts | my page | msg me | my family's posts | gift me | become pals|| [notify]|