Heart Disease in Dogs and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Dogs of all ages can have cardiac issues. In fact, some puppies are born with congenital heart disease. Issues can also develop as dogs age, and this is known as acquired cardiac disease. Companion animals are notorious for hiding signs of injury and disease, often surprising an owner when it’s too late. That’s why it’s so important to have your dog examined regularly by a veterinarian — catching a heart condition early makes it easier to manage.
When dog heart disease is diagnosed, owners naturally want to do everything they can to slow its progression. When you’re searching for a treatment for dog heart disease, everything’s on the table From surgery and medications to natural therapies, there are an overwhelming number of options that claim to be good for dog heart disease treatment. At SeaPet, we offer natural supplements that are purported to be effective, in particular, omega-3 fish oils.
Before you begin any course of treatment for dogs with heart disease, you should, of course, speak to your vet. But first, let’s talk about the symptoms of dog heart disease, treatment for dog heart disease, and more.
What Are the Symptoms of Dog Heart Disease?
No matter what age your dog might be, there are some signs that they might be suffering from heart disease. If you notice your younger dog slowing down on walks, it’s worth it to have your dog checked out for cardiac issues. Likewise, if you observe your dog coughing or having trouble breathing, especially after exercise or before bedtime consult your vet.
Two symptoms that might not seem like obvious signals of heart disease are bloating or swelling of the belly, or an unexpected, sudden bout of rear leg weakness or even paralysis. Over time, you will observe your dog losing weight. No matter what the underlying cause, it’s important to get your dog checked out by a vet right away.
How is Dog Heart Disease Diagnosed?
If your dog has been exhibiting symptoms that point to heart disease, your vet will likely do a physical exam that includes checking your dog’s blood pressure, listening to the lungs and heart, and perhaps a blood draw or an X-ray. If the results are concerning, your vet may refer you to a specialist. Canine cardiac specialists are trained to use diagnostic procedures such as electrocardiograms, which measure your dog’s heart’s electrical activity. Another way the specialist may examine your dog’s heart is through an echocardiogram, which is considered the most accurate way to view a dog’s heart in great detail.
Dog Heart Disease Treatment
There are many ways to treat a dog for heart disease, including pharmaceutical interventions, surgery, and lifestyle changes. Many of the recommended interventions will differ depending on the kind of heart disease your dog has, so the plan for a younger dog with congenital heart disease might look a lot different than the one for a dog who has developed heart disease over time. Owners of dogs with heart disease often turn to nutraceuticals as well. Let’s take a look at the many methods of treatment for dog heart disease.
Traditional Pharmaceutical Interventions
Due to the wide range of causes of canine heart disease, there are dozens of specific medications that your vet may prescribe. One popular option is known as an ACE inhibitor. It’s frequently prescribed to help reduce the amount of stress on the heart. However, there are some risks involved, and your dog will require close monitoring by your vet.
Vets often prescribe other medications along with an ACE inhibitor, such as nitroglycerine, digitalis, and beta blockers. Along with reducing symptoms, these drugs can help to improve your dog’s overall quality of life.
Surgery is a last-ditch effort to repair a dog’s heart, and it’s not appropriate in all cases. During the surgery, the dog’s heart is stopped and a bypass machine takes over. While the heart is stopped, the surgeon is able to go in and replace any rings or valves that need repair. Surgery is an incredibly expensive and painful option. If you are considering surgery, keep in mind the many variables in mind, such as the dog’s age, overall health, and age.
Many dogs who present with heart disease can truly benefit from a lifestyle change. A change in diet is often needed — dogs with heart disease need an all-natural, high-quality, meat-based diet that’s rich in protein. A dog with heart disease should also maintain a healthy weight. Frequent exercise is a great way to get — and keep — your dog in shape.
One lifestyle tip that you might not be aware of is to keep your dog’s teeth sparkling clean. Since pale gums and a dark tongue can indicate heart disease, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s dental health.
Dogs with heart failure are particularly prone to be lacking in omega-3 fatty acids. The most natural, uninvasive way to address this shortcoming is by supplementing their diet. The most frequently recommended supplement is omega-3 fish oil, which has been proven to reduce the degree of severity in dogs with heart arrhythmias. Anecdotal evidence of the benefits of omega 3 fish oils for dogs include increased metabolism in heart muscle cells and an anti-inflammatory effect, both of which can help to improve the heart’s overall health.
An Effective, Natural Supplement for Dogs With Cardiac Issues
For dog owners who are looking for a treatment for dog heart disease, you’ll want to take all of your options into close consideration. But while you’re contemplating, adding omega-3s to their diet is one of the simplest and most beneficial moves you can make. In addition to any veterinarian-recommended interventions, omega-3 fish oils may make a positive difference in your dog’s overall health. At SeaPet, we are dedicated to providing you with the best fish oil for dog heart disease. Put your trust in us when you are looking to plan out your dog heart disease treatment plan.
Marijuana may hurt heart, more research needed, report finds
Marijuana use could hurt the heart and blood vessels, according to a report that found no cardiovascular benefits to cannabis use and called for more research of the drug that is growing in popularity.
Cannabis studies have been limited because it is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, defined by the U.S. Controlled Substances Act as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association, published Wednesday in its journal Circulation, suggests the federal Drug Enforcement Agency remove cannabis from the Schedule I category so it can be widely studied by scientists.
Its use has risen over the past decade, especially among people 18-25. In all, 47 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and 4 of 5 U.S. territories allow some form of cannabis use. Although many states have legalized medical and/or recreational use, cannabis growing, sales and use are illegal at the federal level, further complicating scientific research.
“We urgently need carefully designed, prospective short- and long-term studies regarding cannabis use and cardiovascular safety as it becomes increasingly available and more widely used,” Robert L. Page II, chair of the writing group for the statement, said in a news release. “The public needs fact-based, valid scientific information about cannabis’s effect on the heart and blood vessels. Research funding at federal and state levels must be increased to match the expansion of cannabis use – to clarify the potential therapeutic properties and to help us better understand the cardiovascular and public health implications of frequent cannabis use.”
Observational studies have linked the chemicals in marijuana to an increased risk of heart attacks, heart failure and a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, according to the report.
A recent study cited in the statement suggests 6% of heart attack patients under age 50 use cannabis. Other research found users ages 18-44 had a significantly higher risk of having a stroke compared to nonusers.
“Unfortunately, most of the available data are short-term, observational and retrospective studies, which identify trends but do not prove cause and effect,” said Page, who also is professor in the department of clinical pharmacy and the department of physical medicine/rehabilitation at the University of Colorado in Aurora.
“Health care professionals need a greater understanding of the health implications of cannabis, which has the potential to interfere with prescribed medications and/or trigger cardiovascular conditions or events, such as heart attacks and strokes,” he said.
Although cannabis may be helpful for conditions such as muscle stiffness associated with multiple sclerosis, the new statement said cannabis does not appear to have any well-documented benefits for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Some studies suggest cannabis – which contains the “high”-inducing THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBD (cannabidiol) – may be safe and effective for older populations. Though they are the least likely to use cannabis, older adults have used it to reduce neuropathic pain, common among people with Type 2 diabetes.
Researchers also have reported benefits for people with age-related diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but there is a dearth of research on the long-term effects of cannabis use among this population. One concern is the potential of interactions with other medications, including blood thinners, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiarrhythmics for heart rhythm abnormalities, and statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol levels.
Some research has found that within an hour of smoking cannabis, THC may induce heart rhythm abnormalities. THC also appears to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, resulting in a higher heart rate, a greater demand for oxygen by the heart, higher blood pressure while lying down and dysfunction within the walls of the arteries.
In contrast, studies on CBD, which does not produce intoxication, have found associations with reduced heart rate, lower blood pressure, increased ability of the arteries to open and potentially reduced inflammation. Inflammation is linked to atherosclerosis, the slow narrowing of the arteries.
The way cannabis is consumed may influence how it affects the heart and blood vessels.
“Many consumers and health care professionals don’t realize that cannabis smoke contains components similar to tobacco smoke,” Page said. Smoking and inhaling cannabis, regardless of THC content, has been shown to increase the concentrations of carbon monoxide fivefold, and a threefold increase in tar, similar to the effects of inhaling a tobacco cigarette.
Marijuana use, and its potential health risks, should be discussed in detail with a health care professional, the report said.
“If people choose to use cannabis for its medicinal or recreational effects, the oral and topical forms, for which doses can be measured, may reduce some of the potential harms. It is also vitally important that people only use legal cannabis products because there are no controls on the quality or the contents of cannabis products sold on the street,” Page said.
In addition to the poisonous compounds in cannabis smoke, vaping cannabis may result in serious health outcomes, especially when mixed with vitamin E acetate oils, which are linked to EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury), the potentially fatal illness that emerged among e-cigarette users last year.
The AHA recommends people not smoke or vape any substance, including cannabis products, because of the potential harm to the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
Cannabis that is legal for medical purposes should align with patient safety and efficacy, according to the statement, which calls on the federal government to create and require standardized labeling about THC and CBD amounts on all legalized products.
The statement advocates folding cannabis into comprehensive tobacco control and prevention efforts, including age restrictions for purchasing; excise taxes; comprehensive smoke-free air laws; coverage of cessation treatment programs by insurers, Medicare and Medicaid; and medical screening, such as when a patient is admitted to the hospital and routinely screened to avoid medication interactions. These efforts should be adequately funded, and at least some portion of the revenue from cannabis taxation should be directed toward programs and services that improve public health.
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American Heart Association News Stories
American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Statements, conclusions, accuracy and reliability of studies published in American Heart Association scientific journals or presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the American Heart Association’s official guidance, policies or positions.
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As marijuana use grows, researchers want to know how it affects the heart