Cardiomyopathy is defined as the deterioration of the heart muscle thereby causing the thick muscles of the heart to become thinner. Also, the pressure of the blood inside the heart causes these already thin walls to expand thereby enlarging the heart.
Cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of heart failure in certain large breeds of dogs and breeds predisposed to DCM include the Doberman Pinscher, the Cocker Spaniel, Irish Wolfhounds, and Saint Bernards.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy
The major symptoms of cardiomyopathy in dogs include lethargy, anorexia, labored breathing when resting or sleeping, increased effort associated with breathing, panting, coughing, abdominal distension, restless sleeping, moving around a lot and changing positions, weakness, reduced ability to exercise, decreased appetite, weight loss, depressed attitude or quiet and not interactive, sudden collapse or death.
Several clinical tests are carried out before cardiomyopathy in dogs is conclusively diagnosed. These tests include:
Chest radiographic (X-ray) imaging: This test reveals if the heart of the dog is enlarged, as well as if there is fluid in or around the lungs.
Electrocardiogram (EKG): This may reveal an irregular heartbeat or an abnormally fast heartbeat. A Holter monitor is a twenty-four-hour EKG machine worn by dogs to monitor their heart activity.
This may reveal an irregular heartbeat or an abnormally fast heartbeat. A Holter monitor is a twenty-four-hour EKG machine worn by dogs to monitor their heart activity.
Most dogs with cardiomyopathy improve with treatment. Treatment options ranges from the following:
Your veterinarian may prescribe one or more of the several drugs used to treat the symptoms of cardiomyopathy. These drugs include diuretics to help remove excess fluid from the body, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to lower blood pressure and make it easier for blood to flow out of the heart, digitalis glycosides to help slow the heart rate and strengthen contractions, vasodilators to dilate the arteries/veins and put less stress on the heart to pump blood.
Nutrition and Cardiomyopathy in Dogs
Your vet may recommend nutritional changes that can help manage cardiovascular health in your pet, including controlled salt intake which helps maintain normal blood pressure, taurine to help support cardiac muscle metabolism, L-carnitine and Omega-3 fatty acids to support a healthy heart function, and reduction in the consumption of protein. However, be sure to speak with your dog’s vet before making any changes to their meal plan.
Stem cells therapy
The use of stem cells in the treatment of cardiomyopathy has gained widespread recognition around the world. Stem cells are the building blocks of the body and they have the unique ability to regenerate into different cells.
Due to this ability, when injected into the affected thin muscles of the heart, they repair and replace the worn-out cells. Safari veterinary care center popularly known as stem cell safari possesses some of the best veterinary doctors in the world.