Let me introduce my Jegs, a 4.5 year old whippet, to you. He was diagnosed with DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) when he was 1.5. It was shocking news for us. The first question which the Vet asked was what kind of food Jegs' had? We had fed Jegs by grain-free food as was recommended in the pet store and we choose Nutrience (grain free)
A few words about DCM.
DCM affects the heart muscle in dogs, resulting in weakened contractions and reduced pumping ability. Essentially, DCM is an enlarged heart that does not function properly.
We thought we did the best for our dog ... apparently not. I have done my homework regarding Grain Free foods, and learned that according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration: a federal agency responsible for monitoring trading and safety standards in the food and drug industries.) there is a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy.
Here is a bit information Why I don’t recommend grain free food for dogs. Taurine Deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), which I've got from the Facebook page.
Proponents of grain free diets claim that grains are an unnatural source of nutrition for our dogs. They argue that ancestors of our current-day dogs did not eat grains. While their ancestors may not have eaten grains, evolution allows our dogs to easily digest carbohydrates. Another reason that many dog owners choose to feed grain free or gluten free dog foods is a mistaken belief that these diets are the best choice for dogs that have food allergies. While food allergies do occur in pets, grains are not among the most common allergens found in foods. The two most common causes of allergies in dogs are beef and dairy. For dogs that truly do have allergies to grains, a grain free diet would be an appropriate choice. The following are symptoms that would be expected in dogs that have food allergies (or other types of allergies): Itchiness year-round, excessive hair loss, inflamed skin, sores or hot spots. Allergy testing is not always a good way to discover if your dog has a food allergy. Rather, a food trial with a grain free food or a different protein source would be necessary to determine whether the food is beneficial for your dog.
Dangers of feeding grain free food.
One of the dangers of greatest concern is dietary Taurine Deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy. A cardiac condition that leads to sudden death.
So, long story short, we switched right away from Nutrience (grain free) and had kept our dog on a special diet (Royal Canin® Veterinary Diet Canine CARDIAC), medication (Vetmedin) for 6 months. Then we did the follow-up ultrasound. Sadly, the result didn't show any improvements but worsened.
I know for sure the cause of Jegs' DCM is food related because we sent his DNA sample to check if this problem due to his blood line or not, the result came negative. I have always believed the right nutrition would help us to deal with this problem. I stopped giving Jegs Vetmedin and created for him a Recovery mechanism of the heart muscle atrophy using supplements:
Note, I am not a vet. The information has written below is my choice, it was not recommended by my vet. It's my belief that proper nutrition can be the best medicine. I just decided to take all responsibilities on myself since the prescribed medication didn't work.
First of all, a dog that have a heart disease should eat a balanced diet that is low in trans and saturated fats and contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources.
1. In the beginning we used Royal Canin® Veterinary Diet Canine CARDIAC dry dog food. Then switched to Royal Canin® for Sensitive Stomach. My dog loves it!!!
2. The process of energy accumulation in the heart cells depends on the presence of Coenzyme Q-10 in the body.
3. Unsaturated fatty acids omega-class are the basis of cell membranes. They provide the body with energy. The natural complex of Omega 3/60 contains 60% essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It has a strong antioxidant effect and eliminates the shortage of essential fats in the diet.
4. Give your lovely puppy Coral Taurine. Taurine is important to keep the cardiovascular system healthy. It helps to calm the nervous system and lowers anxiety.
5. Also, add in your puppy's nutrition H-500. Н-500 prevents the destructive power of free radicals and boosts energy by stimulating cellular energy output.
6. It is essential to maintain an optimal balance of water supplies in the body. It normalizes the functions of all bodily organs and systems by regulating mineral balance. Let your furry family member drink water as much as he/she wants. I add in his water ball some coral sand of Coral-Mine. Coral Calcium of Coral-Mine saturates the water with active ionized calcium. Daily use of such coral water contributes to:
- the achievement of optimal blood pH,
- reducing the risk of the cardiovascular system- and digestive organs diseases,
- blood oxygen saturation,
- normalization of blood glucose and blood pressure,
- normalization of the kidneys, digestive system, and liver functions,
- prevention of arthritis,
- improve the elasticity of muscles and joints,
- restoring the normal structure of bone and cartilage tissues.
7. There is a common expression: Movement is Life, everyone knows that. When Jegs' been diagnosed with DCM it was highly recommended to us that we reduce his physical activities. Jegs was very stressed out during those couple of weeks that we wouldn't let him run and play, so, we decided that it would be better for Jegs to maintain his physical activities but not encourage him to do more. Depending on your situation, if your dog's heart disease is not severe I believe engaging them in at least 30 minutes of physical activity is good. This activity does not need to be intense, and even brisk walking is great for their heart strengthening.
The program above I kept intensive for 1 year. Then started giving him those mentioned supplements once or twice per week. However, Coral-Mine sand is always in his water bowl.
We haven't done an ultrasound since then ... maybe we should have ... but we decided to let our puppy enjoy his life as long as God gives him and we will enjoy & cherish every moment of his life with us. In the doctor's ultrasound notes was written that Jegs had an extremely severe case and was given a maximum of 12 months to live. It was when Jegs was 2, now he is 4.5 years old, and this is proof that our care does work! Right now Jegs is doing well, he doesn't cough, he doesn't show any signs of fatigue. He has a good appetite. His gums look healthy. He doesn't have difficulty breathing, and according to his doctor, Jegs heart sounds better.
That's all for now :-)
I wish your lovely dog a healthy and happy life for many years to come :-)
Hug your Puppy!