Veterinary Homeopathy Can Help Pets With Heart Disease

happy and healthy rescue dog

Gilley’s happy that he’s healthy and living holistically.

Holistically-oriented pet lovers want to help our beloved companions by working with their bodies.

Not against them with drugs.

However, since we all want them to live the longest and best lives possible drug intervention can be life-saving when critical problems come on suddenly.

Emergency!

There are many examples of emergencies where rapid intervention is needed. If your pet suffers some horrible trauma like getting hit by a car or jumping off a high balcony, an immediate trip to the ER is essential. Just as it would be for you. Sometimes your local vet or vet homeopath is not available for a last minute consultation.

Sudden collapse, breathing problems and severe weakness that seem to come on out of the blue are other examples that often indicate a trip to the vet ER.

One cause for signs and symptoms like these is when the heart stops working properly. In some cases, fluid backs up into the lungs. This is the “congestive” aspect of congestive heart failure (CHF).

CHF can occur in any dog. Around 80% of the cases are due to disease of the heart valves. Smaller dogs are predisposed to these problems but any size dog can be effected.

Heart Disease Clues

Clinical signs vary widely depending on which part of the heart is effected. Even the honking cough usually associated with tracheal collapse (also more commonly seen in small dogs) can be secondary to a heart problem. Chronic coughs should be evaluated by your vet to rule out heart and lung dis-eases.

A diagnosis of heart dis-ease is typically made based both on physical examination (PE) and imaging using x-rays and ultrasonography. Heart murmurs, abnormalities in heart rate and rhythm and congestion in the lungs may be heard with the stethoscope during the PE. Heart enlargement and fluid in the lungs can be seen on x-rays. Radiographs can show the heart enlargement and fluid accumulation.

Echocardiography is needed (and recommended) to fully evaluate heart function.a dog echocardiograph

Hypertrophy (thickening) and dilation of the heart and its’ chambers is another common cause for CHF. Both dogs and cats can be effected. Breeds like Dobermans, Great Danes, Boxers and Siamese are most frequently effected.

Abnormalities of the heart’s electrical conduction system can also cause abnormal heart function and result in CHF.

Premature heart beats that are not associated with pulses are sometimes found during the PE. Ordinarily, every contraction of the heart is associated with a pulse that can be felt in the blood vessels. Fewer pulses than there are heart beats often indicates a problem.

Electrocardiography (ECG) measures the electrical signals that trigger these premature contractions.

Impulses seen on ECG cause the heart to beat. This is one of the few areas where conventional medicine understands the importance of an unseen “vital force” that keeps the body functioning.

Monitoring Improvement or Worsening Is Critical

If your pet was initially assessed by a vet cardiologist then s/he will also be able to fully evaluate her progress using these diagnostic tools.

Monitoring cardiac function before and during drug therapy is extremely important in CHF. In some cases, drugs must be used to maintain sufficient heart function. Dosage adjustments can then be made based both on reporting of clinical status and health maintenance rechecks with the cardiologist.

Heart drugs may indeed be life-saving but unfortunately don’t address the underlying cause of the problem. The primary energetic cause for the secondary physiologic abnormality continues to worsen.

Drug doses often need to be increased and may become ineffective. New and stronger drugs with even more side-effects may be used.

How Can Vet Homeopathy Help in Heart Diseases?

Energetic treatment (of the underlying problem) with homeopathy can both improve the length and quality of life for the patient with heart disease. In my experience, it also often reduces the need for higher and higher doses of drugs.

Ideally, homeopathic treatment is started before problems arise.

Early homeopathic intervention may even slow the development of the structural abnormalities that effect cardiac function.

If you are not already actively working with a vet homeopath and an emergency arises, it is critical to seek care immediately. Use whatever methods are necessary to save the life of your pet.

In non-emergency situations I advise a thorough cardiac evaluation and collecting all diagnostic data before starting treatment. Some drugs are potentially harmful, suppressive, and often mask important symptoms.

 Vet Cardiologist + Vet Homeopath = Best Help Your Pet

It is especially important when your pet has CHF to have a crack vet team. Ideally this includes your local family vet, a cardiologist and a vet homeopath. Only after consulting them all can a fully informed decision be made.

Heart (and most other) drugs treat the physiologic symptoms that can be perceived. However, they don’t address the underlying problem. Natural treatments that help strengthen the body can work wonderfully at the same time as conventional drug therapy.

One of the goals when using natural therapies is to reduce dependence on potentially harmful drugs.

Until recently, digitalis was routinely used for treatment of CHF. It can be extremely effective. Dig also happens to be one of the most toxic drugs on vet’s shelves.

Digitalis absolutely helps the heart work better but it also has a very narrow margin of safety. Fortunately, pimobendan (Vetmedin is the vet version) has virtually replaced the use of dig.

Thanks to the minute doses used in veterinary homeopathy, digitalis can be used safely during treatment for some patients. It may be indicated based on the totality of symptoms of the individual.

A beautiful Bichon patient of mine did well with homeopathic dig when she started collapsing. The observant pet parent reported that she only fainted after she urinated! This unique characteristic helped me choose homeopathic Dig.

Clinical Nutrition, Supplementation & Lifestyle Changes

Along with homeopathic treatment, there are many other natural nutritional supplements that can be invaluable. Human research has proven the efficacy of supplements like Hawthorn BerryCoenzyme Q-10 , omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils). These nutritional supplements help support the body during treatment.

Vitamins E, C and A, minerals like magnesium and potassium, the amino acids carnitine and taurine, turmeric, proper doses of garlic etc. can also be helpful. Often, your best bet is using a professionally formulated supplement such as Formula CV from RxVitamins for pets (in addition to whatever your vet prescribes).

Coenzyme-Q 10 is an interesting and important addition to the holistic management of CHF. Many other disorders can benefit but the source and form of this supplement is very important. Powdered and tableted forms are not optimally absorbed and used by the body. In my practice I use Xymogen’s Co Q Max along with the Formula CV.

Many other supplements are useful in heart failure and other organ dis-eases. Rather than use too many of these, I’d suggest working homeopathically and mindfully supplementing when indicated.

Happy Pets Are Healthy Pets

Even pets with heart dis-eases need exercise. Ideally this would be in the open air. Fresh air and the healing rays of the sun are very helpful.

Mental boredom and the resultant stress will slow healing. Play stimulating games with your pet (any yes, cats can play too). When possible, interact with your pet at least 3-4x a day in play and training. If this is not feasible then use one or more of the toys on the market to stimulate her when you aren’t around.

Lastly, any holistic regimen should strive to make your pet happy and improve her quality of life. Fresh food feeding does this best. Some vets are experienced in fresh (even raw!) food feeding and can help you make wise dietary choices.

Holistic management of heart diseases and CHF can be very rewarding. Integrating conventional treatments with homeopathy, fresh food feeding, judicious supplementation, play, etc. can help your pet live a happier and healthier life.kingsley orion-jump

Feel free to post your experiences on this page or my online forum. You can also contact me at Google +, Facebook, Twitter, etc. if I can help in any way.

Be proactive and keep your pets well.

Dr. Jeff

18 Comments
  1. Such great info!

  2. Always love your information and enjoy sharing.

  3. Well I had to make that choice with my doxie. When she was 11 she never wanted to walk or play she would get so exhausted. Her Dr said her heart was working over time and she had a heart murmur of 4. She put her on enalapril twice a day and has been on it for 2 years and so far she’s ok. I always wondered if there was an alternative for her because I was worried about starting her on the drug. But when you don’t know and your caught in the middle if I don’t give it to her what will happen and if I do will I make it worse. It’s a tought choice. Thank you for all the great info you put out to help us make the right choices.

    • Thanks for posting Germaine. This s exactly the situation that so many pet owners encounter. Many vets will only give you one treatment option among so many.

      Most important is that your pup is doing well. Thank goodness for that!

      Dr. Jeff

  4. Terrific amount of info! Go, Dr Jeff, go!

    • Hi Allie. I hope that you are well and thanks for reading the post and leaving your thoughts.

      Dr. Jeff

  5. My 11 year old has some arrhythmia, which you picked up on years ago. She collapsed twice so we have her on Cardiac Support by Standard Process and she is doing great and had improved at the last check up. No drugs for us!

    Thanks for this post!

  6. Good to hear Taffy. Gotta love this protomorphogens in SP products.

    Dr. Jeff

  7. I second heartily the use of supplements such as fish or krill oil and CoQ10. I also have gotten great results with hawthorn. I use the extract myself, and keep the homeopathic remedy handy for crises. It vastly improves my oxygen uptake and exercise tolerance, while I continue to treat my muscle weakness as part of my overall chronic case. I recently advised Crataegus 30c for a 14 y.o. greyhound who was suffering fatigue and shortness of breath, and it has worked excellently for him, although he has no diagnostic indications of cardiac disease.

  8. Good post, thank you Dr.Jeff! This is a great example of how we can integrate conventional (Flat Earth) and real (energetic) medicine. Perhaps another example of this is how remedies can help when someone is subjected to “trauma” (surgery)? Integration might be an easier way for some people to see the powerful work of remedies. Our vets at the vet college near us always comment on our pets’ amazing recoveries after an “emergency” event.

  9. Cathy,

    For example, I always pack my arnica with me when I am having surgery.

  10. Thanks for this great post, Dr. Feinman. Some years ago I began carrying a small collection of homeopathic remedies with me at all times, and recently invested in a 50-piece homeopathic kit which I take on all long day or overnight trips. It is worth the effort and investment, especially if you take the time to study the remedies. When you’re capable of making the best remedy selection in an emergency or other “acute” situation you can make a critical difference in the outcome, whether or not you choose to use allopathic methods as well.

    I’ll make a plug here for the writings of Dr. Dorothy Shepherd, whose recollections of treating emergent circumstances with homeopathy on her travels, and during the Blitz, are practical and inspirational!

  11. I totally agree Barbara. Many of my clients also invested in a kit of the 50 most common homeopathic medicines. Most acute conditions are treated by remedies in the kit.

    My own presumptive case of cholera (Haiti was having an epidemic when I was down) was resolved quickly by one of these.

    Thanks so much for sharing your book recommendation.Dorothy Shepherds writings are indeed wonderful to read and inspirational. Other great books include Homeopathy Beyond Flat Earth Medicine (by Tim Dooley), Homeopathy Medicine for the new Milllenium (Vithoulkas) and one of the most popular home care books ever, Domestic Physician (Hering).

    I personally started my homeopathic journey by reading Hahnemann’s Organon, Ken’t Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, and Boericke’s Materia Medica and Repertory.

    Be well.

    Dr. Jeff

  12. This is the right web site for anyone who wants to find out about
    this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will
    need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that’s been written about for
    ages. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  13. Hello DrJeff,
    Thank you so much for your CHF post. I have a 12 year old toy poodle who has a 4-5 heart murmur. It jumped from a 1 in about 8 months. QT collapsed from over excitement when I returned home a few months ago. He’s been seen by a cardiologist, conventional and holistic vet. The cardiologist put him on amlodopine 2xs a day for high blood pressure. Also,wanted to give Enalapril about a month ago. Both my regular and holistic vet said no to the Enalapril…said they only give when patients are in heart failure (which QT is not). . He is currently on the supplements you mentioned above (CV Formula, Omega 3 and CoQ10). Only been on them for a week. How long will it take to notice a difference? He eats well, coughing has increased a little (off/on, not all day), still likes to walk 3-4x’s a day. His energy has slowed down a little.

    Please share any additional suggestions. Like should I add the Enalapril.

    Thanks!!

    QTs Mom Elsa!

  14. dr jeff seems to have stopped responding so i wont be leaving a question…

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