FDA RELEASES AN UPDATE from the INVESTIGATION into THE LINK BETWEEN GRAIN-FREE FOOD AND HEART DISEASE IN DOGS
Between January 1, 2014 and November 30, 2018, the FDA received 300 reports of DCM that were possibly related to diet. Here's the link to the update:
Some dogs improved simply by changing their diet. The FDA emphasizes that the potential link between diet and heart disease is a complex scientific issue that likely has multiple causes.
The FDA is urging veterinarians to report patients with a well-documented history that may have developed heart disease related to diet. If you are concerned about your pet's heart health, please contact us to schedule your pet's echocardiogram and cardiac evaluation. If a problem is found that could be related to diet we can submit your pet's case to the FDA.
Your older, adorable, Benji-like small dog with no history of heart murmur starts coughing. He's had a collapsing trachea before, so you're not terribly worried. Until it continues for several weeks and he develops a wheeze and trouble breathing. You take him to your vet for an exam and chest x-rays. Benji's heart is large but his murmur is quiet... not typical for heart failure from chronic valvular disease. So what's causing his cough? Is it broncho-pneumonia? Heart failure? Collapsing trachea? Or something else? An echocardiogram and cardiology consultation ordered through ETVETUS gives you answers and a plan to help your baby.
The technical detail: The thoracic radiographs show a severely enlarged cardiac silhouette with left atrial enlargement on all views. The pulmonary vasculature appears normal. There is a mild interstitial pattern to the perihilar area on the lateral view and this is seen on the right caudal lung fields on the V/D view. The trachea is compressed over the dorsal aspect of the heart and elevated in the cranial chest on the lateral views.
Let's look at some echo images.
A trace pericardial effusion was also noted, possibly secondary to congestive heart failure OR a left atrial tear.
what's causing my dog's cough?
The cough is thought to be from a combination of early left-sided congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and tracheal and mainstem bronchus collapse over the heart. Treatment consists of diuretics, pimobendan to increase heart contractility, enalapril, sildenafil to treat the pulmonary hypertension, and cough-suppressants if needed for the tracheal collapse. You're sweet baby can now get the exact help he needs. He'll need monitoring and ongoing treatment but should start feeling much better soon.
Unexpected findings during an echocardiogram on a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with Chronic Valvular Disease
Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue and Admiral Veterinary Hospital take amazing care of the dogs in their care. This little male was found as a stray in rough shape with a broken jaw and a list of other health problems. The heart murmur was not a surprise, given his breed.
What was surprising was his echocardiogram findings! Besides the expected chronic mitral valve disease and mitral regurgitation, a significant aortic valve insufficiency was identified. His aortic valve was leaking a large amount of blood volume backwards. Check out the video above. The lovely yellow and blue color shows turbulence around the valve. The yellow red shows backflow of blood.
And the cause of the leak? A quadricuspid aortic valve. Normally the aortic valve has three leaflets. This guy has 4. Besides the extra valve, the aortic valve leaflets were thickened. See the picture on the left. There's normally a "mercedes sign" in the middle that looks like 3 thin lines joining in the middle of a circle. These valve cusps show thickening and if you look closely, there's a thin 4th line at the top right. There was also decreased motion of one of the valve cusps and systolic flutter of the cusps on M-mode. The systolic aortic flow velocity was normal with a normal flow profile, indicating that significant aortic stenosis (narrowing) was not present. That's best seen on the photo on the right.
This little patient is recovering and already feels so much better. Thanks to the care of his devoted veterinarian and the caring folks with his rescue group, this is one Cavalier who is well cared for, inside AND out.