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Hearty-Heart for Dogs

Supplement for heart conditions in dogs

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Vet Talks: A Heartfelt Note About Heart Disease in Dogs – Nico’s Story

Vet Talks 4 min read
Vet Talks: A Heartfelt Note About Heart Disease in Dogs – Nico’s Story

My experience with heart disease in dogs started out personally before it became professional. What most people don`t know is that heart disease in dogs is almost as common as it is in humans.

I rescued Nico from the streets of Brazil. He was a beautiful black Labrador mix. When I found him, his belly was burned by cigarettes and sarcoptic mange had caused him to lose all of his hair. I just asked myself, how could someone treat a dog this way? Unfortunately, there are many bad people in the world. Because of his hair loss, he was not very beautiful in his time of need, so most people passed him by for adoption.  My mom and I decided to share our home with him and allow him to heal.

dog nico amanda heart disease NHV

In a few months, he recovered completely from his injures and mange and he got the most beautiful coat I have ever seen. Nobody wanted him in his time of need, but now many people started to ask about him. I had grown to love him. I realized that Nico was likely abused by a man because he was fearful of men and would hide if a man approached him. But Nico always played with my other dogs. They were all great friends. It was so great to see them play together.

When Nico was 4 years old, the worst happened. I remember I had a bad feeling that day, but I didn’t know why. I was in my Spanish class, and when I arrived home, my father told me that Nico had passed away. I did not believe him, because I was only gone for 3 hours and Nico was healthy when I left.  How could this happen? My father said that when Nico was playing with his friends, he suddenly had a surge of discomfort and quickly passed away. There was nothing my father could do.

dr amanda NHV dog Nico

Because of this very abrupt passing, I decided to proceed with a necropsy to try to understand what happened with my little boy. I could not believe that this happened with a very healthy and young dog. I was devastated. The results of the necropsy showed that Nico had a congenital defect in his heart- he was born with this problem, and it was the reason why he passed away so young.

At that time, I was in my third year of vet college. I asked my professor at the university how it was possible that I didn’t know Nico was suffering from a heart condition. Nico looked very healthy and in his time with us, he had seen veterinarians and had many tests performed. Through Nico, I learned the truth about heart disease in dogs the hard way.

The clinical signs of heart disease depend on the type of disease and severity, and it is important to note that in the early stages there may be no symptoms at all. This was the case with my Nico, he did not show any symptoms.

When I was studying for my master’s degree, I began to work with a veterinary cardiologist. More than 85% of the patients in the clinic were dogs and cats with cardiac disease. Here, I had the opportunity to learn more about cardiac problems in dogs and cats. I would like to share with you how you can recognize and help your fur baby with cardiac problems.

It’s important to take your pet to the vet at least once per year to see if there is underlying heart disease.

Because there may be no outward symptoms during the early stages of heart disease, it is important to take your pet to the veterinarian at least once per year to see if there is underlying heart disease. If any abnormalities are detected, the veterinarian can request specific tests, such as an x-ray, electrocardiogram, and cardiac ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.

Some signs of heart disease may include difficulty breathing, changes in behavior, poor appetite, weight loss or gain, fainting/collapsing, weakness, restlessness, edema, and isolation.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for most heart conditions. There are, however some medications that can help the animal to have a better quality of life and live longer.

It’s also important to be watchful of the breeds that are more prone to heart disease. Like Boxers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Schnauzers.

NHV Hearty-Heart is a supplement that can be very helpful for your pet’s cardiac health. It helps to strengthen the heart muscle and support the entire circulatory system. Hearty-Heart is not only a great supplement for pets with existing heart disease, but it can also work as a preventative.

Mia from Hava Heart Rescue
This is Mia from Hava Heart Rescue. She has started taking NHV Hearty Heart in August 2018

I wish I knew about all of this earlier. Even today it is difficult to not cry when I think of Nico. I hope his story can help other pets timely. Miss you, Nico.

* The dog in these pictures is not Nico. We couldn’t find a photo of the beautiful dog. Whenever we do, this blog shall be updated.

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda completed her undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine in 2010 and graduate studies in veterinary pathology (MVSc. 2012 and PhD 2016) at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Dr. Nascimento will be hosting her own blog series and sharing her knowledge with our extended NHV family.

Published: August 31, 2018

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