Heart and Blood: Heart Medicine
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Dog Heart Medicine; Principle of Therapy
Canine heart medicine is selected and then administered according to a confirmatory diagnosis reached by a veterinarian. Other factors in the selection of particular medicine includes age, breed, weight, severity, anatomical and over all physiological status of patient.
Treating a dog heart condition is specifically based upon a logic; a prescribed heart medicine should be capable of maintaining and correcting various abnormalities which are caused by canine heart disease. Standards for a canine heart medicine's action may include different patterns, such as:
- Reduction of chronic stress over cardiac muscular fibers
- Excessive fluids in the chest cavity and around heart, i.e. edema should be reduced
- Improvement in circulation and enhancement of venous and arterial strength
- Regulation of heart rate and/or rhythm, i.e. normalizing heart activity
- Improvement in oxygenation of blood, i.e. enhancing respiration and myocardial strength
- Immunity of body should be improved
- Chances of congestion in any part of circulatory and cardiovascular system should be minimized
- Elimination of any parasitic and microorganisms nourishing in the cardiovascular system (e.g; heartworm)
Above mentioned principles are the base for successful canine heart treatment, not only in dogs, but also in other animals and humans as well. Dog heart medicine, therefore is selected on the basis of these principles.
Types of Heart Medicine:
There are numerous direct or indirect canine heart medicines available, which are administered in accomplishing the aforementioned goals/principles of therapy. A number of drugs and therapeutics have been researched and tested for treating the conditions caused by dog heart diseases,
The following are the most commonly used dog heart medicines today:
- Diuretics: Diuretics are the drugs which elevate the rate of urination. These are used for the excretion of extra fluids which gets accumulated around the heart and in the chest cavity, causing wetness, stiffness and slowed down lung activity. Moreover, fluids accumulated around the heart inhibits the heart to pump blood at full strength. Different diuretics such as Furosemide, Hydrochlorthiazide, Spironolactone etc. are used for eliminating extra fluids from the body by increasing renal (kidneys) activity.
- Glycosides: These are drugs used for canine congestive heart failure (CHF). Digitalis and Digoxin are some examples, which enhance heart contraction and thus improves the pumping activity of the cardiac muscles. These drugs are also used for minimizing cardiac remodeling or replacement of cardiac muscles with connective tissues and reduces the load on the cardiac tissues. All of the actions performed by glycosides collectively improves cardiac output, particularly in cases where there is an emergency.
- ACE Inhibitors: ACE Inhibitors or “Angiotension-Converting-Enzymes Inhibitors” are dog heart medicines used for treating canine congestive heart failure and hypertension in dogs. These drugs are specifically administered for reducing pressure and tension over the cardiac muscles, reducing the chance of cardiac tissue injuries, and dilates the veins. This group of therapeutics are mostly administered only in advanced stages of dog heart failure.
- Theophylline: This drug acts as a bronchodilator and improves overall ventilation. These drugs are used with Amrinone and Milrinone to control overall ventilation, and are proven to be effective vascular dilators.
- Antiarrhythmics: These are a type of dog heart medicine that are administered to manage ventricular arrhythmias or cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heart beats). Cardiac dysrhythima may include fast or slower heart beats and/or an irregular pattern of heart beats, which mostly is a life threatening condition, a condition which is treated as a medical emergency. Different dog heart medications such as Procainamide, Quinidine, Altenolol, Propranolol, Metoprolol etc. are used for treating arrhythias in dogs.
- Atropine: This is a life saving dog heart medicine, which rapidly increases heart rate. It is very useful in cases where the heart beat is too slow, a condition that is a “Real Medical Emergency”.
- Anticoagulants: Drugs such as Aspirin and Coumadin are used to prevent any blockage or narrowness caused by thrombi (blood clot) or emboli(s) in the veins or heart compounds. In general, these are called “Blood thinners” in cardiology.
- Natural Remedies: Natural products and herbal/homeopathic remedies are preparations, which are mostly used for improving cardiac muscle strength and to enhance immunity. There are a number of effective dog heart medicines which are basically extracted from natural and herbal products. Commercially available natural canine heart medicines are used as tonics and immunity supportive supplements, which strengthens cardiac activity and improves the immune status of patient. Examples include Heart and Circulation Tonic to support heart health and Immunity and Liver Support to help strengthen the immune system. These remedies are most useful if used along with the specific treatment recommended by a veterinarian of any of dog heart disease. Regular use is highly recommended to maintain overall cardiac health.
Almost all canine heart medicines are only administered after a clear and confirmed diagnosis. Also, the route, frequency and dosage is also decided on the basis of the health, age, breed, weight and overall status of the patient. It is always required that dog owners consult a veterinarian for treatment of canine heart conditions. Improper selection and administration of drugs can leave a dog with severe toxicity and a medical emergency, such as shock, coma and sudden death.