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Dogs and Congestive Heart Failure

Dogs and Congestive Heart Failure

Dogs and Congestive Heart Failure

At our Ace Canine office congestive heart failure especially Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is almost a daily enquiry.  We have several supplements especially formulated at clinical strength to offer support in conjunction with Veterinary medication.  We thought we’d share some details on what it is and where our supplements fit in.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a term that refers to the heart's inability to pump sufficient blood to the body reducing oxygen supply. There are many causes of CHF with the two most regularly diagnosed as Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

a cross section drawing of a healthy heart showing 4 chambers in proportion and without damage.

Mitral Valve Disease is a common in dogs caused by age-related changes to the valves of the heart. MVD is generally seen in older, small breed dogs (including Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, poodles, Terriers, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Schnauzers) but can also be seen in medium to large breed dogs (Labradors, Spaniels and Lurchers).

Made of delicate tissue the mitral valve separates the two chambers on the left side of the heart: the left atrium (top chamber) and the left ventricle (bottom chamber). In dogs with MVD, the mitral valve action becomes irregular and droopy; this results in an imperfect seal and leakage through the valve. This backward leakage is turbulent and can be heard on examination as a heart murmur.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) DCM affects the heart muscle, causing it to become weak and thin. Dogs with DCM develop an enlarged, floppy heart that struggles to pump blood around the body sufficiently and usually have an irregular heartbeat. DCM can affect any breed of dog but is more common in large/giant breed dogs and some breeds of Spaniel.

a drawing showing the difference in the size of chambers from a healthy heart to onc with stretched chambers demonstrating Dilated Cardiomyopathy











DCM is a genetic disease (meaning it’s passed from parent to puppy), but there are some cases of dogs developing it due to poor diet, a virus or toxin, or certain medications that affect the heart. DCM tends to go undetected for years because it usually develops gradually.

Congestive Heart Failure and the difference between right-sided and left-sided CHF.

Clinical signs of CHF vary depending on whether the dog has left- or right-sided heart failure.

Right-sided congestive heart failure (RS-CHF) causes poor blood return to the heart. This blood backs up into the systemic circulation (the main circulation of the body) and consequently causes congestion. Fluid accumulates in the abdomen, impairing the function of the organs in these areas. The abdomen may fill with fluid and fluid may also leak from veins in the limbs, causing swelling, known as peripheral oedema.

Left-sided congestive heart failure (LS-CHF) is when the heart pumps, instead of the left ventricle pushing the blood into the systemic circulation, some blood leaks through the mitral valve back into the left atrium and then it backs up into the lungs. Fluid then seeps into the lung tissue resulting in pulmonary oedema. This is usually the cause of coughing and difficulty breathing. Left-sided congestive heart failure (LS-CHF) is the more common form of congestive heart failure. The classic signs of heart failure, coughing and fluid in the chest, are most commonly caused by LS-CHF.

What are the signs of CHF

The most common clinical sign of congestive heart failure (CHF) is persistent coughing accompanied by difficulty breathing and panting. This is due mainly to the build-up of fluid in the lungs. The enlarged heart may also push against the trachea, causing discomfort that can create a cough.

Many dogs with CHF will be lethargic, have reduced energy levels, and not engage in playing or walking as they did. Coughing when resting or sleeping, excessive panting, loss of appetite, a distended belly, and pale or bluish tinged gums are also signs associated with heart failure. indicative of lack of appetite the dog will show weight loss and muscle wastage due to the impact on other body systems. If you notice any of these signs develop in your pet, seek veterinary advice.

Can dogs have heart attacks?

Heart attacks are unusual in dogs but unexpected and sudden death in dogs diagnosed with any form of heart disease is possible. 

How is CHF diagnosed?

There are several tests to establish CHF and the type.

Listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope is the first step in diagnosing heart disease. Heart murmurs are detected this way; the murmur's location, intensity and rhythm help establish its type. The lung sounds help establish evidence of changes associated with heart failure.  This can then lead onto X-rays, blood and urine tests and perhaps an ECG (Electrocardiogram) and Ultrasound.

Accurate diagnosis gives your Vet a much better guide to the type and extent of treatment necessary.

There are a range of cardiac care medications that can be used to treat congestive heart failure, as with people the treatment regime must be individual to your dog. With proper treatment, many dogs can live a normal life for many months to years.

Your vet will treat your dog on at least three fronts using drugs to target the following:

Improve the contractability of heart muscle cells (common drug is Vetmedin)

Reduce the workload on the heart by relaxing the arteries and veins.

Reduce the fluid build-up around the body, especially the lungs and the cause of the cough symptom (common drugs are Spirolactone and Furosemide)

Ace Canine Supplements

In conjunction with veterinary medication our heartcare supplements are clinical strength to deliver the full recommended dose.

The amino acids Taurine and L-Carnitine have a proven role in supporting dogs with DCM.  Older dogs produce reduced amounts of these amino acids and coupled with dietary deficiencies the hearts efficiency is reduced.



Is an L-carnitine and Taurine amino acid based oral liquid available in 125ml bottles developed to aid heart muscle development in dogs undergoing cardiac therapy or recovering from illness for use in dogs with heart conditions including DCM, CDRM and congestive heart failure.

A brown bottle with white and yellow label containing Carnicare Heart Product from Ace Canine, along with a syringe used for measuring the dose. 








Find out more about Carnicare, the science behind it and our client feedback at https://www.ace-canine.com/products/carnicare


Cardiomega Capsules

 a white plastic pot with safety lid with a white, grey and orange label containing Cardiomega capsules

A convenient, concentrated Omega-3 supplement that helps you provide your dog with a nutritional content for heart health.

There is now an overwhelming body of evidence that EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids from fish play a major role in contributing to good heart health, longevity and achievement of full potential. 

There is no clinical evidence that plant derived Omega 3 oils, like Flax oil for example, can provide any benefit to the heart. In fact legislation does not permit any such claims for non-marine oils. Cardiomega has up to 50 times greater bio-availability than all other fish oils, 350mg in each capsule provides the Omega-3 DHA/EPA absorption equivalent to 4-6 grams of fish oil. It exceeds both European and U.S. standards for purity – no toxins or contaminants.

Find out more about Cardiomega, the science behind it and our client feedback at https://www.ace-canine.com/products/cardiomega-omega-3-sprinkle-capsules


Trimega Salmon Sprinkles – For almost everything

 A white pot that will sit on the palm of your hand, it has a white and blue label featuring an elderly Labrador and a young Labrador puppy.  The label is blue and white.

Learning, Eyesight, Cardiovascular, Joints, Skin & Coat, Immune System, Senility and Itching!

Trimega is the first nutritional supplement for dogs that carries the omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, directly to the tissues as naturally occurring marine phospholipids. These phospholipids aid in transporting the EPA and DHA through cellular membranes directly to specific cellular targets, such as cardiac and neural cells. 

From brain development in puppies to supporting and protecting for their long term future, for vitality, health and much tail wagging happiness – Trimega is the way forward.

Find out more about Trimega https://www.ace-canine.com/products/trimega-omega-3-from-salmon here, the science behind the product and customer reviews. 



Coming soon


The most recent clinical research indicates that taurine is more beneficial than previously thought, and much higher levels of taurine offer a marked improvement in supporting dogs with CHF.  In recognition that research also shows that the majority of dogs with CHF are deficient in magnesium we are boosting the magnesium content as well. Our current Carnicare product is being updated to CarnicareMax  in which we aim to have the highest  available levels of taurine,      l-carnitine and magnesium.

If you’d like to be kept updated on progress and a launch date, please email support@ace-canine.com.


 The Ace Canine logo, a yellow circle showing a drawing of a black dog play bowing to a ball.

Ace Canine Healthcare



0118 9842871


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