Food Supplements for Cats with Feline Heart Disease

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Cat Supplements for Feline Heart Disease

There are several supplements commonly used to aid in treating feline heart disease.

The most common type of heart disease seen in cats is feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This is a disease which causes the heart muscle of the cat to become thickened and unable to function normally.

Less commonly seen is feline dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease in which the heart muscle becomes weakened. This also results in the inability of the heart to function normally.

Nutritional Supplements as a Form of Treatment for Feline Cardiomyopathy

There are many different medications that are used to treat feline cardiomyopathy, including furosemide, enalapril or benazepril, amlodipine and others. Nutritional supplements are often recommended as part of the treatment for these cats as well.

It is important to realize that these nutritional supplements are used in conjunction with other medications, not usually as a sole means of treating the disease.

Taurine Supplementation for Feline Heart Disease

Taurine is an amino acid that is essential to the diet of the cat. Taurine deficiency is one of the documented causes of feline dilated cardiomyopathy. Most cats with a true taurine deficiency respond favorably to a taurine supplement in a fairly short period of time.

Taurine is also quite commonly used to supplement cats with heart disease that do not have a documented taurine deficiency. Evidence that this supplementation is helpful is anecdotal but many veterinarians believe there may some benefit.

Supplementing the Feline Diet with Carnitine

Many cat owners with cats suffering from heart disease supplement with carnitine as well. Carnitine is a compound that is derived from the metabolism of amino acids.

Carnitine deficiency has been implicated as a cause of heart muscle disease in dogs. Carnitine supplementation in these cases is beneficial to the dog.

In cats, the picture is not so clear. However, many veterinarians do believe that carnitine is useful is treating cardiomyopathy in the cat also.

Enzyme CoQ10 as a Cat Supplement

Enzyme CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant and is used in many cases to aid in treating feline dilated cardiomyopathy.

Antioxidants work by controlling free radicals which can build up in the body and destroy healthy cells. Many veterinarians and scientists believe that antioxidants, such as CoQ10, can aid in keeping cells healthy in many different tissues, including the heart. For this reason, it is often used as a supplement in treating heart disease in the cat.

These nutritional supplements are generally given indefinitely, once started to treat heart disease. They can be given concurrently with most other heart medications. They are generally not curative (except in the case of taurine in some cases of dilated cardiomyopathy) but many veterinarians and cat owners believe they can be useful in aiding in the treatment of feline heart disease.

Photo Courtesy of md888/Flickr.com

About Lorie Huston, DVM

Lorie Huston, DVM has written 88 posts in this blog.

Lorie Huston is a veterinarian with 20+ years of experience with dogs and cats. She is also a talented free-lance author and blogger and has contributed to numerous publications, including Pet Sitter's WORLD, FIDOFriendly, Dancing Dog Blog, Dawg Business and many others. Lorie is the featured pet care writer at Suite101.com, a contributing writer in Dog and Cat Diseases and Conditions at About.com and the National Pet Health Examiner at Examiner.com. In addition, she is a host of the popular podcast/review site, Animal Cafe.

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Comments

  1. J. Crews says

    I have a 14 yr old Persian cat with HCM, diagnosed over 3 years ago. I have had an ultrasound done each succeeding year to determine it’s progression. My holistic vet initially had him on a Standard Process supplement, forgot the name, Feline Cardio??? As well as a couple other things. I did my research and eventually moved him over to Thorne’s Bio-cardio (Oh, be sure to price search, you wouldn’t believe the variations in prices on this product). Each ultrasound has shown essentially NO more progression. For the past two years, this has been the constant and same “treatment” that I have given him. I have also recently started giving him a product called “Get Up & Go” for older pets. Has lots of natural anti-inflammatory ingredients in it that have helped me with my joints. I imagine that might also be helping with his heart. It’s expensive, but for cats, you only give half a capsule, so it lasts almost a year for a $60-ish bottle. Oh, for me the trick is to get it and leave the bottle OPEN so that as much moisture can get into it, without you actually dumping water in it. The DMG will quickly make the ingredients inside the capsule squishily “harden”. This is going to happen, no matter how well you keep the bottle sealed, or how many moisture absorbers you dump into it. Yes, in the beginning, I fought the good fight, then learned to make it work for me. Now I try to at least a few weeks before I need a new bottle and keep it open in the kitchen (bathroom would be a good place as well). This allows you to pop it out of the gel-cap, tear it in half (I put the other half under a lid (I think from a waterless cat shampoo, I’ve also used the top to spray bottles) to keep it fresh for the next day. Sorry for the long statement, but maybe it will help someone. As old as he is, he is extremely active and with no serious progression of his condition, this product is the only thing that could be holding it back.

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