I have a two year old pit mix who just got diagnosed with a stage three murmur. I have heard about feeding raw hearts to get nutrients and minerals that they need that dry food doesn’t provide.
I wanted to know if adding raw hearts to a dry food diet will hurt or help. He’s eating 4health from tractor supply, which is seemingly the cheapest best rated food I can find. It has 4 stars on here. We have a limited income and I can’t particularly afford an entire raw diet. I want to do whatever is in my power to help him live a long life. He’s only two and I don’t want to worry about him dropping dead for just being excited that I came home, or anything like that.
If you have any information or experience with things like this or affordable supplements you could recommend please do!!!! Thank you so much.
Is the dog on medication? I don’t understand why you think raw food is indicated? What does the vet that examined your dog recommend?
Heart murmurs are not that unusual, often they are benign and asymptomatic….just saying.
Daily brisk walks may help, check with your vet first.SusanMember
Hi, sorry to hear about ur dog, Bone broth is suppose to be really good, I’ve heard it smells awful while it’s cooking but it’s suppose to be really good for the stomach, joints, cancer etc there’s a few recipes online, http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/12/02/pet-bone-broth.aspxC4DMember
I cook this often. It does smell just terrible while cooking, but it is supposed to be very good, I’m not sure that it will help the heart murmur though. 🙁
I don’t know that the chicken hearts would do anything special to help, but feeding more fresh food (cooked or raw) is better overall for any dog. It’s not that expensive to buy some fresh meat and vegetables, cook it in a crock pot and add a bit of the mix to his kibble.
Here is Karen Becker’s link on heart murmurs just to give you some additional info:
Good luck with your pup! 🙂Jo RMember
Raw heart is rich in taurine which is good for some heart issues. Cooking destroys the taurine. I buy whole beef hearts from my local supermarket (do need to order them as they are not a stock item) they are very inexpensive. I freeze them and when ready to use I let them partially thaw as they are much easier to cut up when firm. Taurine is important for issues like dialated myocardiopathy, not sure about heart murmur, but raw heart is a great cheap protein source and dogs love it. Hope this helps.
I second Jo’s recommendation! Raw heart would be wonderful for your dog. Heart is a muscle meat, so it can be given liberally.
Classic pitbull, being excited when they see you 🙂 such wonderful dogs. I second what Jo said and wanted to wish you and your pittie the best of luck in dealing with his condition. I have a pit myself and he’s my world. I can’t imagine worrying I might lose him. Keep us updated.
Thank you guys, I appreciate it. He’s not on medication yet because he hasn’t gotten an echo on his heart. I have that scheduled for the next week. I’m not that sold on raw diets, mostly because I’d feel like their never getting enough nutrients or something. Either way, I would be stupid to not try whatever I can to help my boy. I’ve heard CoQ10 helps with heart health, and talked to my vet about it and he’s iffy on it. Anyone ever used CoQ10 and had any negative effects or positive ones?
Not sure about CoQ10, but I’ve heard Krill Oil is suppose to be for heart health
Is your vet a specialist (cardiac)? I would spend my money on that first, before supplements. See what the specialist recommends.
Check The SkeptVet for info, click on Herbs and Supplements.
The vet who heard the murmur isn’t a cardiac specialist, I took him to get neutered and that’s when they heard it. The doctor who is doing the echo in a week is a specialist. I am going to get a second opinion, although I have no doubt he has a murmur, he is very mucus-y sounding in his breathing every once in a while, and has a hard time taking full deep breaths. I have no issue with waiting until the echo before giving him supplements, it is only a week. I just don’t have a lot of experience with vitamins, or raw food, I am just doing some personal research to see if there is anything more I can do besides giving him heavy medication that they will probably prescribe after the echo. I have already spoke with my vet about CoQ10 and fish oils, he said I can try them, although he told me to be careful with coq10 because he didn’t know the recommended doses.
Did the vet do a lung x-ray? To rule out other reasons for the congestion? Most of my older dogs eventually have murmurs. But, your dog is young…. doesn’t mean that it might just be congenital and benign. Good luck, let us know what they find.
PS: For the age related murmurs, my dogs were never prescribed medication, as they were asymptomatic. No supplements were recommended either, just a healthy lifestyle and avoid high sodium foods.losulMember
Hi Faith. Count me in as another raw heart proponent, I too think it’s a great idea! Raw beef heart is a major staple in my dogs diet. I get from a rural meat market that slaughters and butchers their own locally raised, state inspected beef. It’s not 100% grass fed beef, but pastured on grass and supplemented, especially in the winter, with alfalfa, clover, lespedeza hays and minimal grain. But it’s NOT the typical mass produced feed lot beef that comes from most supermarkets. Clean and lean it only costs me $1.49/lb.
Feed heart and you wouldn’t have any need to supplement with CoQ10! Because in addition to the great source of taurine, heart is also one the very best natural sources of CoQ10! Like the taurine, if you cook it, you will also destroy some of the CoQ10. Would also lose much of most the B vitamins by cooking.
If your dog eats say 1000 calories a day, and you are feeding an otherwise balanced diet, you should be able to substitute about 130 of those calories daily with 4 ounces beef heart daily, and not worry much about throwing the entire diet out of balance without other supplementation. It would help to add some calcium though even with that little bit of addition, as heart is also very high in phosphorous. 4 ounces beef heart has about 250 mg phosphorous, and only very minimal calcium.
I also would reccomend some omega 3 fish oils in the diet, not sure why it would need be krill oil though, unless it’s for the high concentration of astaxanthin?
No, he just decided to go for an echo. This is why I am getting a second opinion, the echo is around $300+ (which is fine). But if it is only used to confirm a murmur, I would like to try other less expensive options, especially if they aren’t going to treat it with any medication. He said that the murmur causes extra blood to build up into the lungs making it harder to breath. I would rather do a heart and lung x-ray first, going to talk with the vet I’m getting a second opinion from about it.
Although my dog is young and the murmur is most likely nothing too serious, it’s still something I am worried about, as this is my first dog as an adult, and the bond is unlike anything else. I’m just being a worried mom! 🙂
Would beef hearts be better than chicken? and how much would you feed a 60lb dog daily?
also krill oil isn’t the only one I am interested in, natural salmon oils are supposed to be good also, it’s hard to search for oils when so many companies are selling it, I can’t just go on a website that is promoting their oils or supplements, when of course they are going to swear by it. I am pretty skeptical of people like ceasar millon and dr mercola, because of course they are going to say it works, everyone has an endgame: money.
Organ meats are higher in fat, therefore I would lean toward lean meats as a topper, broiled chopped up skinless, boneless chicken breast, cooked lean sandwich steak or similar chopped up.
Dogs love chicken, but keep in mind, that chicken tends to be naturally high in sodium.
They love occasional chopped up broiled chicken liver (just a little) added to kibble 🙂
I get my meat for the dogs in the reduced price section of the market, been doing this for years, sometimes I freeze it first, no problems yet.
Great information, Losul!!
Heart is not an organ meat, it’s a muscle meat, so you can confidently offer it to your pup.
Hi Faith G-
I was just curious. Have you had the dog for a long time and he just developed the murmur? Or do you think he came to you with the murmur? I guess I’m just wondering if it is something that can happen over time or if it is usually a congenital condition. One of my cats came to me with a very slight heart murmur when he was a kitten and it has not got any worse at all and he is 5 years old now. I hope that is going to be the case for your pup also.
Raw Heart Proponents-
Faith mentioned that she was going to feed chicken hearts. Losul mentioned Beef Heart. In your opinions, is one better than the other? I have bought both, but always wondered if it made a difference.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by crazy4cats.
I think it may be best to find a vet that you trust and listen to his advice.
the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal, i.e. heart, kidneys, liver, sweetbreads; variety meat
Apparently for raw feeders heart is considered a muscle meat along with gizzards and tongue?
YUM YUM!!! 😉
- This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by crazy4cats.
I’ve had him at lease 8-9 months now, I work as a pet sitter and he used to be a client, his old owner asked if I could find him a home because she could no longer take care of him. I said yes because he was the best dog I’ve ever pet sat, I ended up keeping him. The only thing she had was an old rabies vaccine tag and she knew nothing else about him. So as soon as I got him I got his shots taken care of (they monitored his heart rate, can’t remember if they listened with a stehescope. If they did, they made no effort to tell me if they heard anything unusual) now I’ve gotten him neutered and micro tagged. The old owner was basically no help in telling me his age or the date he was born or any vaccines or allergies he’s had. I contacted the vet from the old rabies tag and all they had was that he came in for a rabies vaccine. He very well could have a congenital heart defect but I couldn’t find any information from previous owners and vets.
Basically all I’m asking for is advice to make sure his murmur stays the way it is or goes away.
I’ve started him with one tiny chicken heart a day minced and mixed in with his dry food. He usually gets boiled chicken a few times a month, as well as a cooked egg.
I just started the chicken heart so I don’t know how well it’s working or if it even is. But he seemed to like it, and hasn’t had any stomach issues yet.
He is so lucky you have him now! I think that adding a little fresh nutritious food to kibble is always a healthy addition. Best wishes!
“Basically all I’m asking for is advice to make sure his murmur stays the way it is or goes away”.
No one can guarantee this. Your best bet is to make an appointment with a specialist.
Take things day by day, he looks good and is responding well to the diet and care you have been providing (from what you describe).
Like I said, in my experience, most murmurs are benign….I have one myself (since I was a kid) it has caused me no problems and I am on no meds because of it. (I had the echo and stress test, blah, blah, blah)
I think losul gave you some good advice and good information about beef heart. The beef heart might be a little more expensive, but it sounds like its well worth it over chicken hearts. And I agree with C4C, a lot of people notice a big difference in their dogs overall health when fresh foods are added to their balanced kibble.C4DMember
Losul did give you some good information, as always. The others have as well. 🙂
Heart is technically considered a muscle meat. It is loaded in natural CoQ10 as well as a host of vitamins. Giving any dog fresh food will make for a healthier dog. I do feed mine a combination of fresh and kibble, simply because I have too many pounds of dogs at my house, otherwise it would all be fresh/raw. Here’s another link from Primal, a reputable raw food company confirming that heart is a muscle meat, even though it’s considered an organ.
Another raw website explaining what the organs are:
Good Luck with your dog! I wish you the best! 🙂
Also to add on to the credibility of Primal, they use veterinary nutritionists to formulate their food. This is confirmed by my vet who is a Science Diet fanatic because of the same reason. She feels that is an important quality for a dog food company to have. So, she does also like Primal.
Something else to consider talking with your vet about would be the possibility of adding Standard Process Canine Cardiac Support.losulMember
Hi again. Sorry for the tardy reply, all.
I’ve some preference for feeding a dog a majority of ruminant meats overall with a lesser amount of poultry overall in my dogs diet, provided the the beef (or other ruminant) is coming from a good, properly raised and fed source. I think the overall fats balance out better that way, and without using much vegetable fats. And as long as I can afford it!!
I wouldn’t necessarily say that beef heart is better, nothing against poultry
hearts, much depends on the source, and for just some supplemental or small batch
use, chicken hearts are handier to use than beef hearts!
I had kind of a bad experience the first time I bought beef hearts a few years ago.(from a different, conventionally raised source, feedlot) I thought never again! They were oversized and completely encased in a way overly tough and thick membrane and excessive suet.. the inside was as bad, and not at all cleaned-gristle, connective tissue,vessels, excessive suetetc., and frankly, they looked old, grayish, and tough. It took alot of effort to clean them enough to suit me, way too much effort, and ended up with alot of waste. It wasn’t worth it, and was a good while before I ever tried beef hearts again. In hindsight some of that gristle
and connective tissue, etc. , wouldn’t have hurt to include anyway!
Where I’ve been getting them the last few times, the outside only has a partial and thin membrane and little suet fat, are very fresh, and the butcher near completely cleans the insides for me, I have not much left to do except cut them up! And I get them for only $1.49/lb cleaned weight! I get good clean liver and kidneys 1.29/lb the same place. I guess not many people around here want to eat heart or organ meats! But the regular and lean cuts of beef are every bit as expensive as anywhere else! So when I make a beef batch I’ve been using the hearts for up to 1/2 of the total muscle meat amount. It equals a good savings vs using all lean human prefered cuts for all the muscle meat. In making a full balanced recipe, I can’t count the heart as organ meat, I still add the small amounts of liver and kidney, and I won’t press the heart amount any beyond 1/2 of the muscle meat count. They say too much heart can cause loose stools, never had that problem or with any any food, but the extra heart I’m using helps to keep some beef in the diet at more an affordable price for me! If one were to use all heart for the muscle meat though, there would very
likely be some deficit somewhere in the nutrition to look for and abundances of others, and I wouldn’t ever advise using overly excessive amounts. Also dogs handle cholesterol differently than humans, but heart, liver and some other organs do contain a disproportionately large amount of cholesterol, something to keep in mind. Don’t over do it!.
Faith, so your dog is about 60lbs. BTW, I believe my dog is 1/2 boston terrier and
1/2 bull terrier of some sort, probably staffy or pit, I’ve got a compact model though,
only about 40 lbs. That’s great that your feller found a loving home with you! I
would assume that his regular diet is around 1150 calories give or take? For your
purposes and for now as supplemental only, yeah I would limit the chicken hearts to
NO more than about 3 or 4 ounces. at least if and until until you are more prepared too see to it that the diet retains balance with your additions. Here, raw Chicken hearts show more calories and fat than the beef hearts, raw. (you might have to enter the serving size) but 100 grams chick hearts (about 3.5 ounces) has about 150 calories. add to that maybe a teaspoon of fish oil a day, an egg a couple times a week, and youre already pushing nearly 20% of unbalanced supplemental calories in his diet, and that then isn’t allowing for any unbalanced treats!
The more things you would add if you do so, or if you go with homemade meals, the more attention you are going to need pay to keeping nutritional balance. And you should really
balance out the extra phosphorus you are adding as it is, with calcium supplement.
If using finely ground eggshell, add 1/2 teaspoon to 2/3 t for each 1 lb of meat, organs, egg etc used. Calcium is very important in a dog’s diet, overall calcium in the diet should at least equal the amount of phosphorus, but also never going more than 2X the amount of phosphorus. a ratio of between 1:1 to 2:1. Most commercial diets I think fall between a ratio of 1.2:1 and 1.6:1, so there would likely be enough buffer already there in your commercial diet to cover your extra phosporus additions, but if me, I would still add at least a bit of calcium anyway.
raw chicken hearts
raw beef hearts
I hear ya on financial bias. dogaware.com is a great site with lots of useful info, some is a little outdated, as Mary Strauss is not so active anymore, but she has nothing to sell as far as I know. and has generously accumulated a ton of good info/articles there.
I prefer a pump bottle for fish oil, so I use Iceland Pure sardine/anchovy, I keep it in the fridge and get a fresh bottle every 3 months. This brand already has some mixed tocopherols in it (vit E), but I still add some additional E in my dog’s diet.
I use some veggies, fruits, and even some select grains, but never in abundance. I
don’t know if you’ve ever heard the old idiom “as fit as a butcher’s dog” I don’t
think the typical old time butcher fed his dog an abundance of starchy plant
material!!! I also still use 25% commercial kibble, haven’t ever been able to get away from it completely for various reasons.
Lastly, I might not be around here to write much anymore, but as you can see from the replies to your thread(and other threads) there are so many awesomely helpful people, good people, on site to help with questions you have, or even just support!! And even if they don’t have answers right away, they have also proven to be excellent researchers!!!
- This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by losul.
The echo is important to rule out a leaky valve, found a decent article on mitral valve insufficiency. Excerpt below: Can’t post the link but you can find the complete article at:
Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Education, Search articles for: Heart Failure (Mitral Valve Insufficiency) in the Dog
Treatment of dogs with mitral insufficiency depends upon the size of the heart and if clinical signs are present. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of valvular heart disease in dogs are based on classifying dogs into several stages:
•Stage A: Dogs with no murmur or symptoms but who are at risk of developing valvular heart disease. These include Cavalier King Charles spaniels and small breeds of dogs.
•Stage B1: Dogs with no heart enlargement or symptoms.
•Stage B2: Dogs with enlarged left atriums and/or ventricles but no symptoms.
•Stage C: Dogs with heart enlargement and symptoms of congestive heart failure.
•Stage D: Dogs not responding to treatment for congestive heart failure.
Dogs in Stages A and B1 generally do not receive treatment, but are monitored for any changes in heart size or progression into symptoms.
Treatment of dogs in Stage B2 is controversial. Some veterinarians believe treatment of these dogs will slow progression of the disease, others do not.
Treatment of dogs in the Stage C with heart enlargement and symptoms is based on medications to help the heart pump more efficiently. Drugs that may be used include diuretics that cause the dog to urinate more and thereby remove excess fluids from his lungs. These include furosemide (Lasix) or spironolactone .
Medications such as pimobendan or an angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitor like enalapril may be given to help the heart pump more efficiently. Digoxin, another heart medication may also be prescribed. If the dog does not respond well to these medications and is in Stage D, other therapies such as amlodipine may be used. Cough suppressants and bronchodilators may be prescribed is there is a chronic cough.
Diets lower in sodium may assist in decreasing the fluid build-up. It is important to maintain adequate protein intake. Attempts should be made to maintain the dog at his ideal weight. The use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements is often recommended.
What is prognosis for dogs with mitral valve insufficiency?
Many dogs with heart murmurs due to mitral valve insufficiency may live for years before developing any symptoms. They should be carefully monitored however, so treatment can be started as soon as warranted. In those dogs with heart failure, approximately half will not survive for more than 6-12 months.
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