First, some info/background... (sorry so long in advance!)
I have a wonderful little Pomeranian/Chihuahua cross fur-baby that just turned 9 years old in May. His name is "Iggy". He was diagnosed with a heart murmur (Grade 2) a few years ago, but the vet at the time said it was common and nothing to worry about... nothing needed to be done.
He recently developed coughing fits whenever he tried to run and play, so I took him to the vet (a different one than the one we saw before). It was determined that he still had a Grade 2 heart murmur, and the vet didn't hear any fluid or congestion when she listened to him. So, the vet and I both initially thought he had a collapsing trachea since he never coughs any other time except when he gets excited and is active. So, we tried a drug called Cerenia to see if it would help with his cough. Well, it didn't make any difference and didn't work at all.
So, I took him back to the vet and asked if she could just go ahead and do some x-rays of his heart to see if maybe it WAS his heart causing the cough.
Unfortunately, she did find his heart to be enlarged and noticed that he DOES have a little fluid in his lungs (pulmonary edema). It appears he is in the early stages of Congestive Heart Failure.
So, the vet prescribed Vetmedin, Lasix and Benazepril and I have been giving him those drugs exactly as prescribed.
We also had a cardiologist take a look at Iggy via ultrasound to see exactly what was happening. They decided to check his abdomen for fluid during the ultrasound, and that's when they ALSO found his liver is enlarged and it appears he may have a tumor on one of his adrenals. (They said there is a 50/50 chance of the tumor being cancerous). Therefore, based on other indicators in his bloodwork, he likely has Cushing's Disease too.
They don't know what to do about the Cushing's Disease since removing the tumor on his adrenal is all they could do to resolve it. However, it would be too risky to do that with his heart situation. (They aren't sure why his liver is enlarged.)
Firstly - I hate continuing to give him these RX heart drugs because I'm fearful of them causing other issues with his kidneys and liver... but, for now, I've been giving them to him.
With the vet's permission, I've been supplementing his RX medication with CoQ10 drops as well as a supplement called "Formula CV" that is often recommended by holistic vets for heart disease/failure. I also give him Ark Naturals Heart Healthy treats (2 per day - I wrap 2 of his RX meds inside them).
As for his diet, he eats freeze-dried raw food (Primal and SoJo's Grain Free).
I want to add some things to help with his liver and the adrenal tumor as well. I have heard that turmeric has been shown to shrink tumors, so I'd like to try it (in the form of Golden Paste). I'd also like to try Milk Thistle and Dandelion to help support his liver.
But, my struggle - where I need some guidance - is regarding how to manage, and even possibly reverse, his health issues without giving him ANY of the heart meds from the vet.
We contacted a holistic vet locally, but it's WAY too expensive for us to see her. (We have already spent over $1000 on x-rays, ultrasounds and meds at the regular vet).
So, here is what I would LIKE to do:
- Take him off of the Vetmedin, Lasix and Benazepril
- Place him on a natural treatment plan to include all of the following:
----- For his heart failure - Formula CV and CoQ10
----- For his enlarged liver - Milk Thistle and Dandelion ("Liver Defense")
----- For his adrenal tumor - Golden Paste (Turmeric, Black Pepper and Coconut Oil)
1 - Does anyone know if any of the above would counteract one another or interact negatively with one another?
2 - Has anyone had any experience managing heart failure with liver and adrenal issues all at the same time with any success WITHOUT conventional vet-prescribed meds?
3 - If I continue his conventional vet-prescribed heart meds, does anyone know if I could ALSO give him all of the above supplements with the conventional meds without having any negative interactions?
My goal is to try to IMPROVE his health so that he may still have a full, high quality life. I want him to feel good and continue running, jumping and playing the way he loves to without going into coughing fits. I feel like the RX heart meds the vet prescribed are simply managing symptoms versus any attempt to IMPROVE his situation.
In the early stages of heart failure in dogs, I've read that it can sometimes be reversed with proper diet and supplementation.
Thanks for any experience and guidance anyone may be able to share.