This is called cardiac cachexia, and you can google and read about it. There is really not much that can be done. I'd just be happy that his appetite is still good.
I absolutely would not feed anything extra like the Satin Balls - way too high in sodium and way too high in phosphorus and high fat also. Most dogs in advanced heart failure have marginal kidney functioning and I sure wouldn't feed a high phosphorus food. Managing heart failure and concurrent kidney failure is no fun - I've been there. I tried to add good quality protein with lower phosphorus amounts for my geriatric dogs with heart disease - often cooked chicken thigh and/or fish. This would be added to the regular high quality commercial food.
I have friends with geriatric dogs who are using water treadmill therapy to add muscle mass and strengthen rear legs - but these dogs are not in heart failure. I'd want to speak with the cardiologist before starting any exercise program like that.
Sorry- I didn't pay careful attention to the fact that this is a dog with severe health issues! I just took in a rescue/foster who is in bad shape (diabetes that hasn't been managed and the poor guy is literally skin and bones) so my mind was elsewhere. Of course, Pat is right- she is so knowledgeable! Good luck to you!
Originally Posted by Pat
So glad Pat chimed in here...makes total sense!!! If you consult with your cardiologist, you might want to look into a little bit of an exercise (non cardio) program. Shelby had back to back knee surgeries and 16 weeks confinement. She lost muscle mass in her back legs and we did underwater treadmill therapy and some at home exercises. I know you're in my part of town and this is where we went http://www.aarcsd.com/index.htm. Dr. Sosna is awesome!! Go to the gallery section and you can see pictures of Shelby doing her exercises.....high stepping, dancing, balancing. If your cardiologist approves, you may want to see if Clare can work with you on Sydney's muscle mass, if it's important it be built back up.
I don't have any advice, but thinking positive thoughts for you guys. Lots of hugs from Sonny. :hug:
Thanks all for all the good suggestions. My main focus is to keep Sydney's diet as healthy as possible. At his age and with his health issues, I don't think he can handle extra exercise, I let him do what he can. I am looking at all your suggestions to see if any of them will be of benefit.
I was going to suggest water therapy as well, but I'm not sure if his heart would be able to handle it. Perhaps you could ask your vet about it?
What about switching him to very high calorie foods like Ziwipeak? That way, he doesn't have to eat that much to be taking in more calories. Some other very high calorie foods are Orijen, Nature's Variety Instinct, and EVO. I think the Instinct Chicken formula is something like 450kcal/cup, while Wellness is generally around 350kcal/cup or so. If Ziwipeak is available where you are, that would be the best choice IMO. It's soft, easily chewed, and very calorie dense. Much more so than kibble.
Sweet Sydney, I am sure at this point he is loving any extra food he is getting, and just wants a longer snooze. It's a hard balancing act, but most important is just keeping his heart under less stress. I doubt without proper exercise you'd be able to out decent muscle weight on him, but would be thankful he doesn't look like skin and bones.
But, I am so very glad to hear that he is feeling decent, and I know you are just hugging on that cute face every day.