Tolerability and clinical efficacy of oral potassium chloride for treatment of hypochloremia in canine congestive heart failure

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs with stable congestive heart failure (CHF) and hypochloremia (low blood chloride concentrations) for a clinical trial evaluating the effect of adding oral potassium chloride (KCl) to standard-of-care CHF medications on blood chloride levels and the degree of activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS).

Our Cardiologist Dr. Darcy Adin examining one of our cardiology patients.
Our Cardiologist Dr. Darcy Adin examining one of our study patients.

Enrollment Status: Enrolling

Inclusion Criteria: Dogs that weigh more than 4 lbs, have stable CHF (not requiring hospitalization), and hypochloremia can be considered for enrollment.

Exclusion Criteria: Dogs with normal blood chloride concentrations, advanced kidney disease, weight <4 lbs, inability to take standard-of-care CHF medications or significant medical conditions other than CHF are not eligible for inclusion. Dogs that are hospitalized for CHF treatment can be considered for enrollment 2 weeks after hospital discharge.

Study design: This is a randomized, placebo-controlled study where dogs will receive either treatment with oral KCl supplementation or placebo for 2 months. 3-5 visits to UF Cardiology are required depending on whether dose adjustments are made. Tests that will be done at these visits include bloodwork, chest xrays and an echocardiogram.

Costs: The study will cover the cost of examinations, bloodwork, chest xrays, echocardiogram, and study supplement. The cost of standard-of-care CHF medications is not covered by the study.

Contact: Dr. Darcy Adin, Cardiology Service 352 392 2235.  If you have further questions or want to see if your dog qualifies, please complete the Cardiology Study Interest Form.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Darcy Adin

Background: The objective of this study is to determine if oral KCl supplementation will increase serum chloride concentrations and thereby suppress the RAAS in dogs with CHF and hypochloremia (low blood chloride concentrations). Hypochloremia has been recently shown to be a negative prognostic indicator in both dogs and people with CHF, possibly because it causes RAAS activation, and so investigating methods to correct it are warranted. Oral KCl supplementation is one way to provide chloride to the body without giving extra sodium. Additionally, the potassium supplementation might prove helpful for dogs with CHF. Bloodwork will be frequently monitored to be sure that chloride and potassium concentrations do not become too high. We will also assess the effect of increasing blood chloride levels on the RAAS. Because RAAS activation contributes to heart disease progression, addressing chloride through supplementation could be a way to slow disease progression in dogs with CHF.

Funding for the research is provided through the efforts and generosity of the AKC Canine Health Foundation.


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