Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

Dogs are man's best friend and there is nothing more important than our dog's health. Today's topic will cover congestive heart failure. We will learn to know and understand what it is, what it does and how we can prevent such a disease from happening to our dogs.

Congestive heart failures is the final result of a massive heart disease or a genetic malformation of the heart muscle. These conditions can severely lessen the heart's ability to pump effectively thus, fluid retention in the dog's body cavities eventually lead to a complete heart failure. Due to the many causes of heart failure, this disease can be seen in dogs of any age or breed but larger breeds are more apt in having this condition as opposed to smaller breeds. Some of the most prone breeds are Dobermans, Boxers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Cocker Spaniels and Scottish Deerhounds. There are many things that can cause failure in your dog's heart. Some are treatable and some are not.

Some common causes of congestive heart failures are:

  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Heartworm
  • Degeneration of the heart valve
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Inflammation and disease of the pericardium
  • Arrhythmia
There are two types of congestive heart failure, the left CHF and the right CHF. They have some symptoms that are identical and some that are different but are all dangerous to your dog's health.

With the left CHF, your dog should have the following symptoms:
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing
  • Fainting
For the Right CHF, your dog should be feeling these symptoms:
  • Swollen abdomen due to fluid build up
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing
  • Swelling of the limbs

Congestive heart failure in dogs
may be diagnosed by your vet by using a stethoscope to listen to your dog's heart and lungs. Other testing procedures that may be used are x-rays, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and measuring blood pressure. Doing these tests will allow the vet to develop a treatment plan. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the dog's heart problem. Treatment may be done at a dog hospital or at home. When at home, always monitor your dog's diet and activities. Try to make it stress free for your dog and let him enjoy an activity level where he is comfortable with at his own pace. Do not try to force him. Anything that looks out of the ordinary should be immediately addressed to your vet. Do not try to do things on your own so as to avoid complicating your dog health.

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