Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

“Dog illness symptoms to be aware of”

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Congestive heart failure in dogs can become a problem in any dog breed or size. Although Cardiomyopathy is more prevalent in the dog health extra large breed dogs or giant dogs.

A condition which restricts the normal blood flow of the heart to the tissues of the body. When this occurs there is often retention of fluid in the lungs and other body cavities which will lead to CHF.

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Causes of congestive heart failure in dogs

Congenital defects. These are birth heart defects that the dog is born with.

Cardiomyopathy - this is a disease of the heart muscle Heart valve degeneration The lining of the heart (pericardium) can become diseased

Arrhythmias - these are irregular heartbeats caused by misfiring of the electrical impulses within the heart.

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Dog Illness Symptoms

Shortness of breath


Weight loss due to the fact that the dog has trouble breathing while eating


Difficulty breathing


Your veterinarian makes the diagnosis. Several tests will be performed including a complete physical examination. During this examination there will be special emphasis on the sounds of the heart and lungs of your dog.

If these sounds are abnormal, a chest X-ray will be done. Your vet will check blood pressure and do an EKG as well. If necessary the vet will also do an ultrasound of the heart which will give a good clue as to the condition of the heart muscle and the ability of the heart valves to perform adequately.

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Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

Appropriate treatment for congestive heart failure in dogs will depend on the underlying cause of the disease. Initially your dog may have to be hospitalized.

During that hospitalization oxygen will be administered along with a water pill,(diuretic such as Lasix) and other medicines such as nitroglycerine which dilates the affected blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Other medications to improve the function of the heart may also be prescribed. Your dogs diet will change. Congestive heart failure in dogs will require a low salt diet.

This will help prevent the retention of fluids. Digoxin will assist with improving the function of the heart and keep it at a steady rate. Dietary supplements may also be ordered.

Bringing your dog home

The most important thing for you to do when you bring your dog home is to follow the veterinarians directions very carefully. All medication must be administered as ordered and on a regular basis. Observe your pet and be aware of the activity level and the interest shown in the normal activities of the family. Appetite needs to be observed.

If your dog has a decrease in appetite and potentially a weight loss, it can be due to difficulty breathing and lack of interest. This is a danger sign.Note the presence of coughing or tiring with minimal activity.

Under no circumstances should you stop or change your dogs medication without consulting with your veterinarian. Do not keep your dog from drinking water. Although your dog may urinate more, it is important to maintain good hydration at all times.

In the event that your dog has difficulty breathing, consider it an emergency. At this time you should contact your veterinarian and prepare to take your dog for an examination.

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Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs to Health


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