Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs Signs

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Bring Your Pet To Veg For All Symptoms Of Heart Failure In Dogs And Cats

Congestive Heart Failure & Enlarged Heart in Dogs

As you can see, there are many signs of heart failure associated with dogs and cats. If you have a senior pet, or any pet with a known chronic health condition, its a good idea to learn these symptoms. This way, youll know when somethings going wrong with your pet, and youll be ready to go to the vet.

Remember that there is no cure for heart failure. Although some pets may live a long time with early to moderate stages of heart failure, it will eventually advance beyond any treatment or management. Your vet will help you choose when euthanasia may be the best option for your pet.

If you notice your pet exhibiting any of the symptoms of heart failure in dogs and cats mentioned above, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible. VEG has locations all over the country, with most of them being open 24 hours a day and all of them being open 24 hours on weekends and holidays. All of our hospitals are staffed with compassionate, caring professionals who always put the wellbeing and comfort of your pet first. So dont wait, make sure your pet gets the care she needs by calling and speaking to one of our emergency vets now.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Chf In Dogs

A vet makes his diagnosis using some or all of the following:

  • Chest x-rays: The vet uses X-rays to observe the physical conditions and characteristics of the heart, such as the hearts size and shape.
  • Electrocardiogram : ECG can detect the presence of arrhythmia, i.e. irregular heartbeats.
  • Echocardiograms: These can determine the extent of normality and functioning of the heart, such as the strength of heartbeats, or the presence of congenital birth defects.
  • Blood and urine tests: The vet needs these tests to determine the proper functioning of the kidneys, liver and other organs. If he finds abnormalities, it may indicate that one or more of these organs are involved in the heart failure process, or the dog patient is suffering from some other diseases.
  • Heartworm tests: As heartworm infestations can cause heart disease, tests for the presence of heartworm larvae are also necessary.

Treatment of the heart failure itself involves mainly the use of medications to increase heart function and prevent cardiac arrhythmias.

Other additional treatment includes the use of supplements and vitamins, dietary control, and exercise restriction.

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Less Tolerant Of Exercise

Even if youre not a fan of exercise, you should be making sure your pet gets enough of it to stay healthy. One of the less obvious signs of heart disease may be your pets unwillingness to exercise. Its normal if theyre panting or breathing heavily after a vigorous round of play, but if it takes them a long time to recover or they dont want to play at all, this could be a sign that your pet needs a checkup.

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My Dog Has Congestive Heart Failure Will He Recover

Heart damage caused by heart disease in dogs is generally non-repairable. However, the build-up of fluid can be reversed, allowing your dog to have a better quality of life. Its important to note that this improvement is temporary the heart disease is still there, and eventually, the drugs will stop working.

The good news is that, depending on the severity of the congestive heart failure, many dogs will live for months or even years after a CHF diagnosis. In one study, the average survival time of cases of severe heart failure i.e those with a second episode despite already being on medication was over 9 months.

How To Prevent Chf In Dogs

Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

While most cases of heart disease are associated with age or genetic predisposition, there are two preventable forms of heart diseaseheartworm disease and diet-associated cardiomyopathy.

Heartworms are a blood-borne parasite, spread by mosquitoes. In order to prevent heartworm disease, your dog should receive year-round heartworm prevention. There are several forms of prevention available. Talk to your veterinarian to determine which option is best for your dog.

Diet-associated cardiomyopathy is still being researched, but one particular form of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy may be connected to the food a dog is eating and possible nutritional deficiencies. Talk to your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is receiving an appropriate, well-balanced diet.

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How Do Dogs Develop Heart Disease

Although its possible for dogs to be born with heart disease, it most frequently develops as dogs get older, according to Sonya Gordon, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM , a professor of cardiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A& M University.The most common heart disease in dogs, representing 75 percent of all heart disease, is characterized by degeneration of the mitral valve , Gordon says. According to Gordon, this degeneration leads to a leaky valve, which causes the dogs heart chambers to enlarge. It eventually can lead to heart failure in some dogs. It also causes a heart murmur that can be detected by your vet, Gordon says.

Causes Of Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is caused by underlying heart disease, but there are several different conditions that may lead to this syndrome:

  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency : Mitral valve insufficiency is believed to cause about 80 percent of congestive heart failure cases. MVI occurs when there is a leak in the valve that connects the left atrium and left ventricle. When left untreated, this condition can progress to affect both sides of the heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy: Cardiomyopathy occurs when the dogs heart muscles degenerate, which can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy in which the heart expands due to blood pressure.
  • Narrow blood vessels: Congestive heart failure can be associated with narrow blood vessels and increased blood pressure.
  • Abnormal heartbeat: Also known as arrhythmia, an abnormal heartbeat can cause damage to the muscle and blood vessels if untreated, leading to congestive heart failure.

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Management Of Recurrent Acute Signs

If decompensated heart failure returns, the patient should be admitted and diuretics given intravenously to regain control. A higher dose of furosemide may be needed and is often achieved by increasing the frequency of administration to 3 times daily or more. If the dose of furosemide starts to exceed 3 to 4 mg/kg q8h, furosemide resistance may be present. At that point, options include adding another diuretic, such as a hydrochlorothiazide, to achieve sequential nephron blockade.

Alternatively, the more potent loop diuretic torsemide can be prescribed. The starting dose is generally obtained by taking the total daily furosemide dose and dividing it by 10 that total daily dose of torsemide is divided to be given PO twice daily. For example, if a dog is receiving a total daily dose of 100 mg furosemide, the dose of torsemide would be 5 mg PO q12h.15

After switching diuretics, renal parameters and electrolytes should be checked in 5 to 7 days.

How Long Can A Dog Live With Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure in pets

It is possible for dogs with CHF to carry on living comfortably for some time, from a few months to several years.

The length of time depends on a number of factors, such as the stage the dog is in when diagnosed and how it gets treated.

There are no guarantees, of course. Generally speaking, though, the earlier CHF is diagnosed, the better the chances of a more desirable outcome.

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Signs Of Heart Failure

Signs associated with heart failure depend on the causes of the heart failure and the heart chamber that is affected. With left-sided congestive heart failure, signs are associated with a backup of pressure in the vessels delivering blood to the left ventricle. This causes fluid to accumulate within the lungs . Coughing, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance are the most common signs. Many dogs with left-sided congestive heart failure faint due to lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. They may also have a low heart rate and low blood pressure and may collapse. Dogs with left-side congestive heart failure often breathe faster than healthy dogs. Your veterinarian may direct you to count the number of breaths your dog takes within a minute when it is sleeping or resting. This sleeping respiratory rate can then be regularly monitored to identify early heart failure and assess whether your dog is responding to treatment.

Right-sided congestive heart failure results in increased pressure in the vessels delivering blood to the right atrium and the bodys veins and capillaries. This may cause fluid to build up in the abdomen , the chest cavity, liver, and the limbs.

Because Theyre Part Of The Family

Nearly 8 million dogs suffer from heart disease. Thats 10% of all dogs in the United States. And the older your dog is, the higher the risk. Up to 75% of senior dogs have some type of heart condition, and unfortunately, most go undetected.

Dont risk losing part of your family to an often treatable heart condition. If you have concerns, seek medical advice quickly. Our board-certified dog cardiologists are here to help.

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How To Treat Heart Disease And Chf In Dogs

Unfortunately, there is no cure for CHF. But it is a manageable health issue, especially when caught early. Your vet will put your dog on a specific treatment plan that is specifically catered to them, depending on which stage of CHF your dog is experiencing. Here are some of the ways the disease can be treated.

ACE inhibitors. Common angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are enalapril, benazepril, and captopril. These prescription medications can help reduce blood pressure and improve heart function. That can relieve stress to the heart while helping slow the progression of CHF.

Diuretics. Diuretics get the kidneys going, which can help get rid of fluid buildup in the lungs and belly. They will cause your dog to have to pee much more than usual, as it pulls fluid out of your dogs body. Make sure to take them outside as often as you can, or allow them to have easy access to use the bathroom. Otherwise, you may notice new urinary accidents in the home. This medication often referred to as a water pill, will also cause your dog to require more water intake as they lose fluids by urinating.

Vasodilators. These types of medications can help relax blood vessels, which decreases pressure on the heart. Your dogs cardiologist might pair vasodilators with a positive inotropic drug, which increases the force that your dogs heartbeats to help increase blood flow to the lungs and body.

Congenital Heart Disease In Dogs

Signs Symptoms Of End Stage Canine Congestive Heart

Your beloved pet can have heart problems just like you. Know the symptoms so you can get your companion the help they need.

Heart disease may lead to congestive heart failure. That’s when your dog’s heart has trouble pumping blood to the rest of its body.

Heart disease can affect one side of the heart or sometimes both sides. It can progress slowly and may take years to spot.

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Diagnosing Heart Disease In Dogs

Oftentimes, veterinarians can detect heart disease in dogs during routine office visits which can be covered if you enroll in an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan with an optional preventive care option. If your dog shows any signs or symptoms during their visit, your vet may recommend one or several of the following procedures: X-rays, cardiac evaluation, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, or blood and urine tests.

Diagnostic testing can be expensive too, but ASPCA Pet Health Insurance can help you cover the costs. Get a quote now!

What Is Heart Disease & Heart Failure

The heart is divided into different parts to pump blood throughout the body. The right side, made up of the right atrium and ventricle, directs blood to the lungs so that the blood cells can pick up oxygen, which is then delivered back to the heart. Then the left side, which contains the left atrium and ventricle, pumps the newly oxygenated blood throughout the rest of the body through the circulatory system.

Just like with heart disease in humans, when heart disease develops in a dog, their heart must adapt or change in order to continue to work efficiently and bring oxygen to the rest of the body. These changes typically occur slowly over timeoften yearsand cause enlargement of the heart. This timeframe is known as the preclinical form of heart disease, considered as such since dogs show no obvious outward signs of heart disease.

But over time, heart disease can progress to heart failure. This stage of the disease is called the clinical stage, because this is when dogs begin to exhibit signs of heart failure . At the core, heart failureincluding congestive heart failuretypically involves a back-up of blood in the lungs or other organs, which makes it difficult for the heart to do its job efficiently.

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Heart Failure In Dogs: 6 Practical Tips From Veterinary Cardiologists

Ashley B. Saunders


Dr. Saunders is a professor of cardiology at the Texas A& M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Her clinical and research interests include advanced imaging, interventional cardiology, and innovative teaching.

Sonya G. Gordon


Sonya G. Gordon, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM , is an associate professor of cardiology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Texas A& M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences where she is part of a busy progressive cardiology program. She is routinely an invited speaker at local, national and international veterinary meetings. Although she considers herself a clinician and teacher first her research interests include canine chronic valve disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, imaging, interventional procedures and clinical trials. She has published numerous manuscripts and book chapters and co-authored a practical small animal clinical cardiology book entitled The ABCDs of Small Animal Cardiology.

Heart failure in dogs is a complex condition. Despite multiple underlying causes and clinical manifestations, successful management is possible. This article describes heart failure in dogs, provides in-depth information about the most common diseases that lead to heart failure, and offers practical tips for diagnosis and management.

Congestive Heart Failure Can Be Treated

How to Recognize Congestive Heart Failure in a Dog

Treating congestive heart failure can be easier than you might think. Many dogs who are diagnosed with this condition experience good success with these treatment protocols on their side. Getting your dog to the veterinarian and getting a diagnosis is critical to treating congestive heart failure effectively. Your vet can help you to care for your pet and make their condition much more comfortable and their overall health much better.

If you think that your dog has congestive heart failure, your vet can confirm this diagnosis and help you build a treatment plan. Your dogs unique needs will guide this plan and you will often see a big improvement when you get your dog onto the right congestive heart failure treatment plan.

Call or book an appointment online to talk with a veterinarian at Riverstone Animal Hospital about your dogs care.

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How Long Can Dogs Live With Heart Failure

The prognosis for heart failure in dogs is poor. On average, dogs with this condition can survive for an average of 612 months.

But early detection and treatment of heart failure in dogs can extend the lives of affected canines. Some dogs were able to live for 3 years after being diagnosed with heart failure.


Prognosis Of Dogs With Congestive Heart Failure

The development of heart failure represents a specific measurable point in the development of heart disease. For DMVD, the average survival of dogs with CHF is 9 months.5 However, within survival times in this group vary widely, with some patients living over 3 years.5 Survival in dogs with DCM is similar.16

Parameters that can help stratify risk by suggesting poorer prognosis include large left atrial and left ventricular size and high mitral E wave velocity.

When owners are questioned, it is evident that most would trade some longevity for improved quality of life. With a logical approach, heart failure can be controlled for many months with a good quality of life in most dogs.

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What Are The Signs Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

Your dog may show no signs in the early stages of congestive heart failure. Progression of the disease may result in one or more of the following signs:

  • Tiring easily with minimal activity
  • Constant panting or difficulty taking breaths
  • Increased respiratory rate when resting
  • Loss of appetite

A veterinarian should evaluate your dog immediately if you have any concerns. Never delay seeking medical care when your dog is experiencing any form of respiratory difficulty.

Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs Faqs

Watch Out for These Signs of Heart Disease in Dogs

How long can dogs live with congestive heart failure?

Once congestive heart failure develops, survival time in dogs is expected to be between 6 to 14 months at stage C. Early detection and proper medical care are keys to improving a dogs prognosis.

What are the symptoms of the final stages of congestive heart failure in dogs?

Stage D is referred to as end-stage disease. In this final stage, a pet will typically have severe symptoms of disease that unfortunately no longer respond to medications or other treatments. These symptoms include cough and coughing up foam, difficulty breathing, increased respiratory rate/effort even when resting, inability to exercise, fatigue/lethargy/weakness, cyanotic gums, distended abdomen, and collapse/sudden death.

How can I help my dog with congestive heart failure?

The pet parent should take their dog to the local emergency vet immediately if congestive heart failure or respiratory distress is suspected.

Is congestive heart failure in dogs painful?

Dogs in congestive heart failure typically do not display obvious signs of pain. However, humans in congestive heart failure have described chest pain as a factor, so its possible dogs also experience some discomfort. Seek veterinary care if you feel your pet is in pain.

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