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Dog With Heart Failure

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Weight Loss Or Weight Gain

Early Stages of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Depending on the nature of the heart problem, weight loss or gain can result from heart disease. Noticeable, sudden weight loss can be the result of the diminished appetite mentioned above.

With weight gain, youre looking for bloating or a distended, swollen belly, rather than usual chubbiness. This is caused by the buildup of fluid in the abdomen when blood flow has been blocked as a result of poor circulation.

What Are Treatment Options

If you take your dog in for treatment there are many different options depending on your pets particular diagnosis. Your dog will get a treatment plan from a veterinary cardiologist.

The most common treatments for congestive heart failure in dogs available are:

  • Symptomatic support and care
  • Removal of fluids, from the chest or from the abdomen

With quality care, many dogs do well with medications and treatment. Treatment, however, is about keeping your dog in a good quality of life, not about keeping your emotions intact.

There is no cure for heart disease. As an owner, you have to be aware of your dogs feelings and abilities and be prepared for when it comes time for humane euthanasia if necessary.

Summary Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

Congestive Heart Failure in dogs is fairly common, affecting 75% of senior dogs. While there is no cure, medication and lifestyle changes can help manage the condition. As its not always easy to detect in its early stages, prevention is important proper diet, exercise, and weight maintenance are key for canine cardiovascular health. Be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can seek help as soon as you suspect CHF could be an issue, and stay up to date on your annual vet visits.

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Oxygen Therapy For Chf In Dogs

Dogs with left-sided heart failure, or those with significant fluid in the lungs, may not be able to get enough oxygen from their lungs to their blood stream. In such cases, a dog may benefit from oxygen supplementation.

Your dog may be placed in an oxygen cage, or provided oxygen via tube through the nose. Alternatively, direct airflow toward the face may be provided .

In severe cases, a dog may need to be intubated to administer oxygen or even mechanical ventilation , but this is associated with a poor prognosis.

How To Treat Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

Heart Failure in Dogs: 6 Practical Tips From Veterinary Cardiologists

Treating congestive heart failure depends on the type and severity of your dog’s underlying heart disease and whether the CHF is left- or right-sided. CHF treatment goals are to maximize the heart’s pumping ability and minimize fluid buildup.

Various medications are available to treat CHF in dogs, including:

  • Diuretics: Diuretics are the mainstay of CHF treatment in dogs. They help flush excess fluid out of the system

  • ACE inhibitors: ACE inhibitors make it easier for the heart to pump blood

  • Positive inotropes: Positive inotropes promote heart muscle strength, improving pumping ability

Other treatment methods may be needed, including:

  • Fluid removal: Severe fluid buildup may require periodic manual fluid removal from the lungs or abdomen

  • Oxygen supplementation: Dogs with severe respiratory distress may need oxygen supplementation

A high-quality diet can improve your dog’s heart health, thus improving heart function and reducing CHF symptoms. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on dietary changes, such as omega fatty acid supplementation. Follow-up appointments are needed to re-evaluate the heart and assess fluid buildup. These appointments will include chest X-rays, blood work, and an echocardiogram.

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Treatment Options For Chf In Dogs

When you take your dog to the vet, they will run a series of tests for a proper diagnosis.

These include:

  • Measure blood pressure

In some cases, your dog might need to stay in the vet hospital to be monitored for a couple of days.

After completing all required tests and monitoring, your vet can explain the extent of the condition and give you a course of treatment.

Medical treatment typically includes a combination of medications.

The type of medications will depend on the cause of the CHF.

For example, if heartworm disease is the culprit, part of the medication will be specifically for the treatment of heartworms.

Other medications might help fight fluid buildup, regulate the hearts rhythm, or improve the overall heart function.

Again, your vet will determine the best combination according to the current issues.

However, those medications may be altered over time to improve the course of treatment.

You can also help at home to treat CHF or prevent it.

Most importantly, be sure you are getting your dog to all of its appointments with your vet.

From the time they are babies to the end of their life, a vet can help ensure your beloved pet attains the maximum quality of life.

Vets do this through vaccinations, detecting potential issues early, and educating pet parents.

It is also up to you to ensure that your dog maintains a healthy weight.

Feed him a high-quality and nutritious diet, and keep him active as often as possible.

Prognosis For Dogs With Congestive Heart Failure

This is a progressive disease, and new problems and symptoms may arise in the future. For example, the return of fluid in the lungs, followed by lethargy and sudden collapse, can occur.

Bruiser is slower than he was prior to being diagnosed. He also experiences gastrointestinal upset from time to time. In general, though, hes doing very well and just had a check-up with his cardiologist.

With appropriate medical therapy, fortunately, most dogs feel good during treatment and experience a good quality of life during and after.

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Progressive Symptoms Of Chf In Dogs

In contrast to the long time lag between Class I and Class II symptoms the illness progresses quickly from Class III to Class IV, so a dog that seemed healthy, active and symptom-free, may suddenly enter a critical phase where the condition requires extensive medical and surgical treatment to manage in order to preserve the life of the dog.

If you notice any of these telltale signs & symptoms of congestive heart failure, make sure to have your pet examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Treating Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs
  • Stage Adogs do not need any treatment, but should be regularly screened for heart disease by their veterinarian. This could include regular physical veterinary exams, x-rays and ultrasoundsof the heart.
  • Stage Bdogs have structural change to the heart on x-ray and ultrasound. These dogs are not showing signs of congestive heart failure and therefore do not need treatment. They should be re-evaluated routinely to monitor any changes with x-rays or ultrasound. Dogs that start to show signs of congestive heart failure including coughing or a decrease in activity should be seen immediately as they may now be in Stage C.
  • Stage Cdogs have clinical signs or symptoms of congestive heart failure. These are dogs that are coughing and/or have a decrease in their ability to exercise. These dogs will be started on medications to help their failing heart deal with the demands placed on it. These medications will be needed for the rest of the dogs life. These dogs may also benefit from a diet designed for dogs with congestive heart disease.
  • Stage Ddogs are currently receiving medications as treatment for congestive heart failure, but are not responding to the standard treatment protocols. These dogs will need advanced medical therapy and are best helped by a specialist in cardiology.

If your dog is showing signs or symptoms of congestive heart failure, you need to contact your veterinarianimmediately. Your dogs quality of life will benefit from early diagnosis and treatment.


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Future Outlook On Canine Congestive Heart Failure

Canine Congestive Heart Failure has many possible causes with just as many potential treatment solutions. But with early detection, by focusing on proper diet & nutrition, and by providing appropriate support therapies like CBD-rich hemp extracts, many canine patients with Congestive Heart Failure can experience a preservation of life and total restoration of health.

This article was originally published February 16, 2019. Accumulating evidence now suggests that CBD is beneficial in the cardiovascular system and has direct action on isolated arteries causing both acute and time dependent vasorelaxation.

CBD protects against the vascular damage caused by a high glucose environment, inflammation or the induction of type 2 diabetes in animal models and reduces the vascular hyperpermeability associated with such environments.

A common theme throughout these studies is the antiinflammatory and antioxidant effect of CBD. In the heart, in vivo CBD treatment protects against ischaemiareperfusion damage and against cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes. Similarly, in a different model of ischaemiareperfusion, CBD has been shown to reduce infarct size and increase blood flow in animal models of stroke, sensitive to 5HT1A receptor antagonism.

Taken together, these preclinical data appear to support a positive role for CBD treatment in the heart, and in peripheral and cerebral vasculature.

Coughing In Dogs With Heart Disease

by | Feb 16, 2018 | Blog Post, Cardiology

When dogs have a heart murmur, their hearts can become enlarged and lose the ability to pump blood into their lungs and the rest of their body. Known as heart failure, the symptoms show up as coughing and difficulty in breathing due to both the accumulation of fluid in the lungs and the enlarged heart pushing on and irritating the trachea.

Other symptoms of heart failure include lethargy, persistent loss of appetite, a swollen belly and pale/bluish gums.

Because coughing is a symptom of multiple other conditions, it is vital to differentiate the cause. Dogs in heart failure need immediate evaluation and medications, while dogs that are coughing but not in heart failure are less likely to need urgent care.

An easy and useful way to distinguish a cough due to heart failure versus another cause is to monitor the sleeping respiratory rate.

Sleeping respiratory rate is the rate, or times per minute, that your dog breathes in one minute while in a complete state of rest, meaning he or she is completely relaxed or even asleep. Research shows that dogs in heart failure have elevated sleeping respiratory rates, while dogs that are not in heart failure have normal respiratory rates.

For assistance in accuracy, we recommend using an app such as this one.

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How Long Can A Dog Live With Congestive Heart Failure

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.

How Long Can Dogs Live With Heart Failure

Old Dog 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.


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When To Put Down A Dog With Congestive Heart Failure

Dogs who have congestive heart failure are faced with a difficult decision.

Even though their quality of life can be greatly diminished by the disease, many owners still opt to keep their pets and make medical decisions as needed.

But when is it time to put your dog down?

This article will help you determine when its time for your dog with CHF to go on his last tripand what that final goodbye should look like.

Diet Information From Reported Cases

Review of the canine reports shows that most reports were for dry dog food formulations, but raw food, semi-moist food, and wet foods were also represented.

When examining the most commonly reported pet food brands named in DCM reports submitted to the FDA, it is important to note that the graph below is based on reports that included brand information and that some reports named multiple brands. Brands that were named ten or more times are featured below. For a granular, case-by-case breakdown of DCM reports submitted to the FDA, see Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy Complaints Submitted to FDA-CVM Through April 30, 2019. FDA urges pet owners to work with their veterinarians, who may consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to obtain the most appropriate dietary advice for their pet’s specific needs prior to making diet changes.

To better characterize diets reported in DCM cases, product labels were examined to determine whether the product was grain-free , and whether the products contained peas, other lentils including chickpeas and beans, or potatoes . Because so many products contained peas and/or lentils, a category was created for peas and/or lentils. More than 90 percent of products were grain-free, and 93 percent of reported products had peas and/or lentils. A far smaller proportion contained potatoes.

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Types Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is a relatively common problem in dogs, especially for certain pedigrees such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel , and the Doberman .

Some of the most common types of heart disease in dogs include:

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a weakness in the heart muscle that causes the heart to become large, floppy and unable to pump blood properly. DCM is most common in large/giant breed dogs such as the Doberman and Great Dane.


An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart beat rhythm that can cause fainting episodes.

Congenital heart disease

A congenital problem is something a puppy is born with. Congenital heart disease is usually quite serious, but fortunately, its also rare. There are many different types of congenital heart disease, including:

  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Tetrology of Fallot

Pericardial disease

The pericardium is a thin membrane that sits around the heart, so pericardial disease is anything that goes wrong with this membrane.

Preventing Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

Homemade Dog Food for Heart Disease Recipe (Very Easy to Prepare)

To prevent CHF, owners need to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with heart problems and address them right away. Proper nutrition is important, but supplements can also play a role heart disease prevention.

Some preliminary studies have shown a link between grain-free diets and heart disease . If your dog is eating a grain-free diet, speak with your veterinarian about whether your dog should change to a diet containing grain.

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Common Signs Of Heart Disease In Dogs

Persistent Cough If your dog has a cough that doesnt clear up in a few days, heart disease may be the culprit. Dogs with heart disease cough for many reasons. In some dogs, fluid can accumulate in the lungs when the heart isnt pumping efficiently. This backup of blood in the lungs can result in fluid leaking out of blood vessels and accumulating in lung tissue, resulting in cough. Other dogs may have heart diseases that lead to heart enlargement. The enlarged heart can press on airways and stimulate coughing. Any persistent cough that lasts more than a few days should be checked by a veterinarian.

Fainting or Collapse When heart function is less than optimal, vital organs such as the brain can become deprived of nutrients, especially oxygen. Blood flow to the brain can be compromised in dogs with heart disease, leading to fainting or collapse. Syncope and collapse in dogs with heart disease usually are triggered by exercise, although sometimes coughing can trigger an episode.

Difficulty Breathing Dogs with heart disease often will have difficulty breathing . A dog may breathe more rapidly, or with more force. Some dogs will sit or stand with their legs wide apart and with their neck stretched out. Dogs with severe heart disease have more trouble breathing when lying down, and will often sit or stand for long periods of time.

Tests Helpful in Heart Disease Diagnosis

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Warning Signs Of Heart Disease In Dogs

As a species, dogs are less plagued by heart disease than humans, whose lifestyle choices can contribute to the development of heart problems. But some dogs do develop congestive heart failure, a progressive decline in the hearts ability to pump blood to the rest of the body. Injury and infection, or congenital heart defects, can initiate canine heart disease too. Finally, it can develop as a result of wear and tear of the organ as a dog grows older. Weve rounded up the most common symptoms of heart disease in dogs to look out for.

Large breeds are more susceptible to a condition in which the heart becomes in enlarged, stressed, and ultimately fails. These include: Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds.

Smaller and toy breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Dachshunds, are more susceptible to defects or diseases affecting the heart valves.

Here are a few signs of heart disease in dog you should be aware of.

Some of these can also indicate other illnesses, such as cancer, but a discerning dog owner who knows what to look for can pick up on the symptoms and seek veterinary help sooner rather than later.

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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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