Canine Congestive Heart FailureAuthor: Joann Henry
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a clinical condition which is the final result of severe heart disease. It is usual that when a dog has heart failure, heart disease is also present in the body. However, it is true that in some cases, heart disease can be present, but never lead to congestive heart disease.
When high diastolic pressures in the heart build up into the veins and capillaries, then congestive heart failure can occur, which in turn causes a leakage of fluid out of those vessels.
Heart failure is the end result of many different cardiac and pericardial diseases. These include:
Decreased myocardial contractibility. This is a weak heart muscle, which is commonly seen with dilated cardiomyopathy.
Valvular regurgitation. This is a leak in one of the four heart valves, as seen with mitral and tricuspid regurgitation.
Increased myocardial stiffness, which impairs the heart's ability to fill with blood.
In the beginning, the signs of congestive heart failure can be quite mild and difficult to see. However the symptoms can become more severe in a short space of time. Some of the symptoms to look for are:
Lack of energy - the dog becomes much less active and tires quickly during the later stages of congestive heart failure;
Heavy breathing - the dog can show signs of difficulty in breathing, panting and coughing whilst resting;
Swollen abdomen - the dogs' stomach can enlarge as fluid accumulates in the liver and abdomen; and
Change of mouth color - the color of the membranes of the mouth can be grayish rather than being a healthy pink color.
The first thing that is needs to be done though, is to manage the clinical signs of congestive heart failure by reducing the formation of edema and effusion and to increase the cardiac output, which is the delivery of blood to the tissues.
There are a wide variety of treatments available for Congestive Heart Failure, depending on the severity of the condition.
One of the most popular drugs used for this disease is Digitalis. This is a medication which belongs to a group called positive inotropic agents which help to increase the concentration of calcium in the heart muscle cells.
Diuretics are also another well known drug used for dogs with this condition. These drugs help to remove built up fluids that occur in the lungs and abdomen.
Monitor your dogs attitude and any changes in appearance when you spend time with your friend. It is essential to keep a diary of anything that varies from "the norm" so that you can show it to your vet. Check your dog on a daily basis for:
- breathing, see if it is heavy or labored;
- loss or reduction of appetite;
- fainting; and
- profound lethargy.
However, it is important to remember, that canine congestive heart failure is a major disease and it is a necessity to have regular visits to your veterinarian to ensure that your dogs' needs are being met.
Joann Henry operates "Doggie Health Care" http://www.DoggieHealthCare.com, a blog all about our pooches health. Sign up to receive her newsletter, & not only will you get some free tips to keep your dog healthier, but FOR A LIMITED TIME, she'll give you a FREE ebook. http://www.DoggieHealthCare.com
An Owner's Guide to Congestive Heart Failure in DogsAuthor: D Swain
Congestive heart failure in dogs is a very serious condition. It is caused by an abnormality in the structure of function of the heart. There are two forms of this disease.
In one form of heart failure, the walls of the chambers in the heart thicken. This leads to reduced pumping efficiency. The other form is characterized by the muscles the form the walls stretching thinner. This causes the heart to enlarge.
When your dog's heart enlarges, the left side starts pumping blood less efficiently. This makes the heart work harder to compensate for the decreased efficiency. Once this compensation is no longer enough, dog congestive heart failure results.
As your dog's heart compensates in the early stages of this disease, he will show no symptoms. This can last for months or even years. As the disease progresses, he will begin to drool excessively and get tired very easily. He may pant and cough a lot after exercise, or even while resting. Two other common symptoms of congestive heart failure in dogs includes gray membranes in the mouth and a blueish tongue.
The main method of diagnosis is an electrocardiogram. This will detect any abnormalities in the heart. Since this condition causes the heart to enlarge, an ultrasound will also be useful. An x-ray of the chest is also commonly done.
If your dog is diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you will have to restrict his exercise and sodium intake. He will also need to take medications to increase calcium in the heart muscles. This will help increase pumping efficiency and reduce the heart rate.
Dogs with this condition will also need diuretics. This is due to the fact that the reduced blood flow may cause buildup of fluids in the lungs and abdomen. ACE inhibitors will also help increase efficiency by tightening the blood vessels.
Congestive heart failure in dogs is a very serious disease. However, there are many more that can affect your dog such as dog valley fever and dog bloat. Dog-illnesses.com provides a wealth of information for dog owners about many different diseases. So, stop by today to learn about some of these diseases that can affect your pet.