Canine Congestive Heart Failure (June 2019)

Canine congestive heart failure is a scary condition that can happen on the right or left side of the heart.

If you’re a dog owner who has never heard of this condition before, you need to educate yourself before it’s too late.

What is Canine Congestive Heart Failure?

Also known as CHF, congestive heart failure in dogs occurs when a dog’s heart is unable to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

The actual definition is a lot more complicated than this, but this is the gist of what it is.

The Causes of Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

Unfortunately, many small breeds are prone to developing congestive heart failure at some point in their life. Large breeds are at risk, as well, but not all of them.

Other than breeds, mitral valve insufficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy are also causes.

Mitral Valve Insufficiency

In short, mitral valve insufficiency, also known as MVI, occurs due to a heart murmur, endocarditis, and other problems with a dog’s heart.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Also known as DCM, dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs is a disease that affects the heart muscle. The disease weakens contractions and causes the heart to poorly pump blood. It will progress and eventually enlarge the chambers of the heart, causes valves to leak, and leads to congestive heart failure.

Types of Canine Congestive Heart Failure

There are 2 different types of congestive heart failure in dogs – left-sided and right-sided.

Left-Sided Congestive Heart Failure

Known as LS-CHF, left-sided congestive heart failure causes difficulty with breathing, fluid in the lungs, and coughing. This occurs due to blood going into the lungs and general fluid seeping into the tissue of the lungs.

Right-Sided Congestive Heart Failure

Known as RS-CHF, right-sided congestive heart failure causes fluid accumulation in the abdomen due to blood flow being pushed into the wrong areas. Fluid can leak out from the veins into your dog’s limbs, as well.

Symptoms of Canine Congestive Heart Failure

There are a lot of symptoms that arise when it comes to congestive heart failure in dogs:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Difficulties with breathing
  • Easily tired
  • Not as interested in playing
  • Increase in sleeping – coughing while sleeping or resting
  • Bluish or pale gums
  • Swollen, bloated stomach
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of muscle
  • Excessive panting

If you spot any of the symptoms listed above, bring your pup to the vet as soon as possible.

This type of disease can result in regular heart crisis, heart attacks, and death, if left untreated.

 

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