Congestive Heart Failure

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Congestive heart failure Something to be aware of

Congestive heart failure: The inability of the heart to provide adequate circulation to meet the body’s needs. It is the end result of a weakened heart muscle. The health of the liver, kidneys, lungs, and other organs is impaired by the circulatory failure, resulting in a problem involving multiple organs. Congenital heart disease is present at birth. It may or may not be inherited from the parents. Unlike heart attacks in people, canine heart failure rarely results in the heart stopping to function all of a sudden. Congestive heart failure in dogs is a relatively slow process with the heart conditions worsening over time. (3)

Congestive heart failure is a broad medical term that means that a dog’s heart can’t deliver enough blood to his or her body. It can be caused by a failure of the left side, right side, or both sides of the heart.(1) CHF can be brought on by high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, heartworm disease, or a variety of other disorders.

A dog with congestive heart failure may cough, have trouble breathing, experience fatigue, loss of appetite, or might die suddenly. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment can help reverse congestive heart failure, and medications are available to help relieve its symptoms. Canine congestive heart failure progresses slowly over time with the heart conditions becoming worse. (2)

In the early stages of congestive heart failure, your dog may show no signs at all. As the disease progresses, signs may include: Coughing, Difficult or rapid breathing, Difficulty exercising, Weakness or lethargy (tiredness), Fainting episodes, Gray or blue gums, Abdominal distention (giving the dog a pot-bellied appearance).

Congestive heart failure can occur at any age, in any breed, or in dogs of any gender, but it happens most often in middle-aged to older dogs.

Congestive heart failure is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and physical examination findings, in which fluid in the lungs causes them to sound congested when your veterinarian listens with a stethoscope. To definitively diagnose the condition and determine its cause, veterinarians will usually recommend a number of tests

In some cases, such as congestive heart failure that is caused by heartworm disease, treatment of the underlying condition may resolve some or all of the heart problems. If the problem is caused by a congenital condition (a heart defect that the dog has had since birth), surgical repair may be an option. In most cases, however, the problem cannot be cured, but treatment can help improve dogs’ quality and length of life.

Most dogs with congestive heart failure require medications for the remainder of their lives. Periodic blood tests, radiographs, and echocardiograms are often needed to monitor treatment success and disease progression.

There is no known means of prevention of canine congestive heart failure except through judicious breeding programs designed to eliminate any hereditary affected animals from the gene pool.

THIS IS ANOTHER DISEASE THAT YOU SHOULD TALK TO YOUR VET ABOUT IF ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS SHOW UP IN YOUR DOG. BETTER TO ASK THAN TO LET YOUR DOG SUFFER AND DIE.

More medical terms related to Congestive heart failure

Heart disease is the underlying physical problem.

Heart failure is the consequence of heart disease.

Increased water consumption (polydipsia)

Increased urination volume (polyuria)

Decreased urination (oliguria)

Lack of urination (anuria)

Voiding urine during the night (nocturia)

Blood in urine (hematuria)

Decreased appetite (anorexia)

Congestive heart failure (CHF)

SOURCES:

(1) Vetstreet

(2) (3) Natural-Dog-Health-Remedies.com

Re-positing of this article is done with the permission of Donna Curtin of the Boston Terrier Network — full of Boston Terrier and canine information, news, and adoptables. Copyright © 2014. Boston Terrier Network