Heart failure in dogs is one of the most serious conditions a dog can have. Heart failure is the inability of the heart to provide adequate circulation to meet the body’s needs. The end results is a weakened heart muscle. The kidneys, liver, lungs and other systems are affected too, causing a multiple organ system problem. Most heart failure cases represent long standing conditions which have over stressed or damaged heart.
Hardening of the arteries or coronary artery disease, a condition brought about in man by aging, is rare in the dog. A dog’s heart ages in a different way. It is the valves and the muscle of the heart that suffers. The pump works less forcefully as the valves begin to leak blood backwards. The cause of this aging process is not understood yet. It leads to a condition called Chronic valvular and Myocardial Heart disease. This is one of the leading heart problems in the older dog. some other causes of heart disease are heartworms, birth defects, and infectious diseases. Signs of right or left sided heart failure occur when the diseased heart begins to weaken.
Early signs of congestive heart failure are tiring easily, intermittent coughing and a decrease in the dogs activity level.
Treatment of congestive heart failure should be under the supervisions of a veterinarian. The first step of treatment is to remove or correct the underlying cause, if possible. Heartworms infestations, and congenital heart disease are curable if treated in time.
A low salt diet is indicated for treating congestive heart failure in dogs. Diuretics and a low salt diet are used to manage the fluid build up.
In dogs with heart disease, obesity is a serious complicating problem. An overweight dog should be put on a low calorie diet.
You should restrict your dogs activities as to not overburden his heart.
There are many different drugs available which help to increase the force and contractions of the dogs heart, or control arrhythmias.
These steps yield substantial results in terms of a longer, more comfortable and more active life for your dog.