Common Conditions

 

CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) occurs when the pumping mechanism of the heart becomes compromised or defective. There are several conditions that may lead to CHF:

  • Birth defect in the structure of the heart

  • Irregularity in the closing of the valves of the heart

  • Irregularity in the muscular contraction of the heart

  • Irregularity in the electrical system of the heart

  • Disease to the sac surrounding the heart

Signs to watch for:

  • coughing

  • distressed breathing

  • wheezing

  • collapsing

  • bloated belly

  • decreased appetite

  • reduced ability to exercise

  • tiredness, lacking in energy

 

 

TREATMENT

Depending on the underlying cause of the heart failure, the only way to manage CHF is with medication. The medications will need to be taken consistently for the rest of the dog's life and depending on the severity of the disease, they will need regular check-ups with the Veterinarian (3-6 monthly) The good news is that with modern heart medications, your dog's quality and length of life will significantly increase.

ACE inhibitors:

Decrease the pressure on the heart by addressing fluid retention and blood vessel constriction, two common factors that contribute to the deterioration of a failing heart. These medications are especially useful when dogs are suffering from cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) or leaky heart valves.

Inotropes:

Medications that improve the strength of contraction of the heart muscles are prescribed in some cases.

Some of these medications also have other benefits, such as reduction of blood vessel constriction, reduction in fluid retention and improvement of irregularities in the electrical activity of the heart.

Anti-arrhythmic drugs:

Prescribed in cases where the underlying cause of heart failure is an irregularity of the electrical activity of the heart.

Diuretics:

Used to further reduce fluid retention and are often prescribed in conjunction with other medications. These medications increase your dog's urine production, so you will notice that your dog will need to go to the toilet more often, particularly at night.

 

 

 

 

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Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty, 3116, New Zealand

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