Congestive Heart Failure: CHF in Dogs

CHF is secondary to heart disease.

CHF is the condition during which a dog's heart is unable to pump enough blood to all the body's tissues.

What Causes CHF in Dogs?

In dogs, the two most common causes of CHF are:

Other conditions, such as arrhythmias (as in the case of boxer cardiomyopathy), narrowing of the major arteries, and high blood pressure can also cause CHF.

What Are the Signs of Canine CHF?

Signs of CHF in dogs are different depending on whether the dog is in left-sided or right-sided heart failure.

How Do Vets Diagnose CHF in Dogs?

CHF is diagnosed through physical examination and a history of signs related to heart disease, such as coughing, weakness, and syncope. Some dogs will have high kidney values on blood work but normal urine concentrating ability. On chest x-rays, the heart may look enlarged (either the right or left side depending on the type of CHF). Pulmonary edema or abdominal ascites may be visible on x-rays.

An echocardiogram can show many different changes in the heart and blood flow and is most helpful in diagnosing CHF.

What Is the Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs?

The treatment for CHF in dogs depends on the type of heart failure and the secondary conditions occurring because of it. Treatments may include:

Monitoring is required to determine how the dog is responding to treatment and whether medications need to be altered. Prognosis depends on the individual condition.

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