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Congestive heart failure in dogs

Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs:

Congestive heart failure is a disease that occurs when the structure of the functioning of the heart is abnormal.

Due to structural and functional abnormalities, the heart is not able to pump out the normal quantities of blood, thus causing fluid retention in the cavities of the body, especially the lungs and in the abdominal cavity. This causes congestive heart failure in dogs.

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure in Canines:

There can be many different causes of congestive heart failure in dogs. Birth and congenital defects in the structure of the heart are primarily responsible for this disorder.

Some breeds are genetically predisposed to congestive heart failure. Larger breeds experience it more than the small ones. Congestive heart failure is often the result of the degeneration of the heart valves over a period of time. Cardiomyopathy in dogs is another very common cause of congestive heart failure.

Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the muscles of the heart do not function at its optimum. Heartworms, arrhythmias, and diseases of the lining of the heart or pericardium are some of the other causes of congestive heart failure. Contrary to popular belief, congestive heart failure is not something that can occur only to older dogs. In fact, dogs can suffer from congestive heart failure at any age. Though giant canine breeds are more susceptible to this disorder, some small breeds of dogs could also get affected.

If a dog suffers a heart failure, the blood reaching the dog’s muscles decreases drastically, causing incessant fatigue. The dog will not be able to participate in any activity without feeling extremely stressed. There is an accumulation of fluids in the chest and lungs which causes the chest to swell considerably. The dog experiences shortness of breath and irregular heartbeats. There are several different symptoms that your dog will display when it suffers from a heart condition. Some of these include coughing, dyspnea, weight loss, and fatigue. If your veterinarian suspects that your dog has congestive heart failure, he will order several tests for your pet. There are several diagnostic techniques which may be used for this condition. Chest radiography, ultrasound, measurement of blood pressure, general physical examination, and electrocardiogram are some of the tests that are usually ordered by a veterinarian to diagnose congestive heart failure in dogs. The treatment of the heart failure depends largely on the underlying cause. Hospitalization may be required in order to revive the heart. Diuretics and oxygen are given to the dog, along with a nitroglycerine paste.

  Submitted on May 7, 2010  

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