In both human beings and animals, the heart sends blood throughout the body and back in a process known as circulation, providing oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and organs so they can function properly. Congestive heart failure in dogs is a weakened heart’s inability to pump blood effectively to meet the demands of your dog’s body.
Causes of canine congestive heart failure can be hereditary, heartworm – parasites that lodge in the heart and cause massive interference, chronic valvular disease – which causes the heart valves to contact poorly and may even “flap” and affect cardiac function, and dilated cardiomyopathy- which is an enlargement of the heart ventricles and a thinning of the heart walls.
Because blood is no longer circulating properly or efficiently, blood becomes backed up around organs and increases the pressure on veins and arteries. The heart is divided into two halves, left and right, each with two sections, atrium and ventricle. Depending on which part of the heart is weakened can affect the symptoms. Fluid can leak into the lungs and cause coughing, or pulmonary edema which involves coughing up bubbly red fluid; and is symptomatic of left ventricle failure. Failure of the right ventricle will cause fluid to leak into the abdomen, sometimes the legs and chest, giving a swollen belly appearance. Because all organs of the body are affected, symptoms of congestive heart failure are usually lethargy, weakness, difficulty breathing or shallow breaths, heart murmur, rapid irregular pulse, and fainting may occur from stress or exhaustion.
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
Treatment for canine congestive heart failure typically involves low-salt diets and keeping your dog stress free. On this page you can discuss and read what strategies and home cures people are using to help heal their dogs’ hearts naturally. Let us know what you try for your dog’s heart.
Additional Pages of Interest:
Heart Murmur Remedies