Congestive Heart Failure
Description: A condition in which the heart does not sufficiently provide blood flow to meet the needs of the body, leading to fluid buildup in other organs. The most common type of CHF is left-sided which causes fluid buildup in the lungs. Right-sided CHF is less common and causes fluids to build up in other parts of the body. CHF is more common in older animals. Causes of congestive heart failure can be congenital, heartworm disease, heart muscle disease, valve degeneration, pericardium disease, and arrhythmia of the heart.
What to Watch For: Signs for left-side CHF include panting, coughing, and trouble breathing. Right-side CHF causes swelling in the abdomen and legs.
Diagnosis: To diagnose CHF, a vet exam, diagnostic tests including x-rays, electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, and an ultrasonography of the heart is conducted.
Treatment: If any underlying disease is causing CHF, then it is crucial to properly treat the underlying disease. There is no cure but it is helpful to reduce exercise to decrease work load on the heart, change diet to reduce sodium intake, and take diuretic medications. Your vet may also prescribe medications to ease the workload on the heart.
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Breeds prone to Congestive Heart Failure include: