3- Heart failure in dogs

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3- Heart failure in dogs

Heart failure in dogs is a serious disease that can be born with the dog or may develop during development. What are the causes, symptoms and methods of treating heart failure in dogs

Heart failure in dogs is a complex and dangerous condition. Learn about the causes, symptoms and methods of treating heart failure in dogs

Overview of heart failure in dogs

Dog heart failure is not a disease in itself but rather a syndrome in which severe dysfunction results in the failure of the cardiovascular system to maintain adequate blood circulation

A dog’s heart (like a human heart) is made up of four chambers. The left side contains the atrium, which receives blood from the lungs, and the ventricle, which receives blood from the atrium before it is returned to the body’s bloodstream. These two cavities are connected by the mitral valve

The right side includes the atrium, which receives low-oxygen blood from the body, and the ventricle, which receives blood from the atrium before it is sent to the lungs. These two cavities are separated by the tricuspid valve

Heart failure in dogs
Heart failure in dogs

We talk about heart failure in dogs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to adequately meet the body’s needs. The disease varies depending on which side of the heart is affected

Left-sided dog heart failure causes blood to stagnate in the lungs
In a right-sided dog, heart failure slows the flow of blood through the body
It is also possible for both sides of the heart to be affected

Causes of heart failure in dogs

Heart failure in dogs can be due to many causes, the disease may appear at birth or during age. But age remains the main factor

Valvular heart disease: These diseases can occur as a result of degeneration, microbial inflammation, or a birth defect
Cardiomyopathy: may be toxicity, trauma, degeneration, genetic defect, inflammation or cancer
Autonomic nervous system diseases: In this case, the control of contraction and relaxation is ineffective.
Some diseases that affect other organs can affect the heart

Dog heart failure is a progressive disease that is divided into several stages. At first, the dog’s normal life is affected, after which the risks gradually increase and interfere with the dog’s activities. Then his body becomes so fragile and weak that even a little effort is enough to cause a heart attack or pulmonary edema. Therefore, it is necessary to expedite the necessary measures

Symptoms of heart failure in dogs

The developmental stage of the disease
Heart failure in dogs develops in stages

The first stage

the pre-symptomatic stage
During this stage the dog’s heart begins to experience fatigue, but without symptoms
The animal compensates for this fatigue by accelerating its pace and gaining weight

Heart failure in dogs
Heart failure in dogs


The second stage

an observable stage when making an effort
At this point the dog’s heart is too tired to compensate
The dog’s body gets tired quickly upon exertion
If he is stressed, he coughs, his heart beats faster, he may faint, or even suffocate
This stage can occur a few years after the first stage or only a few months later

The third stage

the permanent stage
Here symptoms appear constantly and without exposure to stress
The dog loses its appetite and gains weight
His stomach can swell and his muscles atrophy

The appearance of symptoms according to the form of heart failure in the dog

At first

a dog with heart failure feels tired with any exertion, and then gradually becomes unable to engage in various physical activities. He will experience respiratory difficulties with the increase in respiratory rate. In addition, most animals with heart failure lose their appetite, lose a lot of weight, or even faint. The general condition of the dog is deteriorating

If the dog’s heart failure affects the left side, breathing problems will be exacerbated when lying down. He may also start coughing, which is often a sign of pulmonary edema. At the same time, the color of the mucous membranes becomes whitish
If the disease affects the right side, the dog’s abdomen is enlarged due to the effusion of abdominal fluid. He may suffer from edema and swelling in the legs

The most serious complication of heart failure in dogs is pulmonary edema. If your dog begins to cough and is short of breath, seek help immediately, as this condition can lead to death

Diagnosing heart failure in dogs

Heart failure in dogs develops rapidly. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian as soon as the first symptoms appear

The specialist usually begins by examining the animal for a heart murmur, abnormal heart rhythms, or abnormalities in the heart rate

The diagnosis of heart failure in a dog will be confirmed by clinical examinations. Your vet can perform

Chest and/or abdominal x-rays
Electrocardiogram
Echography
blood tests

These examinations allow the practitioner to identify heart failure in the dog and determine its shape in order to prepare the appropriate treatment

Heart failure in dogs
Heart failure in dogs

Treating heart failure in dogs

There are several methods for treating heart failure in dogs (without achieving full recovery from it) depending on the form and stage of the disease

Pharmacological treatments
Treatment is usually given in the form of medications that are given to the dog for life

The prescribed medication and dosage schedules must be respected and the dog followed carefully
Drug treatments for heart failure syndrome in dogs help slow the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of pulmonary edema
Unfortunately, medications do not contribute to the animal’s recovery from heart failure
Regular monitoring by the vet is necessary later on to ensure that the disease does not progress and that the treatment is regularly readjusted

corrective treatment
An affected dog cannot recover from heart failure, but it can live for several years thanks to medication treatments and a healthy lifestyle

You should modify his daily life in a way that ensures good health by

Reducing physical efforts and sources of stress
Monitor the dog’s weight regularly
Provide your dog with a low-sodium (low-sodium or low-salt) diet, and there are croquettes specific to this type of disease
Never treat heart failure in a dog on your own! Only a veterinarian can prescribe the appropriate treatment and adjust the dosage of medications according to the progression of the disease. If you don’t follow it, you risk the animal’s health and damage its other body parts

Prevention of Heart Failure in Dogs

Preventing heart failure in dogs is not easy

as it is often a malformation that appears at birth or during the dog’s life. However, you can reduce your risk of infection by

Giving the dog a healthy lifestyle through regular physical activity, making sure that it does not become excessively or abnormally tired
Give your dog high-quality food that is low in salt and in reasonable quantities to avoid weight gain that affects the heart
Avoid giving him leftover foods that humans eat as much as possible. Because it contains large amounts of salt

Finally, some dog breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles, Poodle, Yorkie, Newfoundland, Boxer, and Doberman are more likely to develop heart failure. They should be examined regularly by the vet to prevent them from disease as much as possible, and be prepared in case they develop heart failure

If Heart Failure in Dogs is diagnosed early, the chances of the animal’s life expectancy will be greater and the risks of complications will be reduced. Therefore, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian as soon as you notice the first symptoms of the disease, such as coughing and shortness of breath when making an effort

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