Heart failure in dogs is the inability to pump blood to all parts of its body. To compensate for the failure of meeting oxygen demands of body tissues, the dog’s heart muscle thickens and enlarges. This kicks off other failures since the dog’s kidney’s realize this dog heart failure and they begin retaining salt and water to increase the blood circulation to bring cardiac output back to its normal pace.
Well, your dog’s heart is unable to handle the increased blood volume and the blood gets backed up. Swelling results when fluid from blood leaks into body tissues and lungs.
Heart failure in dogs may be classified in three ways: if the right side of the dog’s heart experiences failure, your dog will have effects in the liver, abdomen, and arms and legs since blood returning from the heart gets backed up. In contrast, if the left side of your dog’s heart fails, fluid accumulates in the lungs because blood returning from the lungs to the heart gets backed up. The worst case scenario is when both sides of the dog’s heart fail; this results in the blood circulation system in general.
So, now that you know what heart failure in dogs represents, how can you help prevent it? Many dogs already have dog heart disease, but their symptoms are dormant – they only become apparent once the dog’s heart starts to fail.
Here are some symptoms to look out for:
When in doubt, your veterinarian will be able to diagnose heart disease in dogs. From a physical examination, history, and symptoms, he or she will be able to detect heart disease. Some additional medical procedures may be necessary to determine the cause and degree of heart failure such as blood and urine tests, x-rays, and more.
Once your dog is diagnosed with dog heart disease, treatment is in order. Like any medical condition, prevention and early diagnosis is key. For more information about dog’s heart disease and heart failure in dogs consult your vet.