Blondoguy asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

What is conjestive heart failure in dogs?

Is it life threatening?

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Congestive heart failure (CHF), or heart failure, is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to the body's other organs. This can result from

    narrowed arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle — coronary artery disease

    past heart attack, or myocardial infarction, with scar tissue that interferes with the heart muscle's normal work

    high blood pressure

    heart valve disease due to past rheumatic fever or other causes

    primary disease of the heart muscle itself, called cardiomyopathy.

    heart defects present at birth — congenital heart defects.

    infection of the heart valves and/or heart muscle itself — endocarditis and/or myocarditis

    The "failing" heart keeps working but not as efficiently as it should. People with heart failure can't exert themselves because they become short of breath and tired.

    As blood flow out of the heart slows, blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing congestion in the tissues. Often swelling (edema) results. Most often there's swelling in the legs and ankles, but it can happen in other parts of the body, too. Sometimes fluid collects in the lungs and interferes with breathing, causing shortness of breath, especially when a person is lying down.

    Heart failure also affects the kidneys' ability to dispose of sodium and water. The retained water increases the edema.

    How do you diagnose and treat congestive heart failure?

    Your doctor is the best person to make the diagnosis. The most common signs of congestive heart failure are swollen legs or ankles or difficulty breathing. Another symptom is weight gain when fluid builds up.

    CHF usually requires a treatment program of


    proper diet

    modified daily activities

    drugs such as

    ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors

    beta blockers




    Various drugs are used to treat congestive heart failure. They perform different functions. ACE inhibitors and vasodilators expand blood vessels and decrease resistance. This allows blood to flow more easily and makes the heart's work easier or more efficient. Beta blockers can improve how well the heart's left lower chamber (left ventricle) pumps. Digitalis increases the pumping action of the heart, while diuretics help the body eliminate excess salt and water.

    When a specific cause of congestive heart failure is discovered, it should be treated or, if possible, corrected. For example, some cases of congestive heart failure can be treated by treating high blood pressure. If the heart failure is caused by an abnormal heart valve, the valve can be surgically replaced.

    If the heart becomes so damaged that it can't be repaired, a more drastic approach should be considered. A heart transplant could be an option.

    Most people with mild and moderate congestive heart failure can be treated. Proper medical supervision can prevent them from becoming invalids. Hope this helps, I saw a chihuahua that was 22 years old be put down due to this. :(

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  • 4 years ago


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  • 1 decade ago

    Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the end stages of heart disease. It's likely that the dog has had a heart condition for many years that is now catching up to him. It's basically where the heart can't keep up with the needs of the body.

    There are a few things that can be done to help a dog feel better and be more comfortable (drugs to increase the efficiency of the heart, diets that help reduce the load on the heart, etc), but there is no cure for CHF and, even with treatment, time is usually limited. It's important to talk with your vet about treatment posibilities and prognosis for your dog to see what options are available.

    Here's a couple links to useful information:

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  • 1 decade ago

    CHF in dogs is serious, but without knowing your dog's individual case, iy is difficult to be too specific. The vet can give meds to treat it and in some cases, surgery can be done to improve the dog's condition, if the dog is healthy enough to undergo this. Maybe your dog could be taken to see a canine cardiologist who specializes in dog's heart problems to be sure that everything possible is being done to help your dog. I hope for all the best for you and your dog.

    And remember, if you are not satisfied that all that is possible is being done for your dog, don't be afraid to go to a different vet. Some vets are more knwledgeable than others about certain conditions. With the right treatment, you and your dog could still have some good times together, even though he will probably have to rest more than usual.

    Source(s): I am a veterinary technician.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Chf in dogs is usually caused by faulty heart valves which increase the work load of the heart.This over time causes the heart to enlarge and pump less effectively.The weakened heart causes fliud to collect in the lungs.It can be life threatening or over time lead to dealth.Medications are used to treat chf but short of a valve replacement surgery,there is no cure.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's eventually terminal but treatable. Your dog can take lasix for it. As the heart weakens it enlarges and heart failure results. It's called cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Potentially, yes.

    It depends on dog's age too.

    I have a 14 yr. old terrier/Chi who just went to vet's last month for checkup and may be put on heart medication in 6 mths. time when I take in to vet again.

    She coughs and gags occasionally which concerned me, but vet says all else (blookwk.) seems ok, so opted to wait till next visit.

    Strenuous exercise should be avoided and diet which does not tax heart further is essential.

    But if a dog is young and has it, then it is genetics.

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  • 3 years ago


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  • 3 years ago


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  • 1 decade ago

    My mom has congestive heart failure and she said that it is fluid around her heart. She takes meds to get rid of the fluid and she will be ok. My rottie has a heart murmur and I took him to a specialist and he has a leaky heart valve. It's mild, so we don't do anything right now. The website I sent should help.

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