Dog as a pet and companion animal improves your health indirectly because you as owners used to involve in playing with their pet which makes you more physically active, less prone to allergies, and better mental health. In other words, we have to admit that dogs are very close to our heart, so as being an owner it is our responsibility to keep their heart fit and healthy, for this we have to know about the conditions which usually affect their cardiovascular system.
The heart of dog and heart of human beings are very similar in their anatomical and physiological orientation. And the disease conditions which are associated with heart of our beloved pet are also moreover similar to each other. One of the common problem for both humans and dogs is congestive heart failure. Firstly we will know about that what congestive heart failure in dogs is really.
What is the meaning of Congestive Heart Failure?
The meaning of congestive heart failure is similar for both. In very simple words we can understand that “Failure of the heart, seldom known as congestive heart failure”. the condition occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. It means the heart muscles does not works properly. Due to lack in the functioning of the heart muscles a very dangerous condition develops. Some times this condition become life threatening. Your lovely pet can also suffer from heart problems just like you. So it is better to know the symptoms so you can get your companion the help they need. One of the most common diseases is congestive heart failure.
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What causes congestive heart failure in dogs?
Wide variety of causes are involved for developing the heart associated problems in our pets. beloved dog may have been born with a heart defect means he may suffer from genetic disorders. The chances of this type of genetic disorders are very common. Another method of getting heat associated problem is the dog may acquire diseases from the surrounding. Injury, senility, an infection can exacerbate it. Diet and exercise also play a vital role in the development of disease.
What are the common clinical signs and symptoms of heart diseases in dogs?
When your pet get problems related to heart he starts to show some signs which indicates the severity and origin of the heart problems. Following are the important symptoms of heart problems:
- Nocturnal coughing – this is the on of most peculiar sign of heart disease. Your pet may start coughing. Specially in night when he tries to sleep that time the coughing is more prominent sign.
- Exercise intolerance- exercise intolerance is also an important clinical finding. In the cases of heart associated problems. Dog get fatigued even after very little walk. They show reluctance to move and only prefer to sit at a place.
- Respiratory distress– when dog suffers form cardiac problem respiratory distress is the very common finding. In this there is uneasiness develops during normal respiratory functioning.
- Increased Respiration- increased respiration rate is also one of the important clinical finding in the cases of cardiac disorders. Rapid breathing show there is defect in the circulatory system.
What are the symptoms showing advancement of disease ?
Besides from the common clinical signs there is some more symptoms which indicates the advancement of the cardiac disorders in pets. Some of the advanced clinical signs includes
- Ascites- A swollen belly from fluid. There is accumulation of fluid in the belly of affected dogs.
- Fainting- because of blocked blood flow to the brain
- Cyanosis- change in the tongue or gum color to bluish-grey because of poor oxygen flow.
- Weight loss- Advanced stages of cardiac disorders there is loss of the body weight
- Anorexia- complete refusal from taking food.
How the diagnosis of heart diseases can be done?
The methods of diagnosis of heart diseases in dogs are very similar to the human beings. For diagnosing heart issues, a vet will want to know any symptoms you’ve noticed. He will want to know what the dog eats, what medications and supplements they may be taking, and if they are currently on heartworm protection. After taking the complete history from your vet will use the following diagnostic methods.
- Auscultation – this is the most common method of diagnosis of cardiac problems it’s the procedure of listening to your pet’s heart and chest sounds with the help of a stethoscope.
- Blood and Urine Test: A blood and urine test to check for any other problems that could be affecting your dog’s heart
- Radiography- Chest X-rays are very useful in the diagnosis of the heart related issues. X-ray of heart gives exact idea of hypertrophy, degeneration and defects in the borders of heart.
- Electrocardiography- one of the most popular method of diagnosis of heart issues. it is the test used for measuring electrical signals from your dog’s heart and correlates between heart rate and rhythm.
- Echocardiography- this is the most advanced and accurate method of diagnosis of the cardiac problems. It is simply the ultrasound of heart. Which gives the idea about the valvular defects and exact anatomical picture. Many of the difficult diseases like endocarditis are diagnosed successfully with the help of this method.
Congestive heart failure is one of the important disease. So its treatment should be done very rationally. It’s a very serious issue so don’t try to self-medicate your pet, it could be very dangerous for the life of your beloved one. as it will risk your beloved pet’s life in the risk. Whenever your pet starts to show symptom related to heart problems, it’s better to immediately consult or visit a Veterinarian. He will start the treatment after conducting the needful examinations of pet.
Author : Dr. Sawan Kumar, MVSc. (Veterinary Medicine)