It is quite possible for a dog to get congestive heart failure. When this happens, the heart cannot pump sufficient amounts of oxygen-rich blood to the various organs, and this could lead to problems with the kidneys, lungs, liver as well as several other organs.
If you dog is suffering from a heart ailment, you should know that it is not always certain that the dog will end up with congestive heart failure. However, the possibility is very high. And, if the failure occurs, it will come on all of a sudden without any warning like after some strenuous exercise.
Many small breed of dogs are known to have heart ailments related to the valves of the heart. That is why congestive heart failure is commonly seen in these small breeds. While large breeds tend to have dilated cardiomyopathy.
One of the first few signs of congestive heart failure in dogs is reduced activity and coughing on and off. Usually the coughing will occur when the dog gets excited or does some exercise. In addition, the dog may also cough more during the night, around 2 hours after it has retired for the night. While these early symptoms are not very specific, you should keep an eye out for them.
As the congestive heart failure gets worse, the dog will lose its appetite, start breathing fast, suffer from swelling of the abdomen and also lose weight significantly. In addition, as the heart is not strong enough to pump blood, blood may enter the lungs, liver and legs. When the blood leaks into the lungs, it can lead to coughing. If you notice your dog coughing up bright red blood that is foamy, then your dog is suffering from pulmonary edema. This is an indication that the left ventricle has failed. Once this happens, the blood will enter the abdomen and this is the reason why there is a swelling of the abdomen.
In case the right side of the heart fails, the blood will end up entering chest cavity. Once the congestive heart failure reaches the end stages, the dog will sit with this legs splayed apart and its head extended forward. The breathing will be heavy, labored and irregular. The gums and the tongue end up getting a gray blue hue. Also, in the last stages, if the dog exerts itself, it may end up passing out.
If your dog has suffered from congestive heart failure, then make sure that you do not feed it food that is high on salt. Also, do not let the dog do exercise, and above all, make the dog take the medications prescribed by the vet.
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