The way a cardiovascular disease is treated is dependent on that particular type of disease. While certain defects can be treated or repaired by surgical means, others can be controlled by using medical therapy, with one or more different kinds of drugs. Dogs suffering from congestive heart failure are usually prescribed a diet that is low in sodium, in order to help them get rid of excess fluid build-up in the body.
The general objective of treatment of cardiovascular diseases is to:
- Reduce the risk of damage to the cardiac muscle
- Make sure that the blood contains adequate oxygen
- Lessen the risks of formation of blood clots.
- Regulate the accumulation of fluids in the lungs
- Boost blood circulation in the body
- Control the heart rate and rhythm
It should be noted that in the case of heartworm disease, the adult heartworms and their larvae should be exterminated.
General Types of Drugs for Cardiovascular Disease
There are numerous kinds of drugs that can be prescribed by a veterinarian when treating dogs with cardiovascular disease. The type of disease being dealt with will influence the kind of medical treatment prescribed. It is important to follow the instructions precisely as prescribed. If not, the medication may not work effectively, and in some instances, may even aggravate the condition further.
An example of a popularly prescribed drug for dogs with heart problems is a diuretic. Diuretics are drugs that stimulate urine production. They are quite important and valuable ways of eliminating fluids that build up in dogs that suffer from heart problems. Diuretics can be used as a temporary measure in order to save a dog’s life.
Drugs such as digitalis glycosides and digoxin are often prescribed in order to boost the power of the heart muscle during contractions, to reduce the heart rate, and to improve the performance of blood pressure receptors. Such medication is also used to treat a failing heart, with drugs known as ACE inhibitors also being used in similar situations in dogs. These drugs can lower blood pressure, boost cardiac output, and minimise mitral regurgitation.
There are drugs that are prescribed in order to make respiratory muscles stronger and improve breathing, to control arrhythmias, reduce or increase the heart rate, and avert formation of blood clots. In certain situations, medications are given to destroy heartworms and other parasites attacking the cardiovascular system.
Every medical case is different and therefore your veterinarian will check your pet and prescribe the necessary medication for that particular condition. At the end of the day, it is the duty of the owner to ensure that all instructions are followed to the letter, and the pet is given the accurate dose on schedule.