Treatment Of Heart Failure In Dogs

The most important thing to do is to deal with the heart failure first, so as to relieve all the other secondary ailments associated with it. These include weak heart muscle action, arrhythmias and irregular blood pressure, poor blood flow, and too much blood building up in the heart prior to contraction. These secondary ailments can further injure the blood vessels and heart if it isn’t regulated. In addition, it is essential to decrease the quantity of fluid in the chest cavity, lungs, or belly.


A wide variety of medical options are on hand for managing heart failure. The type of drugs, their dosage, and recommended duration of use will differ based on the complexity and origin of the heart failure. As always, the veterinarian is the one who is most suited to settle on the apt medicine for your dog. All drugs approved by a veterinarian should be administered to the animal as instructed. If not, their effectiveness may be compromised and may even result in severe complications or harm.

The most recommended choice for controlling excessive fluids in animals is diuretics. Two drugs, referred to as positive inotropes, which can be utilised in aiding the cardiac muscle to contract are digitalis and digoxin. Vasodilators and ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) inhibitors can make blood vessels wider and consequently reduce blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers and beta-adrenergic blockers, which are also referred to as beta-blockers, can help relieve some incidents of congestive failure of the heart.


There are particular forms of heart failure that result from nutritional deficiency, and can thus be managed by providing the deficient nutrient. There are very few cases of such a form of heart failure.

A diet low in sodium is often suggested for dogs that suffer from extreme congestive heart failure which refuses to respond well to the usual treatment. Dogs that have mild to modest congestive heart failure don’t have to be restricted from eating food with a bit of sodium, although excessively salty diets should be avoided. There are diets that are tailored for such varying degrees of sodium, as are recipes for home-produced low salt diets. The usual treats given to the affected dog should be replaced with sodium-free snacks. Salt shouldn’t be denied to dogs whose heart disease show no symptoms of congestive heart failure, as this can lead to premature triggering of certain hormones.

Alternative Treatments

Extreme congestive failure of the left side of the heart and pulmonary oedema are characterised by a lack of sufficient oxygen. Affected dogs can be given oxygen through a tube or tight mask.

Abdominocentesis and Thoracentesis are medical techniques which involve a needle being placed into the abdomen or chest cavity, correspondingly, in order to remove the excessive fluid. These procedures can be performed on animals suffering from congestive failure of the heart and a build-up of fluid within the chest and abdomen. The procedures can result in quick improvement in symptoms, with no considerable negative effects, and may be conducted regularly if need be.

A normal prescription for dogs with long-term respiratory disease is Bronchodilator treatment. It is not characteristically meant to handle congestive heart failure. The only exception for this is dogs that lose consciousness due to a short-lived arrhythmia linked to heart disease, e.g. degenerative diseases of the valve.

Cough inhibitors are not a typical solution for treating congestive heart failure. This is because they tend to hide the symptoms of cough, which could still be present i.e. fluid in the lungs. However, if a dog suffering from extreme heart disease coughs a lot and x-rays do not show any fluid in the lungs, it can be assumed that the coughing is due to the inflamed heart pushing on the respiratory tubes. In such a case, cough suppressants can be recommended for the dog.

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