“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” — Roger Caras
How Long Can A Dog Live With Congestive Heart Failure

How Long Can A Dog Live With Congestive Heart Failure?

Looking After Your Best Friend

It is very sad and stressful news to receive a diagnosis that your beloved dog has Congestive heart failure. Unfortunately, some large breeds and many small breeds are prone to congestive heart failure as they age.

Symptoms and signs in Dogs of CHF

On the brighter side, it can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. It is important that you as a dog owner know the symptoms and recognizes them early on to get early treatment and the best chance of recovery.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is an illness of the heart wherein it experiences a problem pumping blood supply throughout the body. It results in blood backing up into the lungs. Furthermore,  fluid a accumulates in some parts of the chest or abdomen. This further prevents oxygen from circulating throughout the dog’s body!

Types of Congestive Heart Failure

Right-sided congestive heart failure 

This happens when a heart contraction makes blood leaks from the right ventricle through the tricuspid valve into the right atrium. Whereas the blood is supposed to be pushed through the lungs and be oxygenated. This results in the main circulation system becoming congested with backed-up blood. This interferes with the proper function of the affected organs and causes swelling in the limbs.

Left-sided congestive heart failure 

The most common type of heart failure for dogs happens when a heart contraction makes a blood leak from the left ventricle leaks through the mitral valve into the left atrium. Unfortunately, results in heavy pressure to the left side of the heart. Furthermore, fluid leaks into the tissue of the lungs that makes dogs cough and difficult to breathe.

Common Symptoms of CHF in Dogs

It is important to observe and recognize if your dog is experiencing these symptoms that might be a sign of heart failure. Should you notice your dog having these symptoms schedule a check-up with your vet to prevent further health complications.

  • Struggling to breathe
  • Coughing with blood
  • Coughing
  • Getting tired more easily
  • Constant panting
  • Reluctance or refusal to exercise or move excessively
  • Fatigue
  • Distended abdomen
  • Collapsing

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

A congenital heart defect is a genetic condition that is passed on from the dog’s ancestor. While it cannot be prevented, it is important to know if your dog has these genes so that you can adjust your dog’s lifestyle early in his life. Small breeds are more prone to this illness due to the fast rate of degeneration of their heart valves. Some breeds develop this disease due to the dilation of heart muscles. Some dogs may not have this defective gene and yet develop CHF with an unhealthy lifestyle. Obesity and heartworm weaken the heart making him prone to other heart conditions such as CHF.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your vet will diagnose your dog for heart irregularities and murmur. If your vet is not a specialist, he may refer you to a cardiologist for further examination and treatment.
Diagnosis procedures for CHF include X-rays, electrocardiograms, and echocardiograms. It is also important to test blood and urine to rule out other possible causes or diseases that are causing the symptoms above.
Your dog may undergo oxygen therapy and hospitalization if he is having a hard time to breath. Your vet will give your dog medication to remove the fluid from his lungs and abdomen. Your vet will also give your dog medication to relax the blood vessels to help the heart pump blood easily. Other medications include those to strengthen blood pumping pressure so the blood will not back up.

After these treatments, your vet will give you pointers on change of lifestyle and you must strictly implement it for the good of your dog.


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