Heart Failure

This is a chronic condition in which a weakened heart does not pump enough blood to take care of the body needs. The body fluids tend to "back up" behind the heart much the same as a dam built across a river creates a lake. This puts pressure on the lungs and the liver and also further weakens the heart.


  1. Pet tires easily with little exercise
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Deep cough (often worse at night)
  4. Weight loss
  5. Enlarged abdomen (dropsy)
  6. Swollen or puffy legs
  7. Cyanosis (the lips or tongue turn blue)

Although congestive heart disease cannot be cured, many patients can live a comfortable life with care and proper medical treatments. Unfortunately, heart transplants (used successfully for people with this problem) are not possible for dogs and cats.


  1. Restricted exercise ----- hard playing and running increase the stress on the heart
  2. Low salt diet --------- reduces fluid retention thereby increasing heart efficiency 
  3. Bronchodilators ------- to expand the airways in the lungs and ease the breathing
  4. Heart medication ------ to strengthen the heart muscle and make it beat more effectively
  5. Diuretics ------------"water pills" to remove excess body fluids and lessen the heart's burden
  6. Blood pressure drugs --- lower the workload for the heart muscle

Medication must be fitted to the particular needs of the individual. The doctor will decide which of the above treatments are best for your pet.

PROBLEMS TO WATCH FOR AT HOME: ==> let us know immediately if you notice these symptoms!

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Refusal to eat
  • Labored breathing
  • Worsening cough
  • Blueness to the tongue or lips


Web site designed by Ed Acton for Tri-City Pet Hospital