What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure affects pets in the same way that it affects humans. Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to heart failure. If the heart is unable to pump blood adequately throughout the body, a build up of fluid in the lungs, chest and abdominal cavity develops and causes heart failure.
The heart does not stop but it has to work extra hard because the blood flow to the body is restricted. While heart failure cannot be cured, with proper management and treatment a significant difference can be made to your pet’s life.
The common symptoms and signs of heart failure include:
- Shortness of breath leading to breathing difficulties
- Swollen, puffy legs
- Abdominal swelling
- Bluish tinge or discoloration on lips and mouth
What Causes Heart Failure?
Heart failure may occur for several reasons and these include birth defects, hereditary factors, heartworm infections, a weak heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) or heart valve. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, Help for Heart Failure, hyperthyroidism, obesity, aging, poor nutrition or lack of exercise can also lead to heart failure.
Diagnosing Heart Failure
The diagnosis of congestive heart failure is based on the symptoms present, a thorough physical examination and review of your pet’s medical history. Certain diagnostic tests such as blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound of the chest, heartworm test, fluid analysis and ECG (electrocardiogram) may be performed to rule out any other conditions and confirm the diagnosis of heart failure.
Help for Heart Failure
The aim of treatment is to ensure that the heart pumps more effectively. Medications such as diuretics, enzyme inhibitors and drugs to prevent heartworm infection will be prescribed.
Certain procedures such as a thoracentesis, tapping, oxygen supplementation or surgery may be performed to remove excess fluid from the chest in more serious cases. In order to manage this condition properly, a low sodium diet may also be prescribed to reduce fluid retention.
Natural and holistic remedies have a long history of promoting heart and circulatory health in humans as well as pets. Herbal and homeopathic remedies are safe and effective to use together with prescription medications without any side effects.
Crateagus oxycantha (Hawthorne) is a well respected herb containing cardio-tonic and anti-oxidant properties that support artery health and strength. Carefully selected homeopathic ingredients such as Arnica montana, Kalium phosphate, and Calcium fluoride support healthy blood pressure and are excellent for the heart, circulatory and nervous systems.
More Information on Heart Failure
Tips to promote a healthy heart in pets
There are a number of things that you can do to support heart health in your pet and these include:
- Feed your pet high quality commercial food or all an natural diet that contains the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients
- Encourage moderate exercise and make sure that you do not over-exercise your pet
- Maintain a healthy weight in your pet – overweight and obese cats and dogs are more at risk of heart disease
- Always provide fresh, clean water
- Incorporate a vitamin supplement to your pet’s treatment plan to boost the immune system
- Make sure that your pet is treated for heartworm infection
- Visit your vet regularly for routine check ups
- Reduce stress and anxiety in your pet