Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) in pets involves the collection of fluid in certain parts of the body caused by acute heart disease. Leaky valves in dogs and inadequate pumping in cats can cause congestive heart failure. CHF is the result of fluid leaks that reduce the blood flow to crucial organs like the kidneys.

If your dog has leaky valves, it means that they are most likely suffering from heart disease. As they age, especially in the cases of small dogs, the valves deteriorate and become distorted, paving the way for heart disease to occur. These deformed valves cannot close normally which leads to blood leakage that eventually increases, effectively reducing the amount of blood pumped into the vital organs of the body. In the case of cats, the thickening or thinning of the heart can lead to poor pumping. Cats with CHF experience loss of breath, breathe with an open mouth, and their gums appear blue.

Treatment for CHF involves a corrective and restorative approach directed towards treating the primary heart condition and the buildup of fluid. Your veterinarian can prescribe medications that would help to drain the fluid, enabling the heart to pump better, and dilating the blood vessels which would increase their capacity of holding blood.

For every pet owner, their pet’s health is very important. While CHF and other types of heart disease in pets can be very concerning, there are some tips that you can follow to ensure the continued health of your cat or dog. By making them exercise regularly, you help your pet maintain an ideal body weight, preventing them from becoming obese which also reduces the strain on the heart. Taking your cat or dog to the veterinarian for routine health checks, visiting a veterinary cardiologist upon recommendation are other ways of keeping your pet healthy.