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Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

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Treatment

Your dog's treatment depends on what specific heart problem she has and what may be causing it.

Your vet may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Medications to help the heart work and correct irregular heartbeats
  • Medications to slow fluid build-up in the lungs
  • Surgery to correct a torn valve or to insert a pacemaker to correct the heart beat
  • A commercial or prescription low-salt diet to help decrease fluid build-up in your dog's body
  • Limited activity or exercise to manage weight without putting too much strain on your dog's heart

Your vet may also recommend supplements. Dogs with congestive heart failure may benefit from vitamin B supplements, taurine (an amino acid that supports brain development), or carnitine (an amino acid that helps turn fat into energy). Antioxidants like Coenzyme Q and vitamin E may also help.

Medication can also clear heartworms or bacterial infections if they're caught early enough.

What to Expect

Make sure to bring your dog for regular visits with your vet and stick with your treatment plan.  Unchecked heart problems can make things harder on your dog and even shorten her life. With the right treatments, care, and monitoring, your dog can live a long, comfortable life.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on September 22, 2014
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