Congestive Heart Failure, or CHF, is a serious condition in which the heart does not sufficiently provide blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Both occuring in humans and in pets alike, this condition causes fluid to build up in other organs. Left-sided CHF is most common and this type causes fluid buildup in the lungs. Right-sided CHF is less common and it causes fluids to build up in other portions of the body. CHF tends to affect older animals.
Congestive heart failure can be congenital, or it can be a cause of heartworm disease, heart muscle disease, valve degeneration, pericardium disease, and heart arrhythmia. Symptoms of left-side CHF include panting, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Right-side CHF causes abdominal and leg swelling to occur. A veterinarian diagnosis is required to determine if CHF is present. The vet usually conducts a vet exam, diagnostic tests including X-ray, electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, and an ultrasonography. There is currently no cure for CHF but there are ways to reduce symptoms. It is helpful to reduce exercise to decrease work load on the heart, reduce sodium intake in the diet, and diuretic medications are available. Your veterinarian may also be able to prescribe medications to ease the workload on the heart.
To learn more about Congestive Heart Failure in pets, check out our Pet Health Concerns Guide. By enrolling your pet with Trupanion pet insurance, your cat or dog’s policy will include coverage for diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, hereditary and congenital disorders, as long as treatment for a certain condition is required after enrolling and is not pre-existing.
Has your pet ever been diagnosed with this condition? If so, we’d love to hear from you and any comments, advice, experiences, of thoughts on this condition.