Thursday, July 27, 2017

Caring for a dog that has an enlarged heart

dog with enlarged heartHeart failure in dogs - Just like human beings dogs can suffer a multitude of heart health problems. These days there are many treatments available which may offer a cure or manage the condition comfortably. The signs and symptoms of an enlarged heart may be vague initially such as your dog coughing which may be all that is seen at first.


As the heart enlarges heart failure and death will be the outcome, unless treatment is received. Once this condition is properly diagnosed, and treat, your dog may lead a comfortable and happy life for weeks, months or even years. During this time though the animal will need extra care, love and attention.




The Right Diagnosis

The first step as always is getting the right diagnosis. In the early stages of this illnesses there may be few symptoms. As the illness progresses your dog may be:
  • Listless
  • Have a swollen abdomen
  • Have a persistent cough
  • Pant more than normal
  • In a worse case scenario collapse
One of the problems with this condition is that fluid will build up in the animal's abdomen. This means that the dog will need medication such as Furosemide. This is a diuretic and will help your animal pass water. This medication does result in your animal drinking plenty of water and needing to urinate constantly. Obviously this makes demands on your time.

If your pet's tummy is very swollen the vet may administer an injection to start the ball rolling. The excess fluid may then be passed in one huge amount.

Various drugs may also be prescribed in order to keep your pet's heart working. These could be called Fortekor, Digoxin or Vetmedin. As your pet's condition worsens the drugs may be added to or altered.

Eventually all that can be done medically will have been done and TLC, tender loving care, will be what is required.

Making a long term commitment

Obviously such severe health problems will mean that your pet may tire more easily. The animal will need all the love, time and attention that you can give, and more. If you are not able to give your pet what it needs it will suffer.

Treating an enlarged heart can be expensive and time consuming. Your dog will need to have a check-up at least every three months. The vet may then tweak the prescribed drugs in order to achieve the maximum benefit.

Day to day life

It is important that you get into a routine. The medication will need administering throughout the day and your dog will need to pass water more than normal.

One of the most important things to remember though is to still have what fun you can with your pet. Just like a sick person the animal will need exercise and interaction. You will need to learn to identify the good days from the bad.

Many dogs with an enlarged heart still enjoy a good quality of life for quite some time.

The prognosis

Sadly, long term, the prognosis for a dog with an enlarged heart is death. It may be that you will have to euthanize your pet, or its heart may simply fail completely. You must make sure though that, through all of this, your dog does not suffer unnecessarily.

Monitor your dog's health and well-being on a daily basis. Watch out for changes in the animal's weight, appetite and general well-being. Try not to become overly protective and suffocating. Just learn to know when your dog needs to rest.

Make sure that your dying dog receives appropriate care.

Know when it is time for your pet to go to its final resting place and make the right 

You will need

  • Bags of love
  • Time
  • Money
  • Care
  • A good veterinarian
  • The correct medication
  • The correct diagnosis
  • A warm, comfortable and quiet place for your animal to rest when necessary
  • A sensible diet for your pet

Tips & Warnings 

  •  Never self-medicate your animal
  • Ensure that you consult a qualified veterinarian in order to get the correct diagnosis
  • Once you start the dog on a course of treatment follow it through.
  • Never keep a dog alive when it is suffering
  • Avoid giving your dog a diet high in salt

Some Tips and Issues By People having same issue with their pets:

A year ago our Golden was coughing,the vet said she has an enlarged heart and there is no cure, I done some research and a doctor from the University of Toroto said that they had been giving mice with enlarged hearts cucum,this had shrunk their hearts,we had nothing to lose so we gave her one and a half teaspoons of cucumin everyday,she had a scan yesterday and her heart has shrunk one centimetre in diameter,this is a miracal, I dont know if it will work on your dog but what do you have to lose? good luck.A year ago our Golden was coughing,the vet said she has an enlarged heart and there is no cure, I done some research and a doctor from the University of Toroto said that they had been giving mice with enlarged hearts cucum,this had shrunk their hearts,we had nothing to lose so we gave her one and a half teaspoons of cucumin everyday,she had a scan yesterday and her heart has shrunk one centimetre in diameter,this is a miracal, I dont know if it will work on your dog but what do you have to lose? good luck.

Our dog is 14 1/2 years old and has had an enlarged heart for most of her life. Our vet started prescribing enalapril for her enlarged heart when we found out that she had the condition.When she was maybe about 8 she started being sluggish, not eating well and just low energy in general. Our vet started prescribing Deramaxx for pain and it really perked her up.A few years ago we noticed that she was panting more than usual and started coughing. Our vet xrayed her and saw her lungs were full of fluid. She prescribed furosemide which removed some of the fluid. But it makes her pee and drink a lot so watch out.Her enlarged heart presses up on the bottom of her wind pipe which adds to her coughing. This happens between their front shoulders. With our dog, if we rub and massage this area well when your dog is coughing.

Dear Jake, I am so sorry for your loss. I have a 14 yro Terrier mix, Clyde who I have had since he was 5 wks old. I hope Clyde goes in his sleep also b/c I don't want to euthanize. He is currently taking Vetmedin, enalepril, levothyroxine, metacam and pepsid. I changed his diet to chicken broth with boiled chicken, carrots and EN dog food. I hope this information helps others who seek help for a pet with this disease. We have owned several pets, Clyde is my soul mate dog

We have two shihzue's, both about 12 years old. Whey are taking enalapril, vetmedin, & one is on the lasix. the larger one (18 lbs.) we have been treating for a year. He has the enlarged stomach from fluid and went thru not wanting to go for his daily walk, but, is better right now. The smaller one is only 10 lbs. and has just stopped eating. She is on an appetite stimulant. She does not do as much coughing. We are jut trying to take care of them comfortably. It is very sad. We just want to keep them with us until they are gone. We have a wonderful vet. that they both see frequently. I hope they make it some longer, but, if we see them suffering we will have to make the necessarydecision. Hope they just go in their sleep. 

Our 10 year old rescue papillon who we have had for 6 months has been diagnosed with chronic heart failure. All is well as we have a great team at the vets and we have her in meds now and reduced exercise. She seems to have adjusted herself to her new lifestyle and is a very very happy sociable dog. For the second time now I have noticed her release a deep breath then stop breathing for a short time. It's happens when she is sleeping. Is this all part of the condition ? We are going to have an echocardiogram in a few weeks to get a clearer picture of what's happening, 

Other Related Articles: Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in Dogs
4 DANGERS OF AN ENLARGED HEART IN DOGS

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