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Quote Kioshi Replybullet Topic: Right-sided Congestive Heart Failure in Cats, Dogs
    Posted: 22-Dec-2008 at 10:26am

Right-sided congestive heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump blood at the rate required to meet the basic needs of the body. This can occur in both dogs and cats. And while it is not curable, there are treatment options that can improve the quality of life for the animal.


All organ systems in the body can be affected by congestive heart failure. Common signs include weakness, lethargy, difficulty breathing, an enlarged liver, and abdominal distension. Upon physical examination, several signs of the disease may present, including jugular vein distention, heart murmur, and rapid, shallow breathing.


Heartworms can be a cause for congestive heart failure. In some cases, congenital heart conditions are hereditary, particularly with Boxers. In other cases, a weak heart muscle can cause congestive heart failure.


The veterinarian will need to differentiate between causes of the heart failure when examining the animal. Generally, there will be a full diagnostic work up, including blood tests, heartworm tests, and fluid analysis to determine the cause for the heart failure.


Most animals are on an outpatient basis unless the condition is severe. Some of the treatment options that are used to treat this condition include a restriction of activity, and a reduction of sodium in the diet. In some cases, surgery will be required. If there is a build up of fluid in the abdomen or the chest, a technique called "tapping" can be used to remove some of the excess fluid.

Living and Management

Following treatment, it is important to administer the full course of prescribed medication, and observe any abnormalities in the animal's behavior. It will also be necessary to monitor the animal's kidney health. This disease is not curable, so ongoing management by the pet owner will be required.


Preventing right-sided congestive heart failure is dependent on the underlying cause of the disease. For example, if heartworms are the cause of the heart diseases, then pet owners should ensure their dog or cat is taking heartworm medication regularly, and that they go in to your veterinarian for routine wellness checkups.

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