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Shock Due to Heart Failure in Dogs



If the degree of cardiac dysfunction has progressed to a condition of shock, intensive hospitalized treatment becomes necessary. Drainage of the pericardium is essential for patients displaying compression of the lining of the heart, and fluid therapy will be kept to a minimum until cardiac function is improved. This may be done with the use of positive inotropes, fluid or drug agents that alter the force or energy of muscular contractions; with vasodilators, which relax smooth muscles and widen blood vessels to improve flow; or by decompression of a pericardial (heart sac) leakage, as congestive heart failure may be exacerbated.


Cardiovascular monitoring will be conducted by electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures the electrical currents of the heart muscle, and measurement of central venous pressure and blood pressure is useful for determining the effectiveness of the given treatment. Oxygen supplementation is important, as with decreased blood flow, there is a concurrent decrease in oxygen reaching the tissues. Oxygen can be administered by oxygen cage, mask, or nasal tube. In addition, your veterinarian will choose any appropriate drugs to treat your dog's specific condition.


Living and Management


After the initial treatment, your veterinarian will want revisit your dog to monitor heart rate, pulse intensity, mucous membrane color, respiratory rate, lung sounds, urine output, mentation (mental activity), and rectal temperature.



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