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Heart Failure, Congestive (Left-sided) in Dogs



Treatment will depend on the exact underlying cause of the cardiac disease. Most patients suffering from left-sided congestive heart failure can be treated on an outpatient basis. However, if your dog is having trouble breathing it should be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) in an oxygen cage. Your veterinarian will also recommend hospitalization of your dog if it is presenting with very low blood pressure.


Surgical intervention may benefit selected patients with congenital defects, such as malformations of the heart that were present at birth, and some forms of congenital and acquired heart valve disease.


Your veterinarian will also prescribe medications for the heart, if suitable, and will advise you in a diet and exercise plan that will keep your dog's blood pressure down and relieve pressure on the heart muscle, while hopefully strengthening its ability to pump blood.


Living and Management


Left sided congestive heart failure is an incurable disease. Your dog will need to have its activity restricted to some extent to relieve pressure on the heart. Your veterinarian will advise you in planning a reasonable exercise routine for your dog. Your dog should also be fed a moderately sodium-restricted diet that is high in nutrients. This diet may be changed to a severely sodium-restricted diet if the disease worsens, but your veterinarian will determine if this is appropriate.



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