Causes of Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs and Cats
Congestive heart failure in pets may occur when diseases of the heart muscle (known as cardiomyopathy), narrowing of major blood vessels (seen with many congenital heart defects and heart valve issues), and heart rhythm irregularities are present. The two most common causes of congestive heart failure in dogs are mitral valve insufficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy. In cats, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease. Genetic predisposition is clearly the most common underlying reason for the development of congestive heart failure. Other factors include certain viral infections and deficiencies of certain amino acids. Primary high blood pressure and thyroid disease may also cause congestive heart failure in some pets. Drugs that cause retention of salt and water such as prolonged use of cortisone type drugs can also trigger congestive heart failure in susceptible pets.
Pets Most at Risk for Congestive Heart Failure
Although congestive heart failure may develop in any age or breed of dog or cat, most cases typically occur in middle-aged to older pets. Pets less than a year old that develop congestive heart failure often have genetic heart defects. Congestive heart failure may occur more commonly in certain dog breeds, including King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Schnauzers, and Boxers.