Treatment Options for Pets with Congestive Heart Failure
Treatment for congestive heart failure in pets involves a combination of various medications to try to enhance survival rates. The most important drugs include diuretics, such as Furosemide (Salix) and Spironolactone. These medications help reduce and eliminate excessive fluid that has built up in your pet's lungs or body. If possible, pets should also be placed on low-salt diets to help minimize fluid retention.
Drugs known as ACE inhibitors help pets with heart problems by dilating the blood vessels in front of and behind the heart, allowing the heart to beat more easily. Drugs of this class include Enalapril, Benazepril, and Lisinopril.
In cases of dilated cardiomyopathy and mitral valve insufficiency, drugs that increase the force of contraction of the heart are often used. These include the Digoxin and Vetmedin (for dogs). Based on your pet's physical exam and EKG, certain anti-arrhythmic drugs are sometimes needed as well.
In cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), drugs such as Atenolol or Diltiazem reduce heart rate and allow the heart to fill more adequately. Plavix has also been used in cats to help decrease the liklihood of blood clot formation.