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Ask the Vet About Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs and Cats

Congestive Heart Failure
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Treatment
Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet About Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs & Cats
MichaelDym, V.M.D.
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
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As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and dedication to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.

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Showing 1 - 15 of 28
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Date: Oct 20, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Chances

Question:My 11yr old lab has a small heart for a 48kg size body & is beating lower than normal rate. She has edema in throat & chest. Has fluid in lungs and has arthritis. She s on medications:lasix and vetmedin. 1. How many % of dogs recover fr this condition taking vetmedin? 2. How many senior dogs get better from this condition?3. What are her chances to recover. & 4. if she doesn┐t recover her life expectancy? 5. If she recovers how long will that take? Many many thanks

Answer:1. It depends a little on what condition caused the congestive heart failure (mitral valve insufficiency vs dilated cardiomyopathy, etc) Just like humans, once you have congestive heart failure, it usually doesn't go away but the answer to the next question is more encouraging. 2. Most dogs that take Lasix and Vetmedin improve. 3. Same question and answer as number one. 4. Having never seen her or done a physical on her or looked at her blood work or x-rays, it is impossible for me to answer this - your veterinarian is definitely the one to ask because s/he knows the severity of her condition. 5. Most dogs start to improve with their coughing in the first few days (primarily from the lasix), then they really start to feel better in a couple of weeks (from the Vetmedin).

Date: Oct 19, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Dosage

Question:My 11 yr old lab is on lasix for her edema and fluid in her lungs. And vet gave vetmedin for her small heart to beat normal for a 48kg body. Dosage is 2tabs 2x a Day. I disagree and want to give so much less dosage instead... what is the min dosage I can giver her. Thanks so much

Answer:That sounds like an acceptable dosage (assuming the tablets are 5mg.) The usual dosage for Vetmedin is 0.23mg per pound of pet's body weight divided into 2 portions to be given 12 hours apart. If your dog is 48kg, he is ~105 pounds so his dosage would be ~24mg and it sounds like you are giving 20mg. My only concern would be if he is very overweight, which at 105# is very well could be, in which case, with most medications, you don't want to dose the fat. In other words, if he should weigh 60 pounds, it might be a little high for him. If 105 is a good weight for his frame (labs vary so much so it might be), then he is on an appropriate dosage.

Date: Oct 18, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: CHF diet / supplements

Question:I have a Maltese that has CHF (Cardiomyopathy), vet said Stage 2. She also has some trachea collapse which seems to be triggered by water and perhaps eating. She takes 1 tablet salix 12.5 mg every 12 hours. She takes 1/2 tablet Enalapril 5mg every 12 hours. She takes 1/4-1/2 tablet Torbutrol 1mg (for trachea collapse) And I try to get her to take a healthy fish oil She eats halo for small pets which sodium I believe falls under the guidelines of what she should have (she does not like the h/d prescription). I was wondering if feeding her can food (https://halopets.com/dog/small-breed) that falls within the sodium limits would be better (more soothing) for her trachea - or is it not effected by dry vs. wet food? Are there any supplements for CHF you would recommend when taking the above prescriptions? Thank you.

Answer:Your question about wet vs dry food is an interesting one and kind of depends on how well your dog chews up the dry pieces. If she chews them up normally/pretty well, there shouldn't be much of a difference between wet and dry, BUT if she doesn't, there is a chance that the harder food rubs/bumps up against her sensitive trachea and can lead to coughing, SO the only real way to know if it helps is to try it and see. I am a huge fan of the supplement Coenzyme Q10 for my heart failure patients. This is a good product that contains it (and other heart-healthy things): https://www.1800petmeds.com/VetriScience+Vetri+Cardio+Canine+Bite+Sized+Chews+for+Dogs-prod12052.html Ask your veterinarian if it might be ok to add to your dog's heart plan.

Date: Oct 18, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Small heart

Question:My vet says My 11 yr old lab has fluids in lungs so coughs at times and has a small heart for a 48kg body. So heart pumping/beat is half the normal way it should. Thus cause trouble breathing, eating etc due to edema at throat and chest area. Would like to hear a second opinion on what to do. Thanks

Answer:It's really hard for me to give an accurate opinion without listening to his heart and seeing his radiographs but there are many medications to help pull the fluid off of his lungs (mainly diuretics like lasix, etc) and many that can help with the overall heart failure - we basically use the same medications they use in human medicine for heart failure. In addition to these traditional medications like Enalapril, Vetmedin, etc, I usually start my heart failure patients on Coenzyme Q10 so ask your veterinarian if that might be ok to add to his medications.

Date: Sep 10, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Homeopathic medicine

Question:What homeopathic medicine can be given to my 13 year old black Labrador retriever with heart disease?

Answer:I am not familiar with homeopathic medications but I can tell you that we have really effective traditional medications for heart disease. We use many of the same medications that are used for people with heart disease. One supplement I really like for my heart failure patients is Coenzyme Q10 - especially my patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, which the larger breeds dogs like Retrievers are more predisposed to than small breed dogs.

Date: Sep 7, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Treatment

Question:I have a boxer aged 2 years...since 4 to 5 days he is having a problem in breathing took him for a blood test and xray which didn't turned normal ...please suggest me with the correct medicine as I'm clueless

Answer:It really depends on WHY he is "having a problem in breathing." You categorized this question under Congestive Heart Failure and that is one possibility but it would not be high on the list for a 2 year old. I can't figure out if you mean his x-ray was normal or abnormal when you write "xray which didn't turned normal". Depending on his underlying cause I would recommend totally different things for heart failure vs allergic bronchitis vs heartworm disease vs cancer, etc. Your veterinarian that examined him, ran blood work, and has his x-rays to look at is definitely the best person to consult about medication.

Date: Sep 3, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Congestive heart failure

Question:Hi my dog is being treated for inflammation with steroids at the moment. She was collapsing. I think she has congestive heart failure. She is finding it difficult to breathe and has no energy. Her back legs are weak.

Answer:Steroids aren't used to treat congestive heart failure so I'm guessing she has inflammation somewhere else. The difficulty breathing is probably from her heart failure and probably means she needs to be on medication for heart failure and if she's already on them, they may need to be increased so consult your veterinarian for the best medications based on her physical exam and/or x-rays.

Date: Aug 27, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Congestive heart failure treatment

Question:My dog has been diagnosed, and is being treated, for congestive heart failure. I don't doubt the congestive heart failure diagnosis but question the treatment. My dog is being treated for thyroid, arthritis and congestive heart failure. My dog weighs 68.4#s and he's on a vet supervised diet to lose weight. His feeding: 1 1/4 cup Prescription Diet dry food twice a day. He is gradually losing weight on this plan. Medications morning: .3 mg thyroid 50 mg carprofen (arthritis) 300 mg gabapentin (arthritis) 40 mg furosemide (diuretic, CHF) all taken with one pill pocket 15 mg vetmedin (CHF) given after his first half cup of food Medications evening: : .3 mg thyroid 50 mg carprofen (arthritis) 300 mg gabapentin (arthritis) all taken with one pill pocket 15 mg vetmedin (CHF) given after his first half cup of food Vetmedin: The Vetmedin web site gives a total daily dosage of 15 mg for a 66# dog. My dog currently weighs 68.4#s and is on 30 mg. Vetmedin a day which is double the daily recommended dose. Should this be a concern? Furosemide: Mercvetmanual.com gives a dosage of: Dogs: 2┐4 mg/kg, PO, once to three times daily. My dog weighs 68.4# or roughly 31 kg, by my reckoning. That should be 60 to 120 mg a day if I'm interpreting this correctly. My dog is currently taking 40 mg once a day. The Mercvetmanual.com site states the medication has a short effective duration, about two hours. By this it seems 40 mg once a day is a very low dose. Also, the Merc Manual states NSAIDs may interfere with furosemide as a diuretic and Buddy is taking Carprofen which I think is an NSAID. I would like an opinion of dosages and interactions and suggested therapies.

Answer:All of those dosages sound ok. The Vetmedin dosage seems a little high - be sure they don't want you giving 1/2 of a 15mg twice a day. Your veterinarian is definitely the best person to ask about appropriate dosages because we go by a lot more than weight - we look at blood work, response to therapy (or lack there of), history of other issues or disease etc.

Date: Jul 30, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: CHF meds are not working anymore

Question:Dr, my 13 yr old female Shih-Tzu, has CHF, with a level 4 heart murmur. She's on the Lasix, 12.5 mg, twice daily, Vetmetbin 1.25 mg, twice daily, and Enalipril, once a day. However recently the last couple weeks. I have seen a steady decline in her health, along with more and more coughing, that just makes me cringe. It just appears to me, the medicines aren't working anymore and I'm scared to death for her. Is there a last ditch, a shot in the dark, thing we could do to help her?? We just lost our almost 13 yr old Doberman back in the end of June, and now it's looking like a similar fate is to follow soon for my little MeeShe, who is just the sweetest dog I've ever had, if you can see some hope for her / us, we really could use it. Sincerely, Damian J Zajac

Answer:I'm so sorry you are going through this right after losing your Dobie. Call your veterinarian and see if you can increase her dosage of Lasix and/or Vetmedin. It will depend on her last blood work and exactly how much she weighs. Ask your veterinarian if Coenzyme Q10 might be ok to add to her medications - they may carry it but you don't need a prescription for it.

Date: Jul 9, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Question about Generic Meds.

Question:My chiwawa takes Vetmedin 1.25 mg.that I cannot afford.$32.00 monthly 2 twice daily.What is a cheap Generic for it & price please.She is also on 2 other meds Lasix 1&1/4 twice daily & Enalapril 1 Tab twice daily.Need Generic Prices for all Please? Thankyou

Answer:I don't know of a generic for Vetmedin (pimobendan). It might be an option to buy the 5mg tablets and cut them into 4ths BUT you would need to call the manufacturer (Boehringer Ingelheim) before you do something like that - tablets are made differently and some are not supposed to be split and some disperse the active ingredient unevenly so you definitely wouldn't want to do that if that was the case. The 1-800 number should be on your box of 1.25mg.

Date: Jun 23, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Death

Question:Hello, I know this probably a strange question but I live alone and concerned. My Maltese going to be 16 yrs old sept. I have been blessed but 4 years ago she was diagnosed with blocked ventricular. My question when god for bid If the day she passes what do I do if middle of night with her till can get to vet. Thank you. Ps I worry to much . She is on vetmedian and enalapril which I buy from petmeds. Bless you for all they do !

Answer:That is a very good question - one that you need to think about before it happens. Call your veterinarian and ask them the same question because we are all different - most of us will take care of the body for you and then some areas have special cremation services available and some areas even have burial services - so see what is available in your area. You will want to keep her body cool (refrigerated or frozen) until you can get her to either your veterinarian or one of those places.

Date: Jun 22, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Fish oil

Question:My chihuahua has CHF. HE IS 11. Would fish oil be beneficial. He weighs 5 lbs.

Answer:If he is in congestive heart failure, he should be on a few different stronger medications but if you are thinking about adding it to his medications, then yes, it can be beneficial. Always check with your veterinarian who has his entire history (bloodwork, allergies, radiographs, etc) before starting him on anything. Fish oil by itself won't help CHF much though so don't use it as a single treatment.

Date: Jun 2, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Panting, breathing hard

Question:My Jack Russell has been diagnosed with COPD and the doctor has given him Theophylline, Hydrocodone, Enalapril, Prednisone, and amoxicillin 2 times a day. I gave him his meds and he is extremely shaky and is panting like he's been running for miles, but he's lying steal. What can I do? I have taken him to the vet twice & it has cost me over $700 & I cannot afford to continue taking him to the vet. I wondered if I could give him a little bit of Xanax because I cannot afford to continue taking him to the vet. I am so scared he is going to start having seizures what can be done any ideas? Thanks for your help

Answer:It is probably a side effect of the medications - call your veterinarian that prescribed them and work with them (more than likely over the phone) to decrease some of the meds. I would be most suspicious of the hydrocodone and prednisone but don't decrease anything without talking to them first.

Date: May 25, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Fluid in the stomach or belly

Question:Our 12 year old spayed female ( spayed when young) has started filling up with fluid. A vet told us to give her some water pills to try to keep her comfortable There was some yellowing in the eyes. The indication was not much else could be done. We had her at the Vet on Tues. and this is Thurs. After reading online there seems to be a lot of different possibilities. Is this for sure a death sentence or could there be another possibility? We were directed to give 1.5 (1 1/2) water pills per day. The first day she looked much better but today looks as if we are back to square one. Any suggestions for Maggie? Thanks, Larry McVey

Answer:There are other medications, other than diuretics, that would probably be helpful. You would need a definitive diagnosis though before starting them - your veterinarian would need to do radiographs (X-rays) and blood work at a minimum. The "yellowing in the eyes" makes me worry that she may have something other than heart failure going on, like liver disease, but only those tests could prove or disprove that. If she is "back to square one", I would definitely take her back in for a recheck. You may just need to increase the dosage of the water pill - but don't do that until you talk to your veterinarian.

Date: Apr 10, 2017
Category: Congestive Heart Failure
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Prognosis

Question:Our 9 year old female Maltese has just been diagnosed with congenital heart desease. We've always known she had a heart murmour but had started coughing a couple of months back. She had x-rays and found her heart was twice the normal size. She was given a 6 on a scale of 1 to 6. She takes 3 types of medication and eats well. She's happy enough but in reality, how long will she have? She is so loved and this breaks our heart thinking about this. She lost her life long brother an 18 year old jack Russell terrier about a month ago and since then she has been really quiet and lathargic but I'm sure her condition doesn't help either. Thanks for your time. Martin

Answer:It is really hard to say but I do say all the time that we really have many of the same medications that are used to treat people to help with heart failure now, so that's good. If she is that far along, she is probably taking Vetmedin which seems to really give my heart failure patients a good bit longer (than before we had it). I am also a big Coenzyme Q10 fan - ask your veterinarian if this might be something you could add if she isn't already on it.


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