Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Back to results
Enter Your Information All fields are required

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

*Please note: Questions submitted and the answers will appear on our website as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.

Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Thank you! Your question has been submitted.

You will receive an answer from Dr. Dym and our vet/tech team as soon as possible, usually the same day.

All answers are provided for informational or educational purposes only, and are intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet's veterinarian.

It may be necessary to consult your pet's veterinarian regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your pet's symptoms or medical condition.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Oops! Your question has not been submitted.

An error has occurred, please reload the page and try again.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Got questions? Ask Dr. Dym & our Vet Team:

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

Do these answer your question?
Showing of | See All
Have another question, or can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
We're Sorry!

There is no answer related to your question

Can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
Category Hide All Show All
Back

Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms in Dogs & Cats

Congestive heart failure symptoms in dogs & cats

Symptoms of congestive heart failure in dogs and cats vary depending on whether left and/or right-sided heart failure is present. The most common clinical signs are decreased endurance and exercise, intolerance, lethargy, coughing, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases and/or those with right-sided heart failure, symptoms may include abdominal pressure with fluid accumulation (known as ascites), jugular vein distention and/or pulsation of the vessels of the neck, and the gums, lips and tongue turning from a normal pink color to a pale or bluish color.

Left-sided heart failure in pets:

  • Decreased endurance and exercise
  • Intolerance
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing

Right-sided heart failure in pets:

  • Abdominal pressure with fluid accumulation
  • Jugular vein pressure
  • Pulsation of neck vessels, gums, and lips
  • Tongue turning from pink to blue
Diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF) in pets

The diagnosis of congestive heart failure in dogs and cats is usually made through a combination of extensive history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. On physical exam, jugular vein enlargement and pulsation may be observed. Auscultation (listening) of the heart involves using a stethoscope and will frequently detect the presence of a heart murmur in dogs or a gallop rhythm in cats. Arrhythmias (problems with heart rate) may be detected by checking pulse quality and rhythm. Chest X-rays are performed to assess the size and shape of the heart, and to detect fluid accumulation in or around the lungs. An ultrasound exam (echocardiogram) is often the most important and definitive test in determining the specific type of heart disease affecting your pet. An electrocardiogram is often done to determine both heart rate and rhythm by measuring the electrical activity of the heart. Finally, a new blood test known as the proBNP test can allow veterinarians to determine whether heart disease is present, even in pets with no clinical symptoms.