Heart failure in dogs

Heart disease in small pets is widespread and accounts for more than 10% of all cases of internal diseases. Chronic form of heart failure is a pathology with a complex of characteristic symptoms caused by inadequate transport of blood through the circulatory system to tissues of organs in rest and load, often accompanied by swelling.


The causes of the appearance of pathology

Factors of pathology are various diseases of the heart and blood vessels - myocarditis, congenital pathologies of the heart valves, arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction. Stagnant processes in the heart muscle of the dog represent the greatest danger. As a result of stagnation, hypertrophy of the myocardium, dilatation of the heart chambers, narrowing of the lumen of the peripheral vessels, especially arteries and arterioles. All these mechanisms are adaptive and compensate for a short time in response to acute hemodynamic changes, contribute to the normalization of blood pressure. Heart failure in dogs read article

In addition to diseases of the circulatory system in dogs, this pathology can cause:

  • thyroid disease;
  • some medicines, for example, from the group of steroids and diuretics;
  • pathology of the kidneys and adrenal glands;
  • age-related degenerative-dystrophic changes;
  • metabolic disorders (diabetes, obesity);
  • high physical activity or lack of exercise.

Heart failure has a multifactorial nature of manifestation. Modern veterinary medicine considers the mechanism of development of pathology, regardless of the causes of its occurrence, as a result of increased activity of neurohormones.

In addition, the theory of the effect of cytokines, mediators of inflammation, regulators of cellular functions, which are synthesized by the immune system in heart and vascular diseases, is the cause of the majority of fatal cases, the study of the causes of their occurrence and the development of methods for early diagnosis of diseases continue.

How does the disease manifest itself?

Symptoms of heart failure in dogs are manifested as:

  • reduction of exercise tolerance: dyspnea, weakness, fatigue, palpitations;
  • fluid retention in the body.

Typical for this disease is the involvement in the pathological process of various organs and systems:

  • endothelium of vessels;
  • heart muscle;
  • glomeruli and the medulla of the kidneys;
  • intestines;
  • striated musculature.

These pathological conditions can manifest as excessive discharge or delay of urine, pallor of the mucosa, hemorrhagic eruptions, coughing, fainting. There are as many manifestations of heart failure as the causes that caused the pathological condition.

In the initial stage, the ailment is manifested by dyspnoea after physical exertion and a cough that occurs when the bronchi are irritated as a result of stagnant processes in them. Subsequently, shortness of breath takes the features of attacks of suffocation, which are heavier at night. Weakness and fatigue occur in dogs due to metabolic disorders in the striated skeletal muscles.

First, edema appears on the periphery - on the paws of the animal, then the liquid accumulates in the abdominal cavity - the dog's stomach increases. The fluid accumulates in the pleural cavity, in the pericardial space. Then the liver is involved in the process, the dog's eyes sclerites turn yellow, the blood levels of bilirubin and liver enzymes increase.

Stagnant phenomena in the intestine and accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal space lead to atony of the stomach and intestines. The absorption of nutrients is disturbed, especially with the right ventricular variety of pathology. Quite often, clinical manifestations are masked by signs of concomitant pathologies, so the methods of differential diagnosis are of great importance for establishing an accurate diagnosis.

Methods of pathology diagnosis

In the practice of veterinary medicine, this pathology in animals is examined in accordance with a specific scheme:

  • palpation and percussion in the heart;
  • examine the pulse and peripheral blood vessels;
  • conduct instrumental research: electrocardiography, electro-echocardiography, radiography.

In the last decade, biochemical markers of pathology - cardiac troponin and natriuretic peptide - have become very important in diagnosing heart failure in dogs. These markers show not only the presence of the disease, but also allow to track the progression of the disease. Used previously as a marker of creatine kinase did not provide sufficient sensitivity and specificity of the study. The diagnosis is established on the basis of data obtained in laboratory, biochemical and instrumental studies.

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Methods of therapy of pathology

The treatment used in veterinary practice is aimed, to a greater extent, on improving the animal's condition and maintaining the quality of life, and insignificantly on the reduction of the main pathological processes. In therapy apply:

  • drugs that relieve swelling and prevent their formation - Furosemide, Spironolactone;
  • ACE inhibitors that reduce the load on the heart - Captopril, Lisinopril, Enapril, Ramipril;
  • omega-3-fatty acids, preventing weight loss and providing energy in the heart muscle.

In modern veterinary medicine, good results were obtained with the use of Vasomot (trade name ramipril) and omega-3 fatty acids. Scientific studies conducted in Japan showed that the use of Vasotorp allowed qualitatively improve the condition in 86% of dogs with heart failure after a month of regular treatment.

It was also proven that the introduction of food in patients with food with omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of cachexia - loss of body weight in animals with heart failure. Standard feeds mainly contain omega-6 fatty acids, and the introduction of omega-3 acids in the diet promotes their activity in the blood and tissues, and the more they will be embedded in the cell membranes.

As a result of the research, it was proved that the addition of omega-3 fatty acids at a dose of 1g / day. significantly reduces the mortality of animals with cardiovascular pathology. When adding fish containing omega-3 acid or fish oil to the dog's diet:

  • decreased tachycardia;
  • decreased atrial fibrillation;
  • decreased remodeling of cardiac chambers;
  • normalized blood pressure;
  • improved the state of the vascular endothelium;
  • increased function of the immune system;
  • aggregation of platelets decreased.

According to the recommendations of scientists, for the prevention of heart failure in dogs belonging to the risk group (representatives of dwarf and giant breeds), it is enough to include in the diet fish or give 1 capsule of fish oil for 4.5 kg of body weight to exclude the appearance of heart failure or significantly slow down progression of already existing pathology.

Only the careful and responsible attitude of the owner determines the quality and life expectancy of the patient dog.

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