Heart Failure, Congestive (Left-sided) in Dogs

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart of an animal is unable to pump sufficient amount of blood to meet metabolic needs of the body. 

The heart is made up of four chambers. Top two chambers are left and right atria while bottom two chambers are left and right ventricles. The right side of the heart (right atrium and right ventricle) is responsible for collecting deoxygenated blood from the body and pumping it into lungs where this venous blood is oxygenated. Then left side of the heart pumps this oxygen rich blood to various organs of the body.

When left side of the heart (left atrium and left ventricle) becomes incapable of pumping sufficient amount of blood into the body organs, this frequently results in accumulation of blood within lungs. This condition is referred to as left sided congestive heart failure. This is the most common type of congestive heart failure in dogs. 

Common symptoms associated with insufficient blood output from the heart results in weakness, exercise intolerance, coughing, breathing difficulty, increased heart rate, pale/gray/bluish mucous membranes (cyanotic), possible heart murmur, weak pulse on the inside of dog's thigh, abnormal heart sounds known as cracklesand wheezes, and unusual stance to relieve pain. In addition, gums stay pale longer than normal when blanched by finger (known as “prolonged capillary refill time”). 


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