Just like in humans, congestive heart failure in dogs is a disease that results in the heart’s inability to properly pump blood to the organs. But unlike humans, heart failure doesn’t cause pain in dogs, so there are other common symptoms to look out for. But keep in mind that signs of heart failure show later down the road when the heart is in a decompensated phase.
The heart muscle is an organ that doesn’t regenerate well, so diagnosing your pup on time and understanding its condition is beneficial to how well the medications are going to respond.
The Two Main Conditions Related to Heart Failure
Mitral Valve Insufficiency (MVI)
The mitral valve chambers can wear out over time and cause a degenerative form of the valve. The valve becomes thick and loses the ability to form a tight seal which leads to irregular blood circulation. Eventually, the heart will pump blood more aggressively to compensate for the failed blood flow, and get bigger over time. While the heart’s getting bigger, the mitral valves don’t grow with it, and the problem becomes even more harmful to your dog.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is the second heart condition that occurs in dogs and results in weakened muscle contractions and poor blood flow. This health problem is considered to be a genetic disorder, and it is believed that smaller dogs are less affected.
These heart conditions can be detected through x-ray scans, and further be confirmed with echocardiography, that show the valve’s activity and give a more accurate look at the heart. Electrocardiography will provide the electrical activity of your dog’s heart, the heart’s rhythm and measurements of the heart’s rate. Diagnosis in the early stages is crucial to prevent any additional damage to your dog’s heart.
Symptoms of Heart Failure
Dogs with mild mitral valve disease may have a slight heart murmur, which the veterinarian can detect during regular visits. At the early stage of the disease, dogs show no physical symptoms and this condition manifests with a long preclinical period, so it’s best to get frequent routine veterinarian checks.
In contrast, as the disease progresses, symptoms such as excessive panting, deep and wet coughing, unwillingness to lay down in order to avoid more pressure on the already enlarged heart, reduced interest in playing activities and getting tired very easily are obvious signs that your dog suffers from a heart condition. While these are the most common signs of Left Side Valve Failure, symptoms of Right Side Failure include build up fluid in the belly and swollen limbs. If left untreated your dog can show symptoms of heart failure from both sides.
After the vet has made a diagnosis, the only possible treatment at this point is being prescribed heart failure medications such as Vetace tablets for dogs.
What Are VetACE Tablets?
VetACE tablets are used to treat heart conditions in dogs, as well as chronic renal insufficiency and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats. These tablets are intended to treat the two main heart failure conditions in dogs, mitral valve insufficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy. They contain ACE inhibitors and work by blocking the angiotensin-converting enzymes that narrow the blood vessels and eventually leading to decreased blood pressure.
The active constituent in the tablets is benazepril hydrochloride. It is administered to treat high blood pressure conditions and causes the small vessels to relax and appropriately enable good blood circulation. The goal is to alleviate the symptoms and slow the progress of the disease, which will ultimately help to improve the quality of your dog’s life.
When you treat the condition in the early stages, there are better and significant improvements than if the treatment starts when the symptoms have worsened. Even the life expectancy is extended if you start giving your dog the needed treatment as soon as possible.
Dosage and Side Effects
The daily recommendation for VetACE tablets for dogs is to give the medication to your dog orally in doses of 0.25 mg per body weight. But you should always be advised by your veterinarian for the right dosage for your dog.
Possible side effects that can occur while administering benazepril are signs of fatigue, diarrhea, incoordination and rare cases of fainting, skin rash and fevers.
If you miss a dose of the tablet, give your dog the missed dose as soon as you remember. Doubling the dosage for a missed tablet is highly inadvisable.
Other Things You Can Do to Ease Your Dog’s Health Condition
Dietary Treatment Recommendations
Supply your dog’s diet with the needed amino acids and include more protein into their food. Muscle function is regulated through your dog’s diet, and giving them the right nutritional intake will improve the ability of the heart to work properly.
Sodium restrictions are another great way to contribute to lowering blood pressure and eventually decreasing the oxygen demand of the heart.
It’s important to monitor how much physical exercise your dog can tolerate because not always your pet will reduce its own activities unless it develops severe symptoms. Depending on the prognosis of heart failure, exercise restrictions will vary, and it’s your duty to limit the harmful activities.
A useful addition is to buy a stroller for pets that will help you and your pup get more productive walks and enjoy the sunshine without aggravating any symptoms.
Monitoring the Breathing Rate
Another helpful piece of advice is to monitor your dog’s breathing rate while sleeping. An average breathing rate for dogs while resting is under 30 breaths in a minute. This will tell you how advanced the condition is, and whether there are any signs of improvements.
To Sum Up
Dealing with your pup’s health problems can take a toll on you too, and can be quite devastating when first hearing the diagnosis. It’s important to be consistent with the medications, diet, proper care and careful monitoring of the health condition of your dog. With dedicated work, your efforts will extend your dog’s life and secure many more years of companionship.