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670955 tn?1226601500

Dog with Congestive Heart Failure


I would like to hear from those who have dogs with congestive heart failure. My 12 year old was just diagnosed with it the other day. I would like to know what to expect and what to be on the look out for. Currently he is on 50mg. Lasix, which I understand is a very low starting dose and he weighs 121 lbs. I'm not seeing much improvement. Still coughing/gagging and fatigued. I see no increase in urine output so I'm worried that it's not getting the fluid off his lungs. Also, his appetite has tanked. Does lasix effect their appetite?

This is weighing very heavy on me. He's my last dog of a pack of three. The other two were 15 and 16 when they left me within a few months of each other. It tore me up, but I knew I still had Boomer and he was a comfort to me. I know losing him is going to be much, much worse because suddenly my home will really be empty when he goes. I have read that once diagnosed they generally last 6 months to a year. Is that true???

Hope to hear from you. Thanks.
44 Responses
462827 tn?1333172552
Hello & welcome......I'm sorry about your losses.....Makes me sad for you....

My dear "Baby Chance" (Pictured) lived 3 yrs. after he was diagnosed with CHF.....He was on Lasix along with 2 Heart Medications.....

If I had it to do over, I would have found him a canine Cardiologist in the city 60 miles from here....I live in a Rural area....If it ever happens again, I won't hesitate, as an ECG or EKG is vital to determine what kind of heart disease your dealing with & get the medications correct.....I do wish I had it to do over, but I try not to think about it.  ;(

I remember it taking about 3 days till I noticed a change in the coughing.....Water consumption/peeing was a huge part of the picture, also....

If Boomer has been on his meds for awhile & still has fluid on his lungs, you either need to go back to the Vet or ask for a referral to a Cardiologist or get a second opinion!

I'm sorry I can't be of more help...I'm hoping someone else will come by w/information for you.....Please, keep us updated on Boomer......Karla

P. S.  In my Chance's case, lack of appetite was NEVER part of the disease or the meds.....

670955 tn?1226601500
Well, I could deal with 3 years!  I've been crying all week thinking our time was limited, although I know every case is different. Depending on the age of the dog, three years is good! Of course we always want more time with them, but one of the crazy things about loving dogs is that we go into it knowing they are going to die before us but we do it anyway. In the long run, it's worth the heart break.

Today, which is the third day on Lasix, he does seem somewhat better, actually.

As for the cardiologist, I'd go that route without hesitation but from what I've read (and you all can correct me if I'm wrong!) it doesn't seem to change the treatment. Although, I do wonder why lasix is the only thing he has been put on. Is that because it's early stage? The vet did say he wasn't able to hear any heart murmurs, but once the fluid in his lungs clears, he would probably be able to. But I think I'll ask the Vet about a cardiologist next visit.

Avatar universal
Our Jack Russel Terrier had the cough and the rapid breathing so we brought him to the vet on May 2, 2011. They immediately put him on oxygen and took x-rays. The prognosis was not good. We left Jack with the Vet and went home as they waited for the person to do an Echo Cardiogram. That was at 9:30 AM my Jack died in the Vets arms at 2:45 that afternoon. We miss him very much, he as 1o. There was no way to know, he went so  fast. I wish I had time to hug him one more time while he was alive.
Avatar universal
I stumbled onto this forum while searching for informaton on congestive heart failure. Our 13 yr old mini-dachshund, Jasper,  was diagnosed with CHF on May 12th, 2011.  Last year, he had surgery to remove a stone from his bladder and has at least one stone in his kidneys and was on Hill's U/D dog food.   Now with the congestive heart failure, he is taking Furosimide. Benazepril, and Vetmedin.    Although there was some concern that he was refusing to eat Hill's U/D any longer, our vet believed that getting him to eat was the most important thing. For the past month I have been boiling chickens and cooking brown rice in the chicken stock.  If he starts to show lack of interest in his chicken and rice, I will try hamburger.   He absolutely will not take his medicine unless it is crushed and mixed with his food.

As much as I do not want to face the day that we will be without Jasper, my main concern is that he does not suffer and has a good quality life no matter how short the rest of his time.   I already see the loss of weight and energy and will not allow him to starve to death.  When asked "do you want to go for a walk", Jasper stills wags his tail and heads for the front door.  The walk may not include chasing squirrels and rabbits but it is still something he enjoys.  I pray for many of those walks to come.  I also pray that I will have the courage to let him go when the time has come.

We have excellent vets and the entire staff have been terrific with Jasper.  I am interested in adding Tums to his medicine mix if that might help with the kidney disease so will be asking for their guidance.  Thanks so much for being "out there" as I know I will be following this forum for all the information and understanding that is here.
462827 tn?1333172552
Hi Jasper's mom & welcome.....Tums are used with Kidney Failure....It binds to Phosphorus to flush it from the failing Kidneys.....This process helps w/nausea....To my knowledge, it will do nothing for stone formation.....However, your dog would benefit greatly from it as a Calcium source which is vital for homecooking....Adding fresh, cooked veggies to your homecooking would provide even more Nutrition & moisture to help keep his Kidneys/Bladder flushed.....Does he like any particular Veggies? How about cooked Sweet Potatoes instead of rice? Anything wet is good for the Kidneys...Not dry!

I've attached an article below (Part 1) that may help you with the stones. Part 2 will be in another message.....

Attack Of The Killer Grains

In this week's article, I wanted to write about Bladder Stones--Struvite & Oxalate Crystals.  To understand why pet's have such problems, one needs to know the history of their diet and the problems it has created.  Because of the complexity of this subject, it will be broken down into several articles.  This week, the history and different crystals, next week, how to prevent them through diet and alternative treatments.

History Of The Creation Of Pet Foods:

During the depression, consumers were seeking less expensive ways to feed their pets.  Less raw was fed and more grains and cereals were introduced into our pet's diet. Initially dry dog foods either came in a form of a biscuit or a pellet. In the 1950's Purina invented the extrusion process. They created a kibble that was larger in size, but lighter in weight giving the appearance that you were getting more for less (the start of the deception they give their consumers). The sales of processed foods opened the doors for mill operators and dealers. It gave them a good source to sell their by-products in the pet industry. Slaughterhouses were also available to sell non-human grade, diseased meats, unusable parts, and meat by-products to pet food manufacturers. This created a market for products that previously had been discarded.

Keep in mind that grains such as corn, wheat and even rice provide low-cost calories, their high carbohydrate content contributes to obesity, diabetes, kidney stones/struvite crystals, behavior problems, allergies, skin/coat problems and a host of other health problems in cats and dogs.

There is a myth that high protein foods are bad for pets and cause kidney problems.  First it is important that you give your pet a high quality protein.  High quality protein is digestible and produces fewer nitrogen by-products.  Protein that is given as a fresh meat or canned has a high percent of water that helps to flush it through the kidneys.
Therefore the problem with crystals starts with a grain-based diet.  Foods made with grains (corn, wheat, rice etc) can cause alkaline urine in dogs and cats. Magnesium reacts with alkaline urine to cause crystals. Most "prescription/dissolution/preventative" clinic diets take out the magnesium to prevent this reaction, even though magnesium is essential, especially for the nervous system. Reducing magnesium may cause a host of other negative health issues. "In fact, reducing the magnesium levels in cat food can cause increased excretion of calcium from the kidneys, leading to the formation of calcium oxalate stones in the bladder".(1)

Two Different Types of Crystals:  

Struvites:  Also called 'triple phosphate'(magnesium ammonium phosphate) are the most commonly seen with urinary tract infections and most frequently seen in females. These type of crystals are seen in young dogs (under a year) or in middle aged or older dogs. Struvites are almost always accompanied by bacteria that create a high alkaline pH. In cats, struvite stones form in the absence of a bladder infection.  Struvite Crystals are most common and the symptoms include frequent urination, straining to urinate and blood in the urine.  

Calcium Oxalate:
Calcium Oxalate crystals tend to affect more males than females. The pH in dogs with these types of crystals is usually acidic or neutral. It is thought that some dogs that are more prone to these types of stones have an inherited weakness that prevents them from forming nephrocalein, which prevents calcium oxalate stone formation. While these stones are mostly treated by surgically removing them, there has been some success with reducing the oxalate rich foods in the diet and working to alkalize the urine pH.  


1.  Messonnier, Shawn DVM, Natural Health Bible, pg. 41

462827 tn?1333172552
Here's part 2:    Hope some of this helps........Good luck and let us know how it's going......Karla

Attack Of The Killer Grains Part II

In our last article we talked about how grains contribute to Struvite crystals in cats and dogs. Struvite crystals are common in normal urine and can cause infections in dogs. When the crystals are present in large amounts, they can form stones. Struvite crystals are almost always accompanied by bacteria that create a high alkaline pH.  

A pet fed a diet consisting of a high percent of grains or starch creates the high alkaline in the urine.  Magnesium reacts with alkaline urine to cause crystals. Pets with Struvite crystals (or to avoid struvite crystals) should be fed a high protein diet which is acidic.  A raw diet is preferred over a cooked diet.

There is a strong chance that pets that have Calcium Oxalate stones may have to have them surgically removed as they will not dissolve.  If your dog is prone to Oxalate crystals, eating alkalizing foods like apples, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, beans, potatoes, pumpkin, millet, honey, alfalfa, non-distilled vinegar (organic apple cider vinegar), squash and most fruit and most vegetables can alkalize the urine pH.  

When cats are treated for struvite crystals, a prescription diet may be given by your Veterinarian which reduces are eliminates magnesium.  As per Dr. Messonnier, DVM, reducing magnesium levels in cat food can cause increased excretion of calcium from the kidneys, leading to the formation of calcium oxalate stones in the bladder.

If your dog is prone to urinary track infections (which may be caused by the bacteria E. coli), there is a substance in cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and blueberries (Vaccinium myrtilus) that has been shown to prevent the adhesion of E. collie to the bladder wall and Urethra.  If the bacteria are unable to attach, they are washed out of the urinary tract during urination and an infection cannot develop.

Increasing water is beneficial for your pets.  The best way to get this is a fresh meat/vegetable diet or canned food added to their diet.  A fresh food or canned food diet contain up to 78% moisture.  

We must all rethink the way we feed our pets.  Like I said in the last article, dry, processed food was made during the depression to give people a low cost alternative to feeding their pets.  Over time, we have adapted (not our pets) to feeding a diet that doesn't provide a balance of meat to carbs and does not provide enough moisture in their diet.
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