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bullysmile.2 Arrhythmias – The dog’s electrical system in the body isn’t telling the heart how to beat.

Pericardial Disease – There is a sac that surrounds the heart and it fills with fluid preventing the heart from beating normally.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy – This disease affects the muscle of the heart impairing the ability to pump normally. As it progresses, the chambers of the heart become enlarged and valves leak.

Mitral Valve Disease – The heart valves start to leak causing poor circulation and blood pressure.

Chronic Valvular Heart Disease – The heart valves thicken and become impaired.

NOTE FROM BOSTON TERRIER NETWORK: Please, if your dog has any of the signs and symptoms mentioned in this artcle, contact your vet as soon as possible, this is not something you want to play around with.

Do you know the Symptoms of Dog Congestive Heart Failure?

Symptoms Of Dog Congestive Heart Failure depend on progression unfortunately, symptoms appear when the heart actually starts to fail.

So what are the common signs that a dog might be in a mild heart failure?

Weight loss, no appetite, vomiting, lethargic, weak, coughing (noticeable at night), and also difficulty breathing.

Do you know what the symptoms are that often occur when a dog is in severe heart failure?

Here is a list of the most common markers-

diarrhea, loss of energy, edema (build up of fluid in the body tissues/cavity), fainting, swollen abdomen (ascites) and limbs, Also on this list is poor circulation – tongue and gum’s are blue in color (monitor your dog’s circulation by checking capillary refill time in your dog’s gum’s– see instructions below.) Other symptoms include depression, difficulty breathing at all times – even when resting,  excessive thirst and urination along with exercise intolerance (can be a first sign of heart failure – fluid builds in the lungs). the dog will also have an increased heart rate and a weak pulse


Here is a very important at home check that everyone should be aware of. Yes, this is something you can do at home. You can monitor your dog’s capillary refill time (CRT). This little test tells how the blood, lungs and heart are doing. 


What is this test and why would that be improtant?

What you are looking for here is how quickly the color returns to your dog’s gum’s when pressure is applied then released. This little test tells how the blood, lungs and heart are doing. How well blood and oxygen are reaching the cells.


There are many little capillaries in dogs gum’s and applying pressure to the vessels forces blood out of the capillaries. Once pressure is released, blood should immediately refill the capillaries in roughly 1-2 seconds which is considered the normal refill time. To give you a better understanding, try this on yourself: firmly press the tip of your own fingernail and watch it turn white; now release and the blood immediately flows back returning the nail to normal color. Note – Be sure to take notice of the actual color of your dog’s gums before you start. Most healthy gum’s are pink. Note – Don’t check the gum’s when he first wakes up because they will be paler in color (wait approx. 10 minutes), or right after exercise ,because they will be pinker. Press your finger against the dog’s gum line over the canine tooth applying pressure until the gum’s turn white underneath your finger and then release. Once you release your finger.  That same area should appear white or paler than the surrounding gum’s.
If the gum’s are yellow (liver problem), blue, pale or white – seek veterinary assistance immediately. It’s also recommended that if the refill time is less than one second or more than 3 seconds, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Dog heart disease requires sodium restrictions so watch your dog’s treat ingredients as well as his meal.  AND, if you have a water softener in your home – give your dog bottled water. Water softeners contain a high amount of sodium.  

IMG 6602 How common is heart disease in dogs? About 10% of all dogs have heart disease.

Most importantly, the incidence of heart disease increases dramatically with age.

The incidence of heart disease increases to more than 60% in aged dogs. This is particularly the case in dogs with valvular heart disease:
dogiiheartAbout 10% of dogs between the ages of 5 and 8 years are affected3 20-25% of dogs between the ages of 9 and 12 years are affected.  30-35% of dogs more than 13 years are affected.  75% of dogs over 16 years are affected.


If your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease, don't lose hope. With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment and management, you increase your dog's opportunity to live a more normal life



Tell us your story of a canine member of your family and his or her battle against heart disease.




How Will Heart Disease Affect My Dog?

Most forms of heart disease will, unfortunately, eventually result in heart failure.drbullyheartcheck

Heart failure occurs when the heart, weakened by disease, fails to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

If your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease, don't panic. With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment and management, you increase your dog's opportunity to live a more normal life. Your Dog's Heart Your dog’s heart is just like yours. It’s a four-chambered pump made of muscle.The four chambers are separated by heart valves which ensure that blood can only flow in one direction.

Diagnostic Tests Besides listening to your dog’s heart for evidence of a heart murmur, your veterinarian may recommend some other tests to help diagnose your dog’s condition.

Common tests include:

Radiograph—commonly known as an X-ray, to allow a veterinarian to view your dog’s internal organs, such as the heart, and identify abnormalities
Blood testing—to assess your dog’s cardiovascular health through: Identification of a cardiac biomarker called NT-proBNP that signifies stretching of the heart’s chambers Analysis of chemistry and complete blood count (CBC) to evaluate different elements of your dog’s blood Blood pressure test—to find out if your dog’s blood is flowing properly or if there is resistance in the bloodstream

Electrocardiogram (ECG)—to evaluate the electrical activity of your dog’s heart to measure and diagnose abnormal heart rhythms Echocardiogram—an ultrasound evaluation of your dog’s heart that can assess valvular function, identify leaking valves, and measure cardiac output